This past Thursday December 8th, the Center for Jewish History was the venue for the Jewish Daily Forward‘s Annual Holiday Party for its staff and associates. Kim Amzallag, Advertising Director of the Forward – graciously invited SYR and I to meet the JDF family.
It was delightful to spend an evening among such an eclectic group of people spanning the full spectrum of religious and political positions. What made the night so special was the collective passion and commitment of the weekly publication’s staff and contributors to remain at the peak of journalistic excellence. It was touching to hear so many political journalists, editors, writers on music, the arts and Jewish culture, chatting it up in Yiddish, in true mameloshen, clearly dispelling the myth that Yiddish is dead.
Dr. Wisse, of Y.U.M, introduced the evening’s program which consisted of a panel discussion with four of the women artists represented in the museum’s Graphical Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women an exhibit co-sponsored by the Jewish Daily Forwards
Next on the podium was Sam Norich , Publisher and Executive Director of the Forward Newspaper. He is a past Executive Director at YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.
The Museum’s curator, Zachary Paul Levin…
… introduced the Graphic Details‘ creator, Michael Kaminer, and the panel of women comics artists. Michael writes on travel and other subjects for New York’s leading newspapers, his interest in creating this exhibit came from his own fascination and extensive collection of comics.
Various questions were asked the panelists, in response to the query whether the writing or the drawing was hardest, the answer that best summed up the effort involved came from Diane Noomin that “each balloon is like a haiku and therefore harder to perfect. ” To underline the growing importance of this genre – as American literature – Lasko-Gross said that seeing the pages “behind glass, commands respect.”
The Forward began publication in 1897; when my family moved to the US from Uruguay, in 1962, my parents – whose English was weak – joined thousands of other Jewish households in a daily reading ritual of the newspaper. The news, the editorials, the serialized novels, were relevant subjects of discussion with their friends. The evening’s program clearly showed the publication still holds its finger firmly on the cultural pulse of Jewish life in America. Its political writing and commentary are now more thought provoking, even more germane to current realities. It was was an evening filled with information and great conversation.