The Israelite Samaritans and the Festival of Unleavened Bread: Photographs by Dale Lazar
Fine Perlow Weis Gallery | May 4–July 24, 2015

Dale Lazar’s striking photographs of the Israelite Samaritans tell a compelling story of this small, yet enduring religious community celebrating the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The photographs depict moments captured by Lazar between 3 am and 7 am. Additional photographs portray members of the Samaritan community during a subsequent visit to the region.

The Israelite Samaritan religion is similar to, but distinct from Judaism. Samaritans follow one sacred text, the Samaritan Torah. They are led by a high priest; venerate their Temple Mount, Mt. Gerizim on the West Bank; and practice a style of Israelite religion that predates the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem. There are approximately 800 Samaritans in the world today.

Louise Silk: BubbeWisdom

January 19–April 17, 2015
Louise Silk: BubbeWisdom features Silk’s work and celebrates her 65th birthday.

The exhibition includes 18 quilts, a children’s spiritual tent, and a quilt that will be made in collaboration with participants at the JCC. Yiddish for grandmother, a bubbe possesses simultaneous pushiness and affection because she has seen it all and knows what’s best. Silk expertly combines her identity as a bubbe with quilt-making and storytelling. Keenly interested in politics, the environment, women’s issues and culture, Silk—an artist for nearly 40 years—has a lot to express through her quilts.

Silk ties the threads of philosophical values, physical consciousness, psychological emotions and ephemeral spirit in combination with moral knowledge and common sense. Guiding Silk is a lifelong effort to enhance kavanah, the intentional and conscious living of precise action in the correct way in the appropriate time. As her third AJM exhibition, following I Was There; I am Here: The Illumination of a Soul, 1994, and Pieces of Memory, 2000,BubbeWisdom displays the evolution of Silk’s quilting practice and creates a sense of shared history around her artistic and personal experiences.

Louise Silk: BubbeWisdom is made possible, in part, by the Jewish Healthcare Foundation

Emily Newman and the New Chelyuskinites
November 10, 2014–January 8, 2015

Emily Newman’s The New Chelyuskinites is equal parts social documentary, tableaux and oral history. Modeled after the calamitous 1933-34 Russian sea expedition that trapped 111 people on arctic ice for two months after their ship—the Chelyuskin—sank, The New Chelyuskinites draws upon the collective memories of the event and its aftermath.

Participants from different generations worked together with Newman to represent the expedition, its shipwreck, what it took for people to survive, the expedition’s rescue and their ceremonial decoration. The exhibition includes video and print documentation of participants recreating various stages of the expedition and a small-scale model of the Chelyuskin just before its demise. Built for children to climb and play on, the ship’s model aims to prompt the JCC’s Russian-American community to relate childhood stories and talk more about Russia and the Soviet Union with AJM visitors.

While a disastrous expedition that occurred 80 years ago in the Arctic Sea might seem a remote topic for consideration today, the launch of the Chelyuskin was an historic undertaking. It signaled noteworthy scientific achievements and beckoned toward unprecedented commercial opportunities. Although technically a failure, the expedition’s tenacity and successful rescue shocked the world. Strangely, it was victory of sorts for communism, which was claimed to have been the secret explaining their survival.

The New Chelyuskinites creates a platform for current-day Russians, both here and abroad, to share memories from the Soviet era. Based on two years of collaboration between Newman and participants from Pittsburgh’s Russian community, and one year working in St. Petersburg, Russia, the project intertwines individual voices with broader truths about this period in world history.

My Voice, My Memoir, My Pittsburgh

October 20–December 30, 2014

My Voice, My Memoir, My Pittsburgh is a community-wide Six-Word Memoir project with Congregation B’nai Abraham, New Light Congregation, Temple Sinai and Tree of Life Or L’Simcha Congregation. The 78 memoirs they submitted make up the exhibition. The congregations’ meaningful memoir-writingactivities and conversations led to stimulating six word stories. Together, the
Six-Word Memoirs add to the constellation of narratives that relate a personal, yet collective account about Jewish life in Pittsburgh today.

Ours is a community made up of Jews representing the entire Jewish spectrum. We may see ourselves in some memoirs and appreciate the plucky humor of others. Some may challenge our individual values that stimulate discussion, test our tolerance, conjure old memories or make us laugh. Seen together, the memoirs narrate the multiple ways we express, define, interpret, and celebrate our Jewish beliefs.

SMITH Magazine launched this literary genre in 2006. It called these succinct life stories “Six-Word Memoirs,” a reinvention of the form that, according to literary lore, Ernest Hemmingway engaged in after his colleagues challenged him to write a story in six words. Hemingway wrote: “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”

Over the last eight years the Six-Word Memoir project has taken on a life of its own. It has become a bestselling book series, board game and a popular teaching tool used across the world to help foster self-expression.

Visit for resources about devising your own memoir-writing project.

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