LABA is a Jewish house of study and culture laboratory which uses classic Jewish texts to inspire the creation of art, dialogue, and study. The program began in New York City in 2007 at the 14th Street Y, and expanded to Buenos Aires in 2015. LABA has received a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts and was named one of the most innovative Jewish organizations. The goal is to present Judaism’s rich literary and intellectual tradition in a free and creative setting, where they can spark new thought and culture. The creative output from LABA pushes the boundaries of what Jewish art can be and what Jewish texts can teach.
Every year, LABA selects a group of 8-10 artist fellows, a mix of visual artists, writers, dancers, musicians, actors, and more, to study classic Jewish texts in an open-minded and accessible setting. Neither theological nor academic, LABA welcomes fellows with a wide variety of approaches to Jewish life and tradition. The yearly curriculum is centered around a theme, and previous ones include Beauty, Paradise, Eat, Mother, and Time. The 2020 theme for LABA will be Humor, and will be explored through writings from the Torah, Talmud, Mishnah, and Zohar alongside select contemporary texts.
LABA fellows create new work in response to the texts they learn in the house of study. This work, some finished, some in-process, will be read, exhibited, and performed as part of the LABAlive series. Events will take place at the JCC East Bay as well as other cultural institutions around the East Bay. Each LABAlive will combine culture with text teachings, along with a nosh and some wine, and will be open to the whole community. The first LABAlive event of the year will be DRUNK on 11/23/2019. Our launch event, the evening will explore wine, text and culture.
JCC East Bay
“There is wine and there is wine, so also there is a cup and there is a cup, and all is, this for good and this for evil.” Zohar II:246b
You’ve had wine paired with food, now try wine paired with texts. Join LABA artists, ancient text scholars, and a local sommelier as they explore the complexities and contradictions of inebriation through teachings, tastings, and performances.
DRUNK originated at LABA in New York, where it has been a sold-event for five years and running.
JCC East Bay
IMAGE CREDIT: "Four Wise Men Entered Paradise" by Mirta Kupferminc, Director of LABA Buenos Aires. Etched Aquatint. 2005.