Free Evening Includes Music, Art Making, Tours of Judaica and Large-Scale Menorah Installation

BOSTON (November 16, 2017)—The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), celebrates Hanukkah with a free evening of events and activities on Wednesday, December 13. The event kicks off at 4:30 pm and includes an array of musical performances, tours and activities, all in the spirit of the Jewish festival of lights. The MFA again partners with the Jewish Arts Collaborative (JArts) and Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) to bring Hanukkah to life. The celebration, the largest community Hanukkah gathering in Boston, now in its fourth year, includes welcome remarks from Matthew Teitelbaum, the MFA’s Ann and Graham Gund Director, followed by community blessings by Rabbi Jillian Cameron, Director of InterFaith Family/Boston and Laura Conrad Mandel, Executive Director of JArts. Yehuda Yaakov, Consul General of Israel to New England, and Neil Wallack, Chair of the CJP Board, will then illuminate a one-of-a-kind menorah, made by a local artist, to mark the second night of Hanukkah. Hanukkah at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is presented in partnership with the Jewish Arts Collaborative (JArts) and Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston (CJP). Supported by an anonymous donor.

The larger-than-life menorah installation, titled Ziv (meaning “splendor” in Hebrew), was created this year for the event by Somerville-based artist Ariel Basson Freiberg and celebrates the miracle and traditions of Hanukkah. Ziv evokes designs from ancient ceramic oil lamps, highlighting the earthly, yet supernatural miracle of one day’s quantity of oil lasting eight full days. James McClurkin, from CNC Furniture Factory, assisted with the menorah’s fabrication. Other highlights from the event include three 15-minute talks with award-winning artist Cynthia Eid about her creative work as a jeweler and silversmith and the MFA’s recent acquisition of her Miriam’s Cup. A ritual object placed on the Passover Seder table, the Miriam’s Cup is intended to hold water in celebration of Miriam, a prophetess and leader of the Israelites, and serves as recognition to the importance of women in Judaism.

Music enlivens the galleries throughout the evening with performances by the acoustic duo Book of J, consisting of musicians Jewlia Eisenberg and Jeremiah Lockwood, two of the West Coast’s most thoughtful and talented creators of innovative Jewish music. Ilene Stahl, clarinetist for the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and her ensemble of local music all-stars– Klezperanto—will also perform—re-grooving traditional klezmer and Mediterranean melodies, ripping up Romanian surf tunes, covering cop show themes and cumbias, and burnishing it all to a funky finish. Additionally, Rabbi Dan Judson, champion of MOTH—a local open-mic storytelling competition—will weave his magic into the evening as he wanders around the Museum.

Throughout the evening, Spotlight Talks explore the Museum’s holdings of Judaica, including works from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Collection, which represents one of the largest and most varied Judaica collections in a major American museum. Fifteen-minute talks in the Museum’s American and European galleries examine a selection of these decorative and ritual objects, as well as works of art with intriguing stories related to the immigration and assimilation of Jews in the U.S. At 7 pm, Patrick McCarthy will lead an American Sign Language Tour exploring works of Judaica.

Families can drop in on art-making activities, creating festive lanterns and ink monoprints of menorah designs; participate in a scavenger hunt led by local artist Tova Speter, featuring art in the galleries that connects to themes of Hanukkah; or join The Vilna Shul for face painting. Additionally, beginning at 4:30 pm, PJ Library presents Hanukkah song performances led by song leader, educator and producer Stephen Brickman, founder of the Sing-Together Project. Award-winning Ladino musician and athor Sarah Aroeste will also read her bilingual illustrated children’s book Ora de Despertar (Time to Wake Up) and perform songs from her album of the same name.

Also on view during Hanukkah, and throughout the Museum’s festive “MFA for the Holidays” season of art, music and dining are the exhibitions Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics, A Collaboration with Nobuo Tsuji and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and (un)expected families, as well as the new Daily Life in Ancient Greece gallery.

Hanukkah is one of a series of cultural celebrations held at the MFA annually, along with Lunar New Year (the start of a new calendar year in parts of Asia), Nowruz (Persian New Year), Juneteenth (commemorating the end of slavery in the United States), Diwali (the South Asian ‘Festival of Lights’) and ASL Night (a celebration of Deaf culture).

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, representing all cultures and time periods. The Museum has more than 140 galleries displaying its encyclopedic collection, which includes Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia; Art of Africa and Oceania; Art of the Ancient World; Prints and Drawings; Photography; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 am–5 pm; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 am–10 pm. Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25), while five Open Houses offer the opportunity to visit the Museum for free. The Museum’s mobile MFA Guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. For more information, call 617.267.9300, visit mfa.org or follow the MFA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

CJP

CJP, Greater Boston’s Jewish Federation, brings together the people, partners and resources to fulfill the most important needs and aspirations of our community. Rooted in compassion and justice and driven by innovation, we care for the vulnerable, forge strong connections with Israel and above all, inspire the next generation to embrace Jewish life and learning. For more information please visit www.cjp.org.

Jewish Arts Collaborative

The Jewish Arts Collaborative explores and presents the rich, diverse, and creative world of Jewish arts and culture—past, present, and future—to the widest possible audience, in venues large and small across Greater Boston. Through a broad range of programming spanning the traditional to the innovative, we present the finest local, national, and international talent creating artistic work with a distinctive Jewish voice. Visit JArtsboston.org. for more information.

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