Each season, the Library presents engaging cultural and literary events.
To access our 2013 Fall/Winter Program Catalog, click here.
All events are
- Open to everyone
- Held in the Main Library, unless noted otherwise
Programs are made possible by the Friends of the Jewish Community Library. The Jewish Community Library is a member of the Jewish Book Network, coordinated by the Jewish Book Council.
A Shared Eye: Photographs by father and daughter, Ernest and Lucienne Bloch
Swiss born San Francisco-based Jewish composer Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) was an accomplished photographer who drew both visual and musical inspiration from nature. Bloch gave his daughter Lucienne a camera when she was a child, and, like her father, she developed a passion for photography.
A multifaceted artist, Lucienne Bloch (1909-1999) studied fresco painting with Mexican muralist Diego Rivera and became a close friend of his wife, Frida Kahlo. She and her husband, artist Stephen Pope Dimitroff, helped perpetuate the art of fresco in the United States, creating murals and teaching a new generation of artists. One of their murals, a favorite of Lucienne Bloch’s, can be seen at The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin on Union Street in San Francisco.
Drawn from the personal collection of Lucienne Allen, granddaughter of Lucienne Bloch, this is the first exhibition of photography by both Ernest and Lucienne Bloch in the Bay Area. More than twenty photographs Illustrate their shared vision of the 1920s through 1940s, from urban American labor demonstrations to serene Swiss landscapes and iconic images of Rivera and Kahlo. Also on display are personal memorabilia including the Blochs’ camera and printing equipment. Curated by Elayne Grossbard
The exhibition is on display through March 2, 2014 and is made possible by Lucienne Allen and Old Stage Studios. Exhibition and associated programs are co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco and co-presented by Congregation Emanu-El, and The Mexican Museum.
Frida [Kahlo] Biting Her Necklace, New Workers School, New York, 1933. Photo by Lucienne Bloch.
Above: The Mushroom Lady, Satigny, Switzerland, 1912. Photo by Ernest Bloch.
Programs in Conjunction with the Exhibition
SOTA Musicians Play Bloch - with a presentation by Matthew CmielThursday, February 6, 2014, 7 pm
Ernest Bloch is considered one of the great twentieth-century Jewish composers. Born in Switzerland, he spent nearly two decades of his life teaching in the Bay Area. He was the director of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 1925 - 1930 and was a professor of music at the University of California, Berkeley from 1940 until his retirement in 1952.
To coincide with the Library’s exhibition featuring Ernest Bloch’s photography, orchestra students from the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco (SOTA) will perform selected works by Bloch, including the prelude of his cello concerto Schelomo (composed in 1915-16 in Geneva) and his Abodah for violin (composed in 1929 in San Francisco). SOTA’s orchestra director Matthew Cmiel will introduce the pieces and discuss Bloch’s influence on the shape and history of San Francisco's musical life.
Matthew Cmiel is the director of orchestras at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, and co-director of the ensemble After Everything. He holds degrees in composition from The Curtis Institute of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Program is made possible, in part, by Carla Ruff, in memory of Dr. Robert Mendle and co-presented by the Ruth Asawa School for the Arts
How Prison Set Me Free: The Story Behind Free SpiritA presentation by Joshua Safran
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5, 7 P.M.
Raised by a single mother searching for her own vision of Utopia, Joshua Safran spent his first twelve years “on the road and off the grid,” shuttling from one counter-culture commune to another. Along the way, his mother became the victim of intimidation and domestic violence. Safran found the courage to write Free Spirit, the compelling and often disturbing story of his unique upbringing, while representing a survivor of domestic violence, Deborah Peagler, who was serving time in a maximum security prison for women. Free Spirit has been praised by Publishers Weekly as “a beautiful, powerful memoir...introspective, hilarious, and heartbreaking.”
Joshua Safran is an attorney, writer, speaker, and occasional rabbi, and was featured in the award-winning documentary Crime After Crime, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. He is an advocate for the rights of women and girls, survivors of domestic violence, and the wrongfully imprisoned and has received national media coverage and numerous awards.
Program made possible, in part, by Michael and Jane Rice
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12, 7 P.M.
In Crossing Cairo, Rabbi Ruth Sohn has written a family portrait of living in Egypt for six months in 2006 with her husband, Rabbi Reuven Firestone, and their two children, with the goal of deepening their understanding of Arab thought and culture. Advised not to share the fact that they are Jewish, they discover what it means to hide and then increasingly share their identity. Would it be possible to cross the boundaries of language, culture and religion to form real friendships and find a home among Egyptians?
Sohn takes us on a remarkable journey as she encounters the many faces of Cairo. In the epilogue, she returns to Cairo after the fall of Mubarak to find a newly exuberant and infectious patriotism and hope.
Ruth H. Sohn is a rabbi, teacher, and writer based in Los Angeles. She directs the Rabbinic Mentoring program and teaches rabbinical students at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles.
Program made possible, in part, by Tricia Hellman Gibbs
Co-presented by the San Francisco Chapter of Hadassah, the Jewish Community High School of the Bay, the Israel Center, and JIMENA
One of the few fiction films to be made by a Haredi filmmaker, director Rama Burshtein’s award-winning work follows Shira, an 18-year old Hasidic woman living in Tel Aviv. Her excitement about her impending betrothal is brought to an end when Shira’s sister dies unexpectedly in childbirth. When her family asks that she marry her sister’s widowed husband instead, Shira is torn between her desires and her sense of duty.
2012, 90 minutes, in Hebrew with English subtitles, shown in video projection.
Discussion facilitated by Library Director Howard Freedman.
To see our past season of events, click here for the fall 2012 program catalogue.