Free Evening, Part of “MFA for the Holidays,” Includes Art Making, Tours of the MFA’s Judaica Collection, and a Virtual Reality Art Installation

BOSTON, MA (November 19, 2015)—The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), celebrates Hanukkah with a slate of free activities on Wednesday, December 9, 2015, from 5 to 9:45 pm (when Museum admission is free). To mark this special event, the MFA will welcome Rabbi Elaine Zecher of Boston’s Temple Israel and Yehuda Yaakov, Consul General of Israel to New England for a symbolic community candle lighting of a large-scale, one-of-a-kind menorah by Boston artist Hilary Zelson. Other activities will include tours and talks on the Museum’s collection of Judaica, film screenings, musical performances and art-making activities. “Between Lands”—a special audio/visual art installation based on themes related to the menorah—will allow visitors to interact with one another using virtual reality, illuminating beacons of light and forming a giant, abstract menorah. Visitors can follow the hashtags #mfaHolidays, #Hanukkah, and #8nights8windows on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on the evening’s activities. Hanukkah at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is presented in partnership with the New Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston (CJP), and in collaboration with the Boston Jewish Music Festival (BJMF) and the Boston Jewish Film Festival (BJFF). Support provided by the Consulate General of Israel to New England.

Throughout the evening, Spotlight Talks will explore the Museum’s collection 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. Four 15-minute talks in the Museum’s American and European galleries will examine a selection of these decorative and ritual objects, demonstrating the continuity of Jewish traditions over hundreds of years. In addition to the talks, Marietta Cambareri, Jetskalina H. Phillips Curator of Judaica and Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Art of Europe, will give a lecture on the Museum’s collection.

As part of the celebration, the MFA will screen “The Light in Darkness,” a selection of films from the Boston Jewish Film Festival. Played on a continuous loop, the short films are curated around the theme of finding humor in dark moments. Additionally, a multitude of musical ensembles presented by the Boston Jewish Music Festival will enliven the galleries throughout the evening with performances by the Klezwoods, Peri Smilow, Cantor Peter Halpern and Two-Shekel Swing.

Visitors can drop in on family art-making activities between 5-9 pm, and are also invited to tweet original poems inspired by community, art and culture with Emily Jaeger, co-editor and co-founder of the Window Cat micro-press, a zine and tumblr for young, emerging artists. Also on view during Hanukkah, and throughout the Museum’s festive “MFA for the Holidays” season of art ,music and dining, is the landmark exhibition Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer.

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) and Diwali (the South Asian ‘Festival of Lights’).

SCHEDULE OF HANUKKAH EVENTS

All activities are free (Museum admission is by voluntary contribution Wednesdays after 4 pm)

SPECIAL EVENTS

Welcome and Community Candle Lighting

6:30 pm, Shapiro Family Courtyard

Join Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director, for welcome remarks, followed by a community candle lighting led by Rabbi Elaine Zecher of Temple Israel. Yehuda Yaakov, Consul General of Israel to New England; Barry Shrage, President, CJP; Lis Tarlow, Chair, MFA Board of Trustees; Laura Conrad Mandel, Executive Director, New Center; and Howard Cohen, Board Chair, New Center will offer a community blessing and illuminate a large-scale, one-of-a-kind menorah by Boston artist Hilary Zelson.

Virtual Reality Experience: “Between Lands”

5, 5:30, 6, 6:30, 7, 7:30, 8, 8:30 and 9 pm, Trustees Room, Art of the Americas Wing, Level 3

Experience this audio/visual art installation blurring the line between our physical and digital lives. Using virtual reality technology, the piece experiments with new forms of social interaction. Participants communicate between two separate realities to illuminate beacons of light, forming a giant abstract menorah. Use #8nightsVR to share your experience.

Free VR tickets are available at the ‘New Center’ table in Shapiro Family Courtyard starting at 4:30 pm. First come, first served; limited availability. Ticket required for entry.

Selections from the Boston Jewish Film Festival: The Light in Darkness

5, 6:30, and 8:30 pm, Remis Auditorium

Drop by to watch a selection of short films from the Boston Jewish Film Festival curated around the theme of finding the humor in dark moments. Screenings include 7 Day Gig directed by Kate Marks (USA, 2013, 10 min); What Cheer? directed by Michael Slavens (USA, 2014, 18 min); and Welcome… and Our Condolences directed by Leonid Prudovsky (Israel, 2012, 28 min). Run time: 56 minutes.

Free film tickets are available at Remis Auditorium Box Office starting one hour before show times. First come, first served; limited availability. Free film ticket required for entry.

Twitter Poetry

6-9pm, Shapiro Family Courtyard

Get social with Emily Jaeger, co-editor and co-founder of the Window Cat micro-press, a zine and tumblr for young, emerging artists, and Tweet original poems inspired by the wealth of community, art, and culture around you.

