In many ways, JArts’ Fall 2020 Season is the most important one in the five-year history of this young organization. The arts have never been more important than they are today. Art and culture do far more than entertain us. In these anxiety-ridden times, the arts offer us inspiration, beauty and an important reminder of just how creative people can be.

Despite online technical limitation, people are now enjoying cultural experiences the way they once attended the theater or frequented a museum. And while we may not be able to kibbitz in the hallways at intermissions, online experiences help us to not feel so alone and to take comfort knowing there are others all around you who share your interests, passions and curiosities.

Here are some of the projects that may interest you.

“The Shape of Play”
Now through Oct. 30 
Waterfront Park, Boston 

Please wear your face mask and maintain social distance, but don’t miss immersing yourself in “The Shape of Play” sculpture and soundscape. Created by artist Sari Carel and produced in partnership with Now+There, “The Shape of Play” is an environmental sculpture and soundscape that challenges us to take a new perspective on what play and freedom mean today. It is both thought-provoking and joyous, adding elements of color so needed today. You can also participate in our community dialogues centered around the project. Get out and play.

All season long 

Given its popularity (over 10,000 views already!), our JLive series of art, music and cuisine conversations/demonstrations continues with eight new editions. We kick off the fall season on Tuesday, Sept. 14, with a special program of outdoor compositions by violinist Rachel Panitch, former artist-in-residence at both Zion and Acadia National Parks. Our first food talk is Friday, Sept. 25, with community activist and James Beard Award-nominated chef Irene Li of Mei Mei. Our first JLive Art will be on Monday, Oct. 5, when we visit the studio of the superb mosaic artist Audrey Markoff. Check out the complete schedule.

Creativity Connects Shabbat (formerly Arts Matter Shabbat) 
Oct. 23-24 
Synagogues across Massachusetts 

Jewish communities across the state join in the celebration of Jewish arts and culture with a special short film, “Culture Connects Us,” included in online services. Through animation, music, Judaica and commentary, the film is a creative reflection on how the arts connect us to text, to traditions and to each other. Presented in partnership with MASSCreative and the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts. Get connected.

A Bintel Brief: Staged Reading 
Tuesday, Nov. 11 

The JArts TheatreWorks group proudly presents a staged reading of “A Bintel Brief.” The Bintel Brief was a Yiddish advice column that started in the early 20th century by Abraham Cahan, the editor of Der Forverts (The Forward). Through letters, advice and wisdom, this column, which originally connected Jewish immigrants to their community, now asks us: “How do we stay connected despite the distances between us?” Join us for the premiere of these letters reimagined, followed by a Q&A with Dr. Jonathan Sarna, the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History and director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. The program is created in partnership with the Yiddish Book Center and the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. Register.

Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights 
Wednesday, Dec. 9 

Instead of gathering at the MFA for our acclaimed annual Hanukkah celebration, all of the activities you love in person will be adapted as a special online experience. There’ll be crafts and stories for children from our friends at PJ Library, music by Hankus Netsky and Eden MacAdam-Somer, artist talks with the MFA’s Simona DiNepi and more.

Two very special additions for this year’s program include an augmented reality Hanukkiah gallery that will allow you to bring hanukkiot from around the world into your own home just by looking through your phone screen, while all across the city our Brighter Connected project, led by artist Tova Speter, will feature works by eight local artists in eight area neighborhood windows. Learn more.

While all these programs are offered with no admission charge, we hope you’ll consider donating to JArts to support the artists and organizations that make such important contributions to our community.

Jewish arts and culture in Boston have never been so accessible. Let’s put aside our TV remotes for a few minutes and explore different aspects of Jewish arts and culture. Just register, sign in and get inspired!

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