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INTO THE NIGHT: Spotlight on Downtown Jewish Renaissance

Downtown Jewish Life

May 7, 2018

We are less than two weeks away from INTO THE NIGHT, a night-long celebration of Tikkun Leil Shavuot.

Anchored by the idea that Jewish text and art can come together to create a unique cultural experience, this festival is created, curated, and hosted by the 14th Street Y, a leading downtown Jewish community center. So for this Tikkun preview, we are excited to highlight the 14th Street Y, learn more about the inspiration behind INTO THE NIGHT, and explore another one of the five main themes of the celebration, “Jewish Renaissance.”

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The philosophy of the 14th Street Y is grounded in the belief that contemporary Jewish values can inspire creativity, connection, and learning. At the core of this belief is a commitment to the arts. INTO THE NIGHT was created in part as a showcase for artists participating in LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture, the 14th Street Y’s innovative arts fellowship that uses classic Jewish texts to inspire creation and expression. In addition to LABA fellows, the 14th Street Y co-creates the Tikkun with dozens of downtown Jewish community partners, artists, chefs, and downtown icons who all bring their unique blend of Jewish culture, spirituality, and history to this celebration.

INTO THE NIGHT is now in its fifth year. Each year, the 14th Street Y curates themes and welcomes partner organizations to participate based on those themes. Ronit Muszkatblit, Director of Arts and Culture at the 14th Street Y and LABA, shared the process of collaborating with partners and selecting themes — in particular, a new theme called the “Jewish Renaissance.”

“This year, with the Tikkun being at the height of our Season of Jewish Culture, we wanted to highlight the Jewish Renaissance happening downtown. We invited our partner organizations and other leading culturally Jewish downtown establishments to tell their story of transformation, with the 14Y seeing itself as another catalyst and hub for their infectious energy.”

– Ronit Muszkatblit, Director of Arts and Culture at the 14th Street Y and LABA

The events that fall under the category of the Jewish Renaissance are open to all, whether you’ve lived in the neighborhood for years or have no prior experience with Jewish history or culture. All we ask is that you come with your curiosity. Sessions cover everything from looking at the roots of immigration to the history of the Lower East Side, and even one that examines the transformation of neighborhoods and the cultural significance of food with an interview of the iconic deli Russ and Daughters by Educational Alliance CEO, Alan van Capelle that you won’t want to miss! Rounding out the night, we will mix comedy and Jewish activism – focusing on the ways in which people have used comedy to bring about social change in New York City and beyond.

“We are fortunate enough to live in a country where there is freedom of the press and where comedy is not censored – at least for now. Comedians have been a strong beacon of light, holding our leaders accountable, while giving us all a much needed release through laughter. We’re excited that Amanda Duarte, co-founder of the Pussy Grabs Back campaign, will share her story and how her meme became a rallying cry around the globe.”

– Laura Beatrix Newmark, 14th Street Y

Whichever sessions you choose to attend during the Tikkun, whichever of the five themes you choose to explore, you will learn something new — whether it is about the downtown Jewish community, the modern context for sacred Jewish texts, or your very own spiritual journey.