In a Heartbeat: The Art of Steven Glucksberg

Written by Michelle Smith on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

As the child of Holocaust survivors, Steven Glucksberg learned nothing if not resilience — but it took a heart attack to change his artistic vision. His latest exhibit at Marin-Price Galleries in Chevy Chase was created with visions he had during his heart attack. This exhibit is monumental in size and demanding in style. Truly heart-felt!

See the Dazzling, Bewildering World of Yayoi Kusama Reflected in ‘Infinity Mirrors’

Written by Batya H. Carl on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

One gray, misty morning in downtown Washington, D.C., a line formed around the circular courtyard of the Hirshhorn Museum. The occasion for the high volume of visitors was the arrival of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrors” exhibit, which will remain in DC until May 14. Having experienced her “Firefly Room” at the Phoenix Art Museum, Kusama quickly became one of my favorite contemporary artists, so I made plans to see her art. And I wasn’t alone.

Free to See: Fort McHenry

Written by Dinah Rokach on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

Francis Scott Key penned the words to the Star-Spangled Banner during the War of 1812. He was inspired after seeing the flag flying in the dawn over Fort McHenry, proof that the Americans had held their ground. Key was on a ship in the harbor during a night of prolonged and intense British bombardment of the fort. That much is common knowledge.

What is hardly remembered is that among the defenders of Fort McHenry on that historic night were several observant Jewish militiamen. They were scions of Baltimore’s elite Jewish families, among them Mendes Cohen, his brother, Philip Cohen, and Samuel Etting.

In the Green Room: ‘Tevye and Friends’ Cast on Why They Love Yiddish and You Should, Too

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

“Tevye and Friends,” an immersive and highly amusing visit to the world of Yiddish author and playwright Sholom Aleichem’s characters, had a special one-night showing at the Bender JCC in Rockville, Maryland, after Shabbat on March 18. The show featured performers of screen and stage Allen Lewis Rickman, Yelena Shmulenson, and Shane Baker, who were kind enough to speak with Kol HaBirah before heading back out to enjoy the reception and mingle with their fans.

In Praise of Shemp

Written by Larry Shor on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

Suppose you had “made it” in your chosen career. The struggles of earlier years were far behind you and you were comfortable and happy. And then, for the love of your family, you gave it all up and went right back to where you had started; and you would be seen for all time as a second-rate replacement for your baby brother, now deathly ill and unable to work and support himself. Even your very name, by which millions of fans would know you, would be an accident.

A Master at a Master’s Art: Remembering Cantor Sholom Katz

Written by Super User on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

One of the world’s leading chazanim (cantors) lived right here in Washington and davened at the shul known for decades for its world-class chazanim and choirs, Beth Sholom. I had the good fortune to know Cantor Sholom Katz and his family. Now, on his 35th yahrzeit, let’s look at the career of a chazan the New York Times called “a master at a master’s art.”

Katz’s voice was one of great brilliance. He was capable of shifting from heart-wrenching softness and pathos to strong and declarative power. His voice mirrored his life, a life filled with great triumph and deep sorrow.

Q&A With the Creators of the Zombie Hagaddah

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

In our March 16 issue, Kol HaBirah reported on the successful launch of Kemp Mill duo Elisha Simkovich and Avi Litwack’s creation, “The Zombie Hagaddah,” available online at In honor of the holiday, here is an excerpt from the original interview with the writer and illustrator. Beware: undead spoilers ahead.

Shomrai Emunah In The 60s

Written by Super User on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

I went to make a shiva call recently and I was asked, as always, if I attended the Hebrew Academy. No, I explain, while my children are all graduates, I did not go there. And when I tell them that I went to Rabbi Anemer’s school, I am usually met with a puzzled stare, because the school, like so many facets of the early days, remains generally forgotten. To understand, let me take you back to the beginning:

Theodore Roosevelt Island

Written by Dinah Rokach on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

History records, but few remember, the endorsement by Theodore Roosevelt of a Jewish homeland in Zion. In a list of goals for the peace settlement at the conclusion of World War I — anticipating the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire — former President Theodore Roosevelt included: “Palestine made a Jewish State.” Roosevelt wrote in 1918, a few months before his death, “It seems to me that it is entirely proper to start a Zionist State around Jerusalem.” As a teenager, he had accompanied his parents in their travels across the Ottoman Empire in 1872-73. They visited the Western Wall, as is noted in his boyhood diary.

Gesher with a Twist: ‘From Kibbutz to the City’ With Liraz Cohen

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

Gesher with a TWIST, Gesher Jewish Day School’s robust event series, hosted a fun event on fashion and style for its parent body, alumni families, and community of friends and supporters On Sunday evening March 5.

The event, co-chaired by Gesher parents Barbara Kaplan and Francine Rossen, was held at Lord & Taylor in Tysons Corner, in McLean, Virginia. There was a wine bar as well as a variety of high-end, scrumptious delicacies catered by Michael Medina of Medina Cuisine, including Israeli bourekas (potato, mushroom, and spinach), Moroccan pastilla (with chicken, phyllo dough, cinnamon, almonds, and powdered sugar), seared ahi tuna in Japanese spoons, chocolate truffles, and chocolate mousse in shot glasses. This was followed by a comprehensive presentation of the history of Israeli fashion by Israeli fashion mogul, Liraz Cohen, and, finally, a fashion show featuring Gesher faculty and staff expertly (and amusingly) modeling an assortment of fashionable clothes and accessories by Jewish designers whose merchandise is currently on sale at Lord & Taylor.

Free to See: Black Hill Regional Park

Written by Dinah Rokach on . Posted in Arts & Entertainment

This serene oasis of nature and outdoor fun on 2,000 acres in northwest Montgomery County, Maryland, beckons with the change of seasons. The first official day of spring is next week, and it is followed the following week by Rosh Chodesh Nisan, the first day of Chodesh Ha’Aviv. Our thoughts turn to the beauties of the world around us that awaken with the passing of winter.

At the Visitor Center, which proudly welcomes 35,000 nature lovers annually, pick up a map of the park and its trails and the location of the various amenities.

Before you enter the structure, look for the “open classroom.” To your left, check out the children’s garden, bee garden, bird feeding area and sandbox. Learn how to play the pebble harp. There is even a log garden (inspiration, perhaps, for those who hate mowing their front lawns). To your right, observe the activity in the pond. In the spring, tadpoles and frogs make this their home. Note the shimmering goldfish. They represent the mazal (astrological sign) of Chodesh Adar, dagim (fish). In residence in Little Seneca Lake on the park grounds are largemouth bass and bluegill sunfish. Fish are considered special and beloved by G-d as they did not perish in the flood but survived that cataclysm even though they were outside the confines of the Ark.