Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

DAWN 2010 Celebrates Shavuot

At the mystical intersection of Judaism and science

Print Email
Novelist Gary Shteyngart and editor-in-chief Alana Newhouse at DAWN 2010.(All photos by Dan Coplan)

Moses among the penguins, rabbis beside the swamp! DAWN 2010, the late-night Shavuot arts festival that Tablet Magazine cosponsored (along with Reboot) Saturday night at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, was full of surprising juxtapositions of Jews and fauna. (For all photos, check our our Facebook album.)

One of the first of the evening’s dozens of events was the world’s second performance of Everything’s Coming Up Moses, which tells the story of the Exodus in under an hour—with inspiration from the music of Gypsy. The musical, premiered by Tablet Magazine in New York this Passover and written by contributing editor Rachel Shukert, was, naturally, performed in the African Hall beneath a taxidermied leopard that was hanging out in a tree overhead. (The very-much-alive penguins strutted at the other end of the hall.)

Amelia Klein

Back in the main atrium (no animals immediately in sight), Gary Shteyngart chatted with editor-in-chief Alana Newhouse and shared excerpts from his forthcoming novel, Super Sad True Love Story. (See main picture.) He was followed by an interview (that quickly turned into a performance) with comedian Sandra Bernhard, who spoke with fellow outré Jewish performer Amichai Lau-Lavie about being both an earnest devotee of kaballah and a hilariously cynical sometime-member of Chabad and the Kabbalah Center. Bernhard, it turns out, is also a longtime Shavuot fan: She first celebrated the holiday Israeli-style on a kibbutz, then became interested in its kabbalistic interpretation, which holds that Shavuot—coming up this evening—offers access to the Ten Utterances, and potentially to immortality.

Sandra Bernhard

Another highlight was Tablet columnist Eddy Portnoy’s disquisition on the 19th-century pseudoscientific field of nasology, which held that a person’s character traits can be determined through the size and shape of his or her nose. (The Jewish nose, of course, was classified as the “commercial” nose, indicating, as Portnoy put it, “strong mercantile acumen.”)

Eddy Portnoy and Gary Shteyngart

No science museum, of course, is complete without its planetarium, which at DAWN became the screening room for video installations from Israel as well as Maurice at the World’s Fair, a Spike Jonze tribute to Maurice Sendak. But the planetarium was at its trippy best during one of the last events of the evening, Tablet Magazine contributing editor Rodger Kamenetz’s introduction to the cosmology of kabbalah—in the form of an astronomy show. Kabbalah, Kamenetz explained, is uniquely suited within religious mythology to helping us conceptualize the fact that we live in a constantly expanding universe—like the Big Bang theory, kabbalah holds that the universe began as a single point of energy (what physicists call “singularity”) and moves ever outward.

With stars still flashing before our eyes, we went to bed. Shavuot hasn’t even started yet, and there’s a lot more staying up to do.

Print Email
Rachel says:

Hi. It’s Rachel. I had such a great time at Dawn, and so excited about this write-up, but that picture is not of me! It’s actually Amelia Klein, one of the organizers of the festival. She really does look a lot like me though. : )

Many thanks for your time to have put these things together on this blog. Mary and that i very much appreciated your suggestions through your articles over certain things. I realize that you have many demands on your schedule so the fact that a person like you took as much time like you did to guide people really like us by way of this article is definitely highly liked.

I’ve said that least 2654526 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

I’ve said that least 1346982 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

been following your weblog for 3 days now and i should say i’m starting to like your publish. and now how do i subscribe to your blog?

You really make it appear really easy together with your presentation but I to find this topic to be actually one thing that I think I’d by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and extremely huge for me. I’m looking forward to your next put up, I’ll attempt to get the cling of it!

Wonderful work! This is the type of info that should be shared around the net. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher! Come on over and visit my web site . Thanks =)

A truly very good submit by you my friend. We have bookmarked this page and will are available back following several days to examine for any new posts that you just make.

After study a couple of of the weblog posts in your website now, and I truly like your means of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site record and might be checking again soon. Pls try my website as effectively and let me know what you think.

Discover above trim inches away speedily, drop many flab, and therefore get rid of 10 pounds in as small as a few days and then look at this internet page.

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

DAWN 2010 Celebrates Shavuot

At the mystical intersection of Judaism and science

More on Tablet:

New Report Shows Britain Not Immune To Anti-Semitism

By Liam Hoare — Faring better than Europe, but with clouds on the horizon