Nov ’10 Spotlight

The theme of this year’s Chicago Humanities Festival is “The Body,” and once again, high profile Jewish authors from around the world will be coming our way, but this year an unusually high number of local authors are also on the schedule including Rachel Havrelock (“The Body of Jesus”), Martha Nussbaum (“From Disgust to Humanity”), and Doug Peck (“The Music of Sondheim’s Follies”).

Of special interest is “The Late Great Michael Reese: The Wider Context of a Lost Local Treasure,” a panel discussion planned for the Newberry Library on Sunday, Nov 14. Originally dedicated in 1881, Michael Reese Hospital was a leader in urban health care for over a century, and credited as one of the first facilities in the United States to provide specialty pediatric care.

On Aug. 10, 2008 (Tisha B’Av 5768), panelist Marc Slutsky (who spent most of his career from internship forward at Reese) conducted a shiva (7-day mourning period) at his home in Highland Park. At that time, he told the Chicago Tribune: “There was an attitude [at Reese] about real personal patient care… People had a sense of being part of a community. They had a sense of responsibility.” Additional speakers include Rhoda Rosen (former director of Spertus Museum) and Alan Kraut (an American University historian who specializes in immigration and medicine).

CHF programs run from Nov. 2 through Nov. 14. To order tickets, visit:


The 17th Annual International SOFA Fair (Sculpture, Objects & Functional Art) returns to Navy Pier on Nov 5, and this year’s program includes an opening day lecture at 2 p.m. called “Advocates for the Arts: Polish and Czech Fiber Artists from the Anne and Jacques Baruch Collection.”

Born in Warsaw in 1922, Jacques Baruch lost his entire family in the Holocaust, emigrated after the war under the sponsorship of Chicago soldier Morrie Handman, and worked as an architect for 20 years before founding his first art gallery. During the Iron Curtain years, Jacques and his wife Anne were underground art couriers, smuggling supplies and money into Eastern Europe, and bringing photographs, tapestries, prints and paintings back. Through their work, the Baruchs helped to promote the work of many artists such as Magdalena Abakanowicz (creator of the massive “Agora” installation near the front of the Field Museum) who have international reputations today.

SOFA CHICAGO runs from Friday, Nov. 5 through Sunday, Nov. 7. To order tickets, visit:

AJT Preview

Chicago will host the Association for Jewish Theatre’s (AJT) 30th annual conference from Nov. 11 through Nov. 14. Based in Israel, AJT is an international organization, so theatre professionals will be arriving from all around the world to offer a variety of workshops, discussion groups and panel discussions for playwrights, administrators, and scholars interested in the development of Jewish theatre in the 21st century. Some AJT programs will also be open to the public, so visit the website for updates:

CIFF Update

Mazel Tov to Argentine director Daniel Burman and Israeli director Avi Nesher, both award-winners in this year’s 46th annual Chicago International Film Festival!

In last month’s column, I listed six Jewish-themed films scheduled for this year’s CIFF (Burman’s film Brother & Sister and Nesher film The Matchmaker, plus Circus Kids, The Debt, Little Rose and Polish Bar), but I ended up seeing two more than expected: I Miss You (from Argentina) and The Last Report on Anna (from Hungary).

For reviews of seven films listed above along with an interview with Little Rose director Jan Kidawa-Blonski and photos from a reception for Brother & Sister director Daniel Burman, visit my Blog:

(Unfortunately I was unable to see The Debt. No preview was scheduled for critics and since the public screening conflicted with the opening night of the Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema, my own choice was an easy one.)

Curtain Call

Chicago North Shore Section of the National Council of Jewish Women began the new year on Oct. 4 with the wonderful presentation “Barbra Streisand, One Funny Girl!” at Lakeside Congregation in Highland Park. Speakers Jane Atlas and Joyce Grant used numerous film clips to show Streisand’s career arc in the context of American Jewish comedy: self-deprecating, hyper-verbal, and always on the progressive edge of sweeping social change. For information about future programs, visit

Jan Lisa Huttner (Tzivi) is an award-winning Chicago critic/columnist. Visit Jan’s new blog,, for a complete online archive of all JUF News columns plus additional interviews and reviews. Send comments and/or suggestions for future columns to

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