Jewish Arts Options Abound in Coming Weeks

Rita Rosen Poley at Temple Judea Museum. Photo by Jon Marks

Jon Marks

With the Super Bowl still more than a week away, how can you spend your free time before settling in to watch Jalen Hurts and the Eagles take on Andy Reid’s Chiefs?

Well, there are plenty of options on the local arts scene — and with Jewish content, no less.

You have everything from a Tu B’Shevat-centered exhibit at the Old City Jewish Arts Center to an extension of Jonathan Horowitz’s thought-provoking exhibit at the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History to three local artists who did works in a series at the Temple Judea Museum at Keneseth Israel.

And many of them won’t cost you a dime.

Here’s the rundown:

F. Weisz “TreeStripes – Sunrise.” Courtesy of Old Jewish Arts Center

Old City Jewish Arts Center: “Celebration of Trees” exhibit Feb. 1-26
This exhibit features 18 artists ranging in age from 18 to 99, each of whom has a handful of pieces on display in commemoration of Tu B’Shevat.

“Going to nature is very therapeutic,” center director Rabbi Zalman Wircberg said. “Sometimes people are scared to go out. They know our natural habitat is to go to the trees and nature. Coming to our exhibit is a moment of therapy and calmness.”

Besides that, the center is sponsoring “First Friday,” where you can congregate around the corner on Market Street for an art walk beginning on Feb. 3 at 5 p.m. You can visit shops and galleries throughout the neighborhood over the next few hours before returning to the center at 9 p.m. for a free Shabbat dinner.

For more information, visit or call 215-627-2972.

Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History: “The Future Will Follow the Past”

Jonathan Horowitz’s exhibit, whose work combines aspects of health, race, gender and antisemitism, opened at the same time the museum reopened last May and was supposed to close in December. But due to its popularity and relevance, it will remain open through year’s end.

“We felt we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have the conversation continue,” museum curator and Director of Exhibitions and Interpretation Josh Perelman said. “It’s bringing in contemporary art to reflect the past. The issues it raises continue to escalate in their intensity. As a history museum, how can we learn from the past to inform our future?”

The Weitzman is open Fridays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, visit or call 215-923-3811.

Temple Judea Museum at Keneseth Israel: “Seriously: Works in Series”
Three local artists — chair of the Museum Artists’ Collaborative Marlene Adler, Diane Pieri and Drexel University student Dan Soslowsky — have interpreted how they perceive their work in a series.

“Each of these artists has taken a different approach to what is a work in a series,” museum director and creator Rita Rosen Poley said. “In addition, we have complemented the exhibit with works from our permanent collection.”

Pieri’s series includes 22 tapestries of the Hebrew alphabet. Soslowsky did a series on Jewish identity, while Adler joined forces with K.I. Rabbi Emeritus Lance Sussman on a new Purim megillah. She painted all the illustrations, while he wrote the text.

The exhibition runs from now through March 15, with a grand opening on Feb. 12 from 1-3 p.m.

For more information, visit or call 215-887-8700, ext. 416.

Theatre Ariel: “Amsterdam”
Theatre Ariel is known for its salons in which actors perform the reading of a play in an intimate setting. Written by Israeli Maya Arad Yasur, “Amsterdam” is the story of an Israeli violinist living in Amsterdam who receives an unpaid gas bill from 1944. A discussion with the cast follows the reading.

Later this spring, Theatre Ariel will present Marshall Botvinick’s “To Reach Across a River” about a Chasidic woman dealing with infertility who wishes to adopt.

Salons will be performed on Feb. 18 in Bala Cynwyd, on Feb. 19 in Old City and on Feb. 25-26 in Wynnewood.

For more information, visit or call 610-667-9230.

Haverford College: “Yiddish Culture Festival”
For the 25th year, one Sunday a month, beginning at 3 p.m. on Feb. 19, continuing on March 19 and on April 23, Haverford College will host a series of discussions, poetry readings and musical performances based on the central theme of a Yiddish revival.

On Feb. 19, Eugene Orenstein will discuss the influence of the late Yiddish poet Yude-Leyb (Dr. Judd) Teller, who came to the U.S. from Austria in 1921. On March 19, Zisl Slepovitch presents a musical program focused on his project “Songs from Testimonies.” They’re songs from Holocaust survivors, along with Yiddish songs of war, love and from childhood. Finally, on April 23, Ellen Cassedy, who’s written several books, discusses women writers in “Di Froyen” (The Women).

“This was started by a group of faculty who wanted to generate interest from Haverford students studying Yiddish,” festival organizer Jeff Tecosky-Feldman said. “Only a few students came, but community members came. The purpose is to celebrate Yiddish and Eastern European culture.”

Meetings are free, although donations are accepted. Events will be held in Stokes Hall Auditorium off the College Avenue entrance of the school.

For more information, visit or call 610-891-1199.

Cerulean Art Perspective: “#50381” (Alma Maria Rose)
The number refers to the figure Jewish violinist Alma Maria Rose was assigned at Auschwitz. As conductor of the Auschwitz orchestra, which entertained the Nazis, she pushed her musicians relentlessly to keep them alive. However, she never made it out of the camp.

Her story so touched Doylestown sculptor Kathleen McSherry that she felt compelled to give tribute: “For violinist Alma Maria Rose every day in Hitler’s Auschwitz death camp was a fight for survival,” she wrote. “Every day, she watched people disappear. As in life, she demanded to be heard and I went where she took me. This work is dedicated to you. Whenever I hear the violin I will think of you, and you’ll live on.”

Open Wednesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from noon-6 p.m., the exhibition, which features other works by her and other artists, runs through Feb. 12.

For more information, visit or call 267-514-8647. ■

Jon Marks is a freelance writer.



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