As the sun sets on Tuesday, August 4, we begin the celebration of Tu B’Av, the Jewish holiday of love. Our post-biblical sages teach that on this day, "the daughters of Israel would go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards," looking to find a husband. After the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, the holiday went largely unobserved for centuries, until the founding of the modern state of Israel, when Zionists looked to revive ancient Jewish customs. Today, though Tu B'Av is a regular workday in Israel, music and dance festivals are often held, and Israelis enjoy giving cards and flowers to their loved ones. Tu B'Av is also considered a serendipitous day to get married.
In today's world, we could all use a little extra love. So, the J is excited to offer three very special ways for you to celebrate and share love with your family and neighbors.
When I was younger I enjoyed drawing horses and tried out watercolors and colored pencils at one point, but never really had the time to take classes and develop my skills. I’ve always enjoyed looking at art work and photographs of plants and animals and dreamed of creating beautiful images myself. Last fall I started in the Studio Painting class with Susan Wingfield as the teacher.
The slower summer months are the perfect time to try a new class or return to the dance classes of your childhood. Ballet and tap are two disciplines that many learned as children and now seek the opportunity to revisit as adults.
We offer beginner through intermediate/advanced adult dance classes. Join instructors Sofia Aranha for ballet and Dorena Battaglino and Cathy Marmolejo for tap.
The J invites you to two free screenings of this important film.
A famous story in the Talmud teaches about a gentile who came before the great Shammai and said: “I will convert [to Judaism] if you can teach me the entire Torah while I stand on one foot.” Shammai pushed the man aside with a ruler that was in his hand. The man then came before the great Hillel [with the same proposition], and Hillel converted him, saying, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor, that is the entire Torah, the rest is just commentary, now go and learn.”
August 15 was a very special day for the ceramics program at the J and our devoted students. It wasn’t enough that we have been welcomed back into a beautiful new studio and have been so well treated by the staff at the J.
Through the auspices of the Ceramic Store (which has been so generous to us since Harvey), we were treated to a glaze workshop sponsored by Amaco Glaze Company. Not only did the president of the company travel to Houston himself, he also brought one of his top educators to demonstrate, explain, and answer questions.
There is a debate in the Talmud over how to interpret a particular phrase in the Book of Psalms. “Rabbi Judah HaNasi and the sages differed in this matter. One said [the phrase should be interpreted as], ‘The character of the generation is determined by its leader.’ And one said [the phrase should be interpreted as], ‘The character of the leader is determined by its generation’” (Arachin 17a).
Although the debate is not definitively concluded, its implications are worth noting—a nation and its leaders are inextricably linked, and each has a role and responsibility in shaping the other.
It was 45 years ago that my mom, Henrietta Bell, started the Nite Owls program. My sister was in her teens when my mom realized she would need a peer group for social activities to meet her developmental differences as she aged. This was in 1964.
Ceramics is a fulfilling hobby. There are endless components that test one’s skills.
Starting with wedging, the process of making the clay supple, there are unlimited techniques to learn. Whether you like hand building or use the wheel, it’s a challenge that takes practice.
Until this fall, my preference was building all sorts of items on the wheel. The tactile sensation of working the clay on the wheel and the visual affirmation when your product is complete is an amazing feeling. Bowls, mugs, colanders to serve berries, plates, even made a lemon squeezer...the projects are infinite.
Six months ago the painting/drawing and ceramic studios, located in our lower level, were washed away by Hurricane Harvey. Renovations to the studios are underway and expected to be completed by the end of May. However, students will not have to wait for the studios to re-open and can once again enjoy art classes this spring in temporary spaces at the J.
After Harvey, art students lost all of their tools and pieces they were working on before the flood. The ceramic studio lost six potting wheels and two kilns. Maxine Silberstein, program coordinator for adult visual arts, stated, “Having lost the studio due to Harvey, we were not sure when it would be possible to offer another ceramic class.”
Jen Glantz is the author of Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire): Stories on Growing Up, Looking for Love and Walking Down the Aisle for Complete Strangers, a professional bridesmaid and blogger.
Glantz will join us on Thursday, March 1 to kick off Celebrating Women Month. She recently shared her thoughts on being a bridesmaid, weddings and her nomadic lifestyle.