Tent 2014: Encounters with Jewish Culture

Tent-Wordmark-Tagline_CMYKTent: Encounters with Jewish Culture is partnering with some of the most dynamic cultural organizations in the country to offer ten new week-long workshops in 2014: the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University (Tent: Comics), the Skirball Cultural Center (Tent: Food LA), the Norman Lear Center (Tent: Pop Music), the Yiddish Book Center (Tent: Creative Writing), Tablet magazine (Tent: Journalism), the Jewish Museum (Tent: Museums), the Center for Jewish History (Tent: Food NYC), the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (Tent: The South), A Bit Off the Top/Federation CJA (Tent: Fashion), and Silverlake Independent JCC (Tent: Comedy).

Tent, a series of one-week seminars for twenty-somethings, provides participants with the opportunity to explore aspects of modern culture through a Jewish lens and to delve into the vast, complex, and immediately relevant cultural side of their identity.

“Jews have long been engaged in realizing their creative expression in all aspects of modern culture:  literature, music, theater, comedy, journalism, film, food, and so much more. “Tent is big enough to encompass it all, to amaze, challenge and inspire the next generation,” says Aaron Lansky, founder and president of the Yiddish Book Center.

According to Tent’s program director Josh Lambert, “Tent programs are designed to help young artists, creative professionals, and cultural enthusiasts discover that much of what they find exciting in contemporary American culture—from stand-up comedy to serious literature, from pop music and theater to photography, film, law, and cuisine— finds its roots in Jewish history. In doing so, Tent offers young North Americans a new way of seeing Jewishness: as something deep, rich, alive, and inseparable from the cultural forms and practices to which they are already committed.”

13154_071In each of these seminars, 20 participants, aged 21-30, enrich their connection to a practice, medium, genre, profession, or set of issues, while also deepening their understanding of the connection between Jewishness and modern culture. They watch great performances, learn from masters in workshops and experiential sessions, eat and drink well, meet contemporary leaders in their field, find new collaborators, and join a community.

Following each of the workshops, Tent alumni take part in Tent: The List—an ongoing virtual conversation about Jewishness and contemporary popular culture. Alumni are eligible for Tent: DIY Grants. These grants provide funding to present stand-alone programs in the alumni’s local communities. A DIY program can take the form of a one-off workshop, an evening of Jew-y trivia at a local bar, a pop-up restaurant—the more collaborative and social the better. The idea is to bring the Tent experience to a larger audience, to the expand the conversation, and to provide the opportunity for others to engage with aspects of contemporary Jewish culture.

Information and applications for Tent 2014 are available on the website. Twenty applicants will be accepted for each of the seminars, which are offered free to accepted participants; lodging, most meals, tickets to shows, and much more are provided (participants are responsible for the cost of transportation to the host city). Deadlines are approaching so apply now at www.tentsite.org. Tent is a program of the Yiddish Book Center.

ABOUT: The Yiddish Book Center is a non-profit organization working to tell the whole Jewish story by rescuing, translating, and disseminating Yiddish books and presenting innovative educational programs that broaden understanding of modern Jewish identity.