Saturday, April 14, 2012

Jewish Museum Presents Varied Spring Lineup

A celebration of Israel Independence Day with acclaimed Israeli music artists, a presentation exploring General Ulysses S. Grant’s General Orders No. 11, which expelled “Jews as a class” from the area under his military rule, and a discussion with the first ordained North American women rabbis are on tap this spring at the National Museum of American Jewish History. The program calendar also includes a May film series featuring three documentaries by Aviva Kempner.

The Museum is also offering free admission to anyone with the last name of Goldberg, with valid ID, from May 13 - 18 during “Goldbergs Week.” (See below for more information.)

■ Hayu Leilot/There Were Nights – An artistic journey in celebration of Israel
Wednesday, April 25 – 7 p.m.
Free for members and students with valid ID / Non-members $8

Celebrate Israel Independence Day with the Museum. In collaboration with the Consulate General of Israel in Philadelphia and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, the Museum will feature some of the bright stars of Israeli and Jewish music, including Udi Bar-David, renowned cellist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and artistic director of Intercultural Journeys, and Mika Hary, Israeli superstar singer/songwriter, and her acclaimed band, the Mika Hary Group. There will also be a special appearance by Nitzan Haroz, principal trombone of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

■ Religion and Politics: When General Grant Expelled The Jews.
Wednesday, May 2 – 6:30 p.m.
Members $5 / Non-members $10

In a presidential election year fraught with religious debate, Dr. Jonathan D. Sarna, the Museum’s chief historian, will discuss his new book, When General Grant Expelled the Jews. It is the first complete account of General Ulysses S. Grant’s order, in the middle of the Civil War, to expel all Jews from the territory under his command.

The order came back to haunt Grant when he ran for president. Never before had Jews been so widely noticed in a presidential contest, and never before had they been confronted so publicly with the question of how to balance their “American” and “Jewish” interests. Grant’s decision remains the most notorious anti-Jewish order by a government official in American history.

Sarna, the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and NMAJH chief historian, is recognized as a leading commentator on American Jewish history, religion and life. He is best known for the acclaimed American Judaism: A History.

This program is generously supported by the Charles and Esther Lee Kimerling Charitable Foundation and is presented in conjunction with Jewish American Heritage Month.
■ Leading the Way: America’s First Women Rabbis
Monday, June 4 – 6:30 p.m.
Members and students with valid ID $5 / Non-members $10

On the 40th anniversary of Rabbi Sally Priesand’s ordination, join the first ordained North American Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist rabbis, and the first open Orthodox rabba, as they share their unique experiences as “firsts” in their field. Rabbis Sally Priesand, Amy Eilberg, Sandy Sasso and Rabba Sara Hurwitz will discuss how and why they decided to become Jewish spiritual leaders and explore challenges facing the Jewish community today.

■ Untold Stories: The Films of Aviva Kempner

Documentary filmmaker Aviva Kempner investigates images of Jews in history, celebrating the lesser-known stories of Jewish heroes for which she has received numerous awards and critical acclaim. She founded the Washington Jewish Film Festival in 1989 and writes film criticism and feature articles for numerous publications, including The Boston Globe, the Forward, Washington Jewish Week and The Washington Post. 

□ The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg
(USA, 1999, 95 minutes)
Wednesday, May 9 – 6:30 p.m.
Members $5, Series $12 / Non-members $10, Series $24

This critically-acclaimed film details the life of Hank Greenberg, the Detroit Tigers slugger who fought antisemitism, and came close to breaking Babe Ruth's home run record. He was baseball's first Jewish star. Tall, handsome, and uncommonly good-natured, Greenberg was a secular Jew from the Bronx who became "the baseball Moses," an icon for everyone from Walter Matthau to Alan Dershowitz.

□ Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg
(USA, 2009, 92 minutes)
Wednesday, May 16 – 6:30 p.m.
Members $5, Series $12 / Non-members $10; Series $24

Join movie critic Carrie Rickey ( for this humorous and eye-opening story of television pioneer Gertrude Berg. Berg was the creator, principal writer, and star of The Goldbergs radio show, which became television’s first character-driven domestic sitcom in 1949. She received the first Best Actress Emmy in history, and paved the way for women in the entertainment industry, pioneering that genre by presenting America with an outwardly Jewish family that wore its immigrant heritage on its sleeve. 

In conjunction with the May 16, 6:30 p.m. screening of the documentary, Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, the Museum has declared the week of May 13 - 18 “Goldbergs Week.” Three consecutive episodes of The Goldbergs will be screened at 11:30 a.m., 12:00 noon, and 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15, Thursday, May 17, and Friday, May 18 in the Dell Theater on the concourse level. Screenings are free with Museum admission.

To help celebrate the life of the visionary Gertrude Berg and the films of Aviva Kempner, the Museum is offering free admission to visitors with the last name of Goldberg during the week of May 13 – 18, which the Museum has declared “Goldbergs Week.” Visitors must present official identification, e.g., drivers license, college ID, etc. to receive free admission to the Museum, episodes of The Goldbergs and the screening of Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg.

□ The Rosenwald Schools (Work in Progress)
(Excerpt, Approx 20 minutes)
Wednesday, May 23 – 6:30 p.m.
Members $5, Series $12 / Non-members $10, Series $24

Aviva Kempner will share her work-in-progress documentary exploring the story of Julius Rosenwald, the son of German-Jewish immigrants who rose to become one of the wealthiest men in America (he teamed with Richard Sears to build Sears, Roebuck & Co.) as well as a beloved humanitarian. Rosenwald's greatest accomplishment is the establishment of grants that seeded the creation of more than 5,500 schools for poor, rural African-American children in Southern states at a time when few received any public education. A talk-back with Kempner will follow.

No comments: