Objects of Affection: The Wedding in Jewish Life: A Colloquium

The Center for Jewish History and The Working Group on Jews, Media & Religion @ The Center for Religion & Media, New York University present
Objects of Affection: The Wedding in Jewish Life: A Colloquium
Sunday, April 13, 2008
The Center for Jewish History
15 West 16th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues
New York, NY 10011
This event is free and open to the public; reservations required.
Please call SMARTTIX at 212-868-4444 or visit their website.
Weddings are the most elaborately celebrated of Jewish life-cycle events. This is reflected in a wide array of customs (rituals, songs, dances), objects (canopies, rings, clothing) professions (entertainers, caterers, photographers), and works of cultural creativity (representations of weddings in plays, films, visual art). Some of these phenomena are centuries old and widely familiar; others are rare, highly localized, or very recent innovations.
Consequently, weddings provide abundant opportunities for considering the intersection of media and religiosity in Jewish life. We have invited today’s gathering of scholars, artists, and performers to select key examples of mediating the Jewish wedding—from its graphic representation in a medieval manuscript to avant-garde performance—and to discuss what their place in a rite that is central to Jewish communality and continuity reveal about Jewish life itself. How do all these media practices enhance this ritual—or serve as opportunities for critique? What other aspects of Jewish life—gender, family, religious authority, economic concerns, aesthetic desires—do these wedding practices engage? How do the various media involved help articulate notions of spirituality, sexuality, memory, and religious tradition or provide a means for transformation?
-Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Jeffrey Shandler
Click on the link for schedule and further details

Faye Ginsburg, The Center for Religion and Media, New York University
Judith Siegel, The Center for Jewish History
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Jeffrey Shandler, colloquium co-conveners
Session 1: Images
Chair: Sally Charnow
Marc Michael Epstein: Marriage Procession, Italy, 1465: “The way we were”—Realia or fantasia?
Nahma Sandrow: Weddings in S. Ansky’s The Dybbuk
Edward Portnoy: Four Weddings and a Funeral: Cartoons of weddings from the Yiddish press
Edna Nahshon: Nechama Golan: Between sacredness and feminism
Rachel Kranson: The “No Chuppa, No Shtuppa” T-Shirt: Mocking the Jewish wedding
Lunch Break
Session 2: Performances
Chair: Brigitte Sion
Olga Gershenson: Benya Krik (1927): How it was done in the USSR
Alisa Solomon: Fiddler on the Roof: Sunflowers, bottle dancers and the invention of tradition
Ilana Abramovitch: Wedding videos: Performing ritual for the camera
Irit Koren: My Wedding Video: An atypical modern Orthodox feminist wedding
Susan Chevlowe: Nikki S. Lee’s The Wedding: Performing a “Jewish bride” / casting a Jewish bridegroom
Coffee Break
Session 3: Practices
Chair: Chava Weissler
Hankus Netsky: Uncovering Jack Levinsky’s Complete New York Russian Sher Medley
Jill Gellerman and Mark Kligman: “Yidden” on YouTube: The mediation of Mordechai Ben David’s music and wedding dance moves
Juliana Ochs: Wedding Menus: Nagamaki on the smorgasbord
Vanessa L. Ochs: Jewish Wedding Booklets: Tweaking tradition for personal meaning
Artist presentation
Melissa Shiff and Louis Kaplan: Postmodern Jewish Wedding: Rejuvenating Jewish Ritual
Dinner Break
Screening of Goodbye, Columbus (1969)
Remarks by J. Hobermanl