FELLOWS APPLICATION FOR THE 2012-2013 HOUSE OF STUDY
LABA: House of Study is a non-religious beit midrash for culture-makers located at the 14th Street Y in New York City. Every year a group of around 10 fellows – a mix of artists, writers, dancers, musicians, actors, and others – partake in a yearlong study of classical Jewish texts centered around a theme, and then interpret these texts in new work featured in our annual year-end festival and monthly online journal.
A central focus of LABA is to present Judaism's rich literary and intellectual traditions in an inclusive setting, so that these texts and ideas may serve as inspiration for the fellows' thought and art while also animating the wider experience of the many thousands of New Yorkers engaged with the Y on a regular basis.
The theme of LABA 2012-2013 is EAT. Eating is one of the most natural and elemental activities we do. We simply need food to survive. Nevertheless, humans have turned eating into one of the most social and symbolic activities in which we partake. The saying “you are what you eat,” goes much deeper than parents trying to get their kids to eat vegetables. It also hits upon the layers of ethics, fantasy, and aesthetics that humans have applied to this basic biological need.
This year we will explore the role eating plays in classical Jewish texts, including the Bible, Talmud, and a range of other rabbinic materials. We will examine food as a political and economic commodity, religious symbol, weapon of war, ethical statement, source of beauty, and more.
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 ten spread out from September 2012- June 2013. The sessions will take place Monday evenings. Fellows will be required to make one contribution to our online journal, and to participate in the year-end festival. More information on both the journal and the festival can be found on this website.
The LABA team will work with each fellow to discuss their work for the journal and the festival, and encourages creativity and ingenuity on behalf of the fellow. In short, we look forward to hearing project ideas from the fellows and do all we can to help implement their projects. Please note, you should not include a proposal for a project in the application. Instead, this project is something that should develop over the course of the year in response to the study sessions.
Fellows will receive an $1800 stipend for their participation in LABA. There is also additional financial support available for festival specific projects as well as occasional opportunities to lead workshops and other community activities at the 14th Street Y, for which fellows will be compensated.
Please answer these questions and send them back in the body of an email to email@example.com by July 31, 2012. Put your name and “application” in the subject line.
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. What interests you about LABA and studying Jewish texts?
3. What is your experience with studying Jewish texts?
4. What do you hope to gain from LABA?
5. How did you hear about LABA? (If applicable, please let us know if you were recommended by a previous fellow.)
6. What is your favorite food or dish?