2013-14 LABA FELLOWS
Siona Benjamin is a painter originally from Bombay, now living in the US. Her work reflects her background of being brought up Jewish in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim India. In her paintings she combines the imagery of her past with the role she plays in America today, making a mosaic inspired by both Indian miniature paintings and Sephardic icons. www.artsiona.com
She has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2010-11 for art project titled: Faces: Weaving Indian Jewish Narratives. First exhibit was in 2013 at the Prince of Wales museum in Mumbai, India. Her work has been featured in: The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Financial Times, The Jewish Week in NYC and NJ, The Boston Globe, Art in America, Art New England, Art and Antiques, ArtNews, Moment magazine, The Times of India, The Mumbai Mirror, Midday newspaper and Caravan magazine and several news papers, magazines, journals and books.
Brooke Berman is a playwright, screenwriter and filmmaker who recently wrote and directed her first short film, “Uggs for Gaza,” based on a story by Gordon Haber. Brooke’s plays have been produced at theaters including: Steppenwolf, The Second Stage, Primary Stages, WET, The Play Company and Theater 7 Chicago and developed by The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Williamstown Theater Festival, The Jewish Plays Project, New Dramatists, The Playwrights Center, The Womens Project and others (and in the UK, The Royal Court Theatre and the Royal National Theatre Studio). She’s written films for Natalie Portman, The Mark Gordon Company, Vox Films and Red Crown. Her memoir “NO PLACE LIKE HOME” was published by Random House in 2010 and called “Highbrow” and “Brilliant” by New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix. She has recently moved back to NYC after five years in Los Angeles. www.brookeberman.net
Tom Block is a playwright, author and visual artist. His plays have been produced in New York and Washington DC; he has had two books published (“Shalom/Salaam: A Story of a Mystical Fraternity” published in the United States and Turkey in 2010 and “A Fatal Addiction: War in the Name of God” in 2012) and has just signed a contract for his third, “Response to Machiavelli,” which explores the American political landscape. He has exhibited his artwork around the United States and Europe. And he has spoken about his ideas throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Turkey and the Middle East. He was a Research Fellow at DePaul University’s International Human Rights Law Institute (as an artist in residence) in 2010, as well as the founding producer of the Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival, 2010 (MD).www.tomblock.com
Clémence Boulouque is finishing her PhD in the joint History and Jewish program at New York University where she focuses on the beginnings of interfaith dialogue through Kabbalah in the 19th century. Before resuming her studies in the United States, she worked for 6 years as a book and movie critic for the French daily newspaper Le Figaro and for the broadcasting station France Culture. Clémence is also a published novelist and non-fiction writer. Her latest and eighth book was released in France in January 2013.
Yehuda Hyman is a playwright, dancer/choreographer and poet. He was born in Los Angeles to immigrant parents from Poland and Turkey. His plays include “The Mad 7,” “The Mad Dancers,” “David in Shadow and Light” (co-written with Daniel Hoffman), “Center of the Star,” and “Swan Lake Calhoun.” His work has been produced nationally at theaters including McCarter Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, San Diego Repertory Theater, Theatre J, and Cornerstone Theater and The Marsh. Honors include the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award, NEATCG Playwrights Residency Grant, Jerome Fellowship, Heideman Award, and grants from the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity and Foundation for Jewish Culture. www.themad7.com
Yael Kanarek is a multidisciplinary artist. She has been working with the visual properties of languages to explore the globally of human interaction. In addition to her fine art practice, she recently founded Aleph Foundry, a company that specializes in text-based jewelry. Selected for the 2002 Whitney Biennial, past exhibitions of Kanarek’s work also include The Drawing Center, New York; Beral Madra Contemporary Art, Istanbul; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; CU Museum, Boulder; Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University; The Jewish Museum, New York; Exit Art; The Kitchen; Museum of the Moving Image, New York; Wood Street Galleries, Pittsburgh; bitforms gallery, New York; Nelly Aman, Tel Aviv; Boston CyberArts Festival; HVCCA, Peekskill; Orsini Palace, Bomarzo; and Sala Uno Gallery, Rome. In addition to a Rockefeller New Media Fellowship and an Eyebeam Honorary Fellowship, Kanarek is also the recipient of grants from the Jerome Foundation Media Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts; commissions from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Turbulence.org, and The Alternative Museum; Kanarek’s distinctions also include residencies at Civitella Ranieri, Harvestworks and the Ma’amuta Art and Media Center. In 1999, she founded Upgrade! International. Kanarek holds an M.F.A. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. www.yaelkanarek.com
