Spertus OB/OC (2011)

Dankowicz Art

From Dec ’11 Spotlight:

The complex relationship between Poles and Jews is also the subject of A Day of Small Beginnings, chosen for the inaugural season of Spertus Institute’s new “One Book/One Community” project. (Spertus partnered with JUF News on the book project.) Whereas In Darkness is tightly focused on the Holocaust, Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum’s epic begins in 1906, and ends decades later just as Krakow is beginning its Jewish Revival in the mid-90s.

Spertus has announced numerous OB/OC activities, including a visit from Rosenbaum on Dec 4. I attended the kick-off event on Nov 13, featuring two women who excel at arts integral to Rosenbaum’s narrative.

First Susan Stone told three tales in honor of “Friedl Alterman,” the ghost who connects the generations in A Day of Small Beginnings. I’m sure Friedl was in the room listening as Stone recounted the life of “Yossele the Holy Miser” (someone who also lived a secret life while on earth), and I’m sure Friedl hummed along as young violin prodigy Duncan Steele punctuated Stone’s stories with soulful niggunim.

During the Q&A, Stone described the Israel Folktale Archives first established in Haifa in 1955. I just surfed their website (www.folklore.org.il/asai.html); although they have collected stories from across the entire Jewish world, the majority of them do come from Poland. To listen to a sample story (“The Goblin”), visit Stone’s website, www.SusanStone-Storyteller.com.

Next Melanie Dankowicz explained the concept of “hiddur mitzvah” (“beautifying the commandments”), showing us examples of papercuts she creates for ketubot, mezuzot, mizrachim, and other delicate ritual objects. She also uses her custom designs to create holiday tableware (including challah trays and seder plates) lasercut from stainless steel. Samples are on sale in the Spertus gift shop, and can also be viewed online at www.dankowicz.com.

Click HERE for the complete schedule of Spertus OB/OC events (some downtown and some in the suburbs).

Click HERE to read Stefanie Pervos Bregman’s chat with author Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum in JUF Online.

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