Those of us who have participated in the Jewish poetry scene in New York City over the last decade might argue that the journal Mima’amakim invented it. Though Jewish women and men have been performing and publishing poetry for many decades as part of a thriving New York poetry scene, Mima’amakim established the first readings and performances that featured not only poetry written by Jews, but also poetry with specifically Jewish content. On February 5 at the Sixth Street Synagogue, Mima’amakim will hold a publication party celebrating its last issue and 10 years of publishing innovative Jewish poetry.
A group of Jewish artists digging deep into Jewish writing and turning it into theater is trying to bring something fresh and smart to the table.
After much anticipation, the moment is almost upon us. Tomorrow night the Forward will present an evening of music and poetry in collaboration with the Sixth Street Synagogue, featuring no less than three Alicias: Alicia Svigals, Alicia Ostriker and Alicia Jo Rabins.
The year is 1943. The place is Warsaw. The ghetto uprising has been crushed, but one man, a Hasid by the name of Yosl Rakover, is still alive, and he is busy recording his sordid tale for posterity. After recounting the events of the last few years — the deaths of his children and grandchildren, the hunger that pervades his every bone, the sense of despair all around him — he insists: “If I were unable to believe that God had marked us for His chosen people, I would still believe that we were chosen to be so by our sufferings.”
Saxophone/clarinet player Greg Wall, described by Time Out NY as the “fiery, eclectic Jewish-jazz luminary,” has, more recently, been ordained as an Orthodox rabbi. Aside from playing in a number of well-known klezmer projects (Hasidic New Wave, Later Prophets, etc.) he has been appointed to lead the Sixth Street Community Synagogue. On most Monday nights, you can find him there, teaching a class on “kosher living”, which is followed by a performance of one of his bands. On Feb 1st and 8th, after the class, his New American Jazz Quartet will take the stage.