Nadav Lev is an Andrés Segovia Award winner (Música en Compostela, Spain), Israeli guitarist, and composer. Nadav was hailed by Classical Guitar Magazine as “a talented and engagingly musical performer”. His Carnegie Hall debut was described as a “sensitive and nuanced performance” and his debut album “a CD to savor and delight in… His playing is of the utmost authority”. Awards include AICF’s prestigious Abroad Studies Award, Joaquin Rodrigo Award (Jerusalem Guitar Competition) and Artists International. Lev’s music has been played in concert and theater venues. He performs throughout the US, Israel and Europe, in venues such as Lincoln Center and Merkin Hall, with an extraordinary variety of styles and forms – from classical to rock to improvised music. www.nadavlev.com
Elinor Renfield is an award winning director who has had the honor of working with world class writers, actors, and designers both on Broadway and off Broadway. She was a founding member The Women’s Project, a member of the Circle Repertory Theatre, and Ensemble Studio Theatre, She has been teaching directing in the MFA program at The New School for Drama where she was department chair from 2005 through 2011. She has also been on the theatre faculty of Princeton University and Yale University. www.elinorrenfield.com
Sigal Samuel is a Brooklyn-based fiction writer, essayist, journalist, and playwright. She works as a writer and editor for The Daily Beast blog Open Zion, and has contributed to Tablet, The Jerusalem Post, and The Walrus, among other publications. Her play “Hebrew” won Solo Collective Theater’s Emerging Playwrights’ Competition, and “Onomatopoeia” won The Cultch’s Young Playwrights’ Competition. Sigal holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She is currently finishing her first novel, “The Mystics of Mile End,” about a dysfunctional Jewish family obsessed with the Kabbalistic Tree of Life.www.sigalsamuel.wordpress.com
Alicia Svigals is the world’s leading klezmer fiddler and a founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics, who she co-led for seventeen years. She has played with and composed for violinist Itzhak Perlman, the Kronos Quartet, playwrights Tony Kushner and Eve Ensler, the late poet Allen Ginsburg, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, singer/songwriter Debbie Friedman, Avraham Fried, singer/songwriters Diane Birch, Gary Lucas and Najma Akhtar, and many others. She has appeared on David Letterman, MTV, PBS’ Great Performances, NPR’s Prairie Home Companion, Weekend Edition, and New Sounds and on the soundtrack for the L-Word. She is the recipient of the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s 2013 New Jewish Culture Network commission for her new score to the 1918 Pola Negri silent film “The Yellow Ticket,” which she is touring live in North America this year with pianist Marilyn Lerner. www.aliciasvigals.com
David Winitsky is the Artistic Director of the Jewish Plays Project (www.jewishplaysproject.org), a collaborator with StorahTelling, and a PresenTense New York City Fellow. He has directed or assisted on Broadway, off-Broadway, and regionally at Papermill Playhouse, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, California Shakespeare Festival and Philadelphia Theatre Company. NYC: “Displaced Wedding” (New Worlds Theatre Project). “A Wonderful Flat Thing” (14th St Y), Dominic D’Andrea’s “One Minute Play Festival,” Brooke Berman’s “Until We Find Each Other” (Midtown International). Regional: Douglas Adam’s “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (What Exit?), and Javier Malpica’s “Our Dad is in Atlantis” (Playwrights Theatre). MFA in Directing from Northwestern, BA in Mathematics from Cornell. Member: Lincoln Center Directors Lab and Emerging Artists Theatre. David is the proud husband of playwright and painter Elizabeth Samet, and father to Ezekiel and Alexander.
Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at The 14thStreet Y first learned of her love for community and communion with others through working in the Theater. During her years as a professional actress, Camille’s favorite roles included Rose in “Song of Singapore,” Luisa in “The Fantasticks,” Dorine in”Tartuffe,” Joan of Arc in “Goodtime Charley,” and Woman #2 in “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” She has also appeared at the Duplex and Don’t Tell Mama in Cabaret shows featuring the works of the artists Kurt Weil and Stephen Schwartz. Camille holds an M.F.A, a B.A., and is an ordained Interfaith Minister.
Adi Ezroni is an actress and film producer. Most recently, she can be seen as one of the lead actors in ‘Prisoners of War’, the original Israeli series that ‘Homeland’ is based on. Her latest producing credits include A Late Quartet with Philip Seymour Hoffman and The English Teacher with Julianne Moore. Adi is the recipient of the 2008 US State Department Global Hero Award for raising awareness to child trafficking through film and social action. In 2013 she became a mom. www.adi-ezroni.com
Mirta Kupferminc – International Fellow lives and works in Buenos Aires. A recipient of many international awards, she has been exhibiting locally and internationally since 1977. She has held more than 90 one-person shows across the globe, including in Spain, Taipei, Tokyo, Berlin, Cuba, Brazil, Israel, United States, and Hungary. Mirta represents Argentina at International Biennials, and is a teacher and lecturer in Argentina and internationally. She is the creator of the memorial monument to the victims of the 1994 terrorist attack on the AMIA (Argentine Israelite Mutual Association) building in Buenos Aires. www.mirtakupferminc.net