MUSIC

Jazz with Two-Shekel Swing

6-8:30 pm, Gallery 265

Channeling jazz legends Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt, Israeli violinist, Yoni Battat and guitarist Adam Shapiro present Hanukkah tunes, re-imagined with their own gypsy flavor. Klezwoods 7, 7:45, and 8:30 pm, Shapiro Family Courtyard Join the Klezwoods, a unique musical mish-mash of klezmer, Balkan, gypsy, and rock‘n’roll. Performances are 30 minutes each.

Cantor Peter Halpern with Pianist Victor Cayres

7, 7:40, and 8:20 pm, Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Rotunda

Temple Shalom of Newton’s cantor, Peter Halpern, will share some of his favorite Hebrew, Yiddish and Ladino songs in this creative “Songs of Light” program. Performances are 20 minutes each.

Peri Smilow

7:20, 8 and 8:20 pm, Koch Gallery, 250

A musician and ardent human rights activist, Peri Smilow’s music is a perfect match to Hanukkah’s theme of freedom. Performances are 20 minutes each.

ART-MAKING ACTIVITIES

Dreidels

5-9pm, Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion, Room 159

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel… Create your own clay dreidel with local artist Tova Speter, founder of The MEM Project.

Menorah Making

5-9pm, Shapiro Family Courtyard

Visit Hilary Zelson’s large-scale menorah for inspiration as you celebrate the light of Hanukah and create your own menorah.

Symbols in Judaism

5-9 pm, Edward H. Linde Gallery, 168

The lion is a popular symbol in Jewish arts and culture. Using an array of materials, collage your own lion masterpiece.

TOURS AND TALKS

Lecture: Judaica at the MFA

7:30 pm-8:15 pm, Alfond Auditorium

Marietta Cambareri, Jetskalina H. Phillips Curator of Judaica and Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Art of Europe, offers a 45-minute lecture focusing on the MFA’s collection of Judaica.

Free lecture tickets are available at Alfond Auditorium ticket desk starting at 6:30 pm. First come, first served; limited availability. Free lecture ticket required for entry.

Spotlight Talks: Judaica

6, 7, 7:30 and 8 pm, Galleries 127 and 328 (Art of the Americas), and Galleries 142 and 252 (Art of Europe)

Drop-in educational talks focus on works of art in the MFA’s collection of Judaica. Visit any of the galleries listed, at any of the times listed for one of these 15-minute talks.

DINING OPTIONS

Taste Café and Wine Bar

Open until 9 pm, Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art

Coffee, espresso, tea and wine, as well as sandwiches, salads and festive Jewish treats.

Garden Cafeteria

Open until 8 pm, Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art

Perfect for families: a comfortable cafeteria offering a salad bar, pizza, sandwiches, soups, snacks and desserts.

New American Café

Open until 8 pm, Shapiro Family Courtyard

Tableside service. Choose from a wide selection of hot and cold small plates, entrées, and salads. Bravo 5:30–8:30 pm, Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Seasonally inspired, artfully prepared cuisine and impeccable service enhance this sophisticated dining experience. Bravo accepts reservations at Opentable or by calling 617-369-3474. After 5 pm, Bravo dinner guests recieve complimentary parking in the MFA’s garage 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

8 Nights, 8 Windows

December 6 – 14, 2015

Explore eight works of art that bring the miracle, illumination, and innovation of Hanukkah to eight windows throughout Boston for the duration of Hanukkah 2015. A preview of the Jewish Arts Collaborative (a project of the New Center for Arts and Culture, the Boston Jewish Film Festival, and the Boston Jewish Music Festival) and CJP (Combined Jewish Philanthropies). Visit 8nights8windows.com for details.

Drawing in the Galleries made possible by the Lowell Institute.

Spotlight Talks supported by the Wallace Foundation.

Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer is presented with generous support from the Committee of Honor and the Robert Lehman Foundation. Additional support provided by the Netherland-America Foundation and an anonymous foundation. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Media Sponsor is WCVB Boston. Generous support for this publication was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Publications Fund

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, Oceania, and Africa; Art of the Ancient World; Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 am–4:45 pm; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 am–9:45 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 on weekdays after 3 pm, weekends, and Boston Public Schools holidays; otherwise $10. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25). MFA Members are always admitted 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. For more information, visit mfa.org or call 617.267.9300. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.

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.

New Center

The New Center for Arts and Culture explores the Jewish imagination and spirit, presenting performances, art, and interactive experiences in venues throughout the Greater Boston area. Our programs explore the richness and diversity of contemporary Jewish culture that also reflects universal themes through a Jewish lens. For more information please visit www.newcenterboston.org.

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