06 November 2005
Mima'akim Journal Release Party
This evening, I had the pleasure of attending Mima'makim's release party for their sixth journal. I had previously attended in the spring and found it to be of interest and enjoyable, as well. I went with a few fellow Heights people (can be seen in the top left photo, though only my roommate's right shoulder can be seen), and eventually saw a few others (including Aaron and Shira, the former of which presented a couple of his poems and is pictured with the light shirt). Upon my walking in, I saw a face I hadn't seen in at least a couple of years. This face belonged to Adam Chandler, a guy who I had known in my international involvement with BBYO, spending three weeks together on a summer program in 1998, as well as being at the BBYO International Conventions for a week each of that and the following two years. He's apparently now in New York City (he grew up in Houston and attended university at GW) working at Heeb. He introduced me to Lilit, who was the third presenter and is a poster at JewSchool (she is pictured with book in hand).
As I'm not much of a connoisseur of poetry, I enjoyed the music, though there was not as much music this time as there was last time, though this probably made it last not as long as previously. My favorite act was Basya Shechter of Pharoah's Daughter. It was very polished - certainly the mark of a professional artist. She started off with one song, then brought on another fellow, who beatboxed! It was quite enjoyable. For her third song, she brought on another performer, a young lady who played on some sort of stringed instrument (so I don't know what it's called...) along with the beatboxing, etc. Tremendously enjoyable - I will try to go to her [group's] performances. What was so good about the last was that she was quoting from Pirke Avos, and it made me realize how great this is - it's like Jewish culture, but done in a very enjoyable and good way. For me, it was mixing entertainment with Judaism (often my Judaism and entertainment don't mix paths), which kind of made me proud of Jewish tradition for a little bit and wished that this sort of thing was more common.
The most thought-provoking act of the night was this fellow Josh's prose. He is blurrily pictured here with his wife (she is wearing a red shirt). Speaking of which, he made an amusing comment after having asked her something and she responded with an "Okay," he said, "'Okay' is close enough to a 'yes' when you're married." Beyond that, he raised in his presentation a few good thoughts: 1) When he was a kid, he looked for God, like looking for an imaginery friend. If so, I wonder how many youngsters do the same, and how that affects their understanding and relationship with God as they go through life. 2) Oftentimes, we talk about God with words usually only reserved for sex.... 3) What's the function of a מחיצה in a shul where there are homosexual males on one side and lesbians on the other side? In addition to these three, he mentioned in a prose piece about everybody rebels at some point in their youth (his example was a girl eating cheeseburgers for a month). Interesting, I thought, as I am a BT (not raised from birth as being observant), and I'm going to have to deal with my offspring who will rebel. It's a fact of life. I heard someone remark about a year and a half ago that when BTs get married, they hope to have little BT babies, but, alas, they will be FFBs (raised from birth as observant).
To end the evening, the coordinator of it, Jake Marmer, closed off with some selections of his. While the music was neat, after the first couple, I was ready to go, then he did a piece, entitled "Shalom/Goodbye," which I thought was a perfect opportunity to end the show. But, it did not. He kept going, and so we decided to bounce at that point.
Overall, it was good, though the space where it was held was way too small, as there were people consistently standing way in the back. Furthermore, where it was held last time was at least wide, though not tremendously deep. This place was somewhat (but not a lot) long, but kind of narrow. Hopefully, they will resserve a larger venue for their future events in anticipation of crowds of this and bigger sizes.
Posted by Drew Kaplan