Call for Entries: LABA House of Study 2013-2014

11 Jun



The theme of LABA 2012-2013 is MOTHER. We’ve all got opinions about mothers. She is someone we mythologize, demonize, adore and abhor. This year we will engage in a deep exploration of the mother figure, examining the enormous symbolic gravity she holds in classical Jewish texts. We will witness the mother as heroine, the mother as villain, the mother as creator of life and the mother as destroyer. We will look at all these women in the Jewish canon, and the mark they left on our collective cultural memory.

So come talk about mother with us. Unlike your therapist, we’ll pay you!


We are looking for culture-makers from any creative field. Previous fellows have included dancers, actors, visual artists, theater directors, musicians and writers, though we are not limited to these categories. We encourage everyone, from puppeteers and chefs, to architects and tight-rope walkers, to apply.

No previous knowledge of Jewish texts is required for fellows, though familiarity with these texts will not lessen one’s chances of becoming a fellow either. What is required is a desire to study these texts in an intellectually serious but non-religious setting. Through our study, we hope to engage with the stories of the Bible and classical rabbinic texts as if they were new. We will discuss Abraham the father, in addition to Abraham the patriarch, David the lover, in addition to David the king. We will also fold in contemporary literature, as well as music and art, to help us better see both the timeless and radical elements of these sacred texts.

Fellows are required to take part in study sessions, of which there will be 12 spread out from September 2013- June 2014. The sessions will take place Monday evenings. Fellows will be required to make one contribution to our online journal and to participate in one of our LABAlive events which will take place throughout the year.

This year we are asking applicants to come to LABA with either a work-in-progress or project idea connected to the theme of Mother. Our goal is for this project to be informed and inspired by the text study.

Fellows will receive a $2100 stipend for their participation in LABA as well as project support up to $5000. We will also provide fiscal sponsorship and fundraising support.

Fellows will have access to rehearsal and work spaces in the Y throughout the year.


Please answer these questions and send them back in the body of an email to [email protected] by July 31, 2013. Please put the word “application,” your name and your field in the subject line. (Fields include: writing, theater, visual arts, music, etc.)

1. Please provide us with a short bio and/or artist’s statement, approximately 300-400 words. This is your chance to give us a sense of your work, your accomplishments, and your ambitions. Please attach or link to 2-3 examples of your work. (For writers, 1-2 examples, up to 10 pages total.)

2. Please explain your project idea or work-in-progress that you feel could benefit from a year of investigating Mother, approximately 200-400 words.

3. What interests you about LABA and studying Jewish texts?

4. What interests you about studying Mother?

5. What is your experience with studying Jewish texts?

6. What do you hope to gain from LABA?

7. How did you hear about LABA? (If applicable, please let us know if you were recommended by a previous fellow.)

8. Optional: Tell us a little something about your mother.


LABA is a non-religious Jewish house of study and culture laboratory at the 14th Street Y. Every year LABA selects a group of around 10 fellows — a mix of artists, writers, dancers, musicians, actors and others — to join us for a yearlong study of classical Jewish texts centered around a theme, and then interpret these texts in their work which is featured in LABAlive events and the quarterly online journal.

A central focus of LABA is to present Judaism’s rich literary and intellectual tradition in a free and creative setting, so that these texts and ideas may serve as inspiration for the fellows’ thought and art. The work inspired by the study aims to push the boundaries of what Jewish art can be and what Jewish texts can teach.

LABA’s home of the 14th Street in New York City’s East Village gives our fellows an opportunity to engage with the Y community, our neighborhood and the New York theater and art world through installations, gallery shows, workshops, performances and more.

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