Sometimes, I’ll admit it’s rare, there’s an event in Brooklyn that peaks my interest.
In Brooklyn, Reconnecting to the Jewish Origins of Comic Books:
Congregation Kol Israel in Crown Heights is the site of a conference dubbed by its organizers as ‘a love letter to the creators of the comic book medium and their heroes,’ many of whom were Jewish.
More than a dozen comic book artists will converge at Congregation Kol Israel in Crown Heights on Sunday, Nov. 13 to present and discuss their work at the first ever Jewish Comic Con. But the event isn’t exclusively for Jews — gentiles are most welcome to come and learn about the Semitic roots of the graphic literary medium, according to organizer.
“I’m not interested in doing a Jew-centric comic con,” said comic book artist and convention organizer Fabrice Sapolsky. “This industry was created by Jews for everyone, and we have to keep that message alive.”
Fifteen contemporary Jewish comic artists — including “The Red Hook” creator and Carroll Gardens resident Dean Haspieland veteran New York cartoonist Mort Gerberg — will appear at the St. John’s Place synagogue.
Many of the attending artists are practicing Jews, though some say they can’t tell their mezuzahs from their menorahs.
“I’m Jewish with a side of bacon,” said Josh Neufeld, who’s best known for his work of graphic journalism “AD: New Orleans After the Deluge.”
Convention patrons will be able to chat with artists and purchase books on Kol Israel’s upper floor, before shuffling downstairs for panels that deal with a number of mainstream topics given a Jewish twist, said Sapolsky.
“It was very important for me to keep it mainstream, because that’s what people read,” Sapolsky said. “We have a panel on the Batman universe, called ‘The Jewishness of Batman,’ whose creator, Bob Kane, was Jewish.”
Co-players are encouraged to attend the event dressed as their favorite hero or heroine, although they should be careful of showing too much skin at the con, which is, after all, being hosted by a house of worship.
“Do not try to come dressed as Conan or Witchblade, we’d be very sad but we couldn’t let you in,” the event website reads, referencing two particularly scantily-clad characters.
Many of the artists were skeptical of the event before signing on, according to Sapolsky, but that just goes to show the lack of recognition of Jews for their role in pioneering the industry and its legions of spandex-clad superheroes — including Superman, Batman, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk, among many, many others — he said.
“At first I got some strange reactions, like ‘is there a Comic Con for religion now?’ ” he said. “And I said ‘you don’t get it. Ninety percent of the people who started the industry were Jewish.’ ”
Congregation Kol Israel [603 St. Johns Pl. between Classon and Franklin avenues in Crown Heights, (718) 638–6583, www.jewishcomiccon.org] Nov. 13. Passes begin at $15.
Updated 10:00 am, October 14, 2016: Updated because this synagogue is just out of Prospect Heights and technically in Crown Heights.
Last Thursday Night – All these ladies baked Challah together in Honor of the Shabas Project!
https://www.facebook.com/EmekLearningCenter/ watch the video
Last year, organizers of the movement estimated than one million people participated in the Shabbat Project.
A Convention Dealing With the Challenges, Complexities, and Characteristics of Mixed Cities in Israel Will Take Place in Mishkenot Sha’ananim from Tuesday to Thursday, November 15-17. ההרשמה עכשיו! זה כאן — http://mixedcity.org.il
The term “Mixed Cities”, I guess will be thrashed out at the several planned meetings. I assume it refers to Jews and Arabs. I plan to attend and practice my Arabic:
15.11 – Opening night
Opening Night – Poetry Slam and Music – from 7:30 p.m
17.11 – Afternoon Session
Studying in a mixed city, Film-making in mixed cities – till 6:30 p.m
17.11 – Closing Festivities
Performance art and music at the Museum of Islam
The convention, which was initiated by the Jerusalem Fund and The Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace, will take place over three days (Tuesday-Thursday, November 15-17) at the Convention Center in Mishkenot Sha’ananim. Academics will take part alongside heads of non-profits and other organizations, experts in the fields of formal and informal education, community members, and researchers.
The convention will kick-off on Tuesday evening with an event with young Poetry Slam poets and young musicians from the “Marrakesh Express” band.
The academic portion of the convention will begin on Wednesday (11/16) with a panel dealing with challenges and obstacles for disconnected youth among minorities in Jerusalem, after which a panel will take place dealing with multicultural education. The first part of the day will come to a close with Professor Rafael Cohen Almagor from the University of Hull (UK), a researcher on the subject of multiculturalism with an emphasis on freedom of expression and the measurement of tolerance on social networks.
The afternoon session will be dedicated to school principals and the examination of educational programs currently in Jerusalem on the subject of coexistence between Jews and Arabs. The evening session, which will bring the first day of discussion to a close, will be dedicated to football clubs run by their fans and representing very special cooperation between supporters from different ethnic backgrounds and clubs. Among the participants in this panel will be club managers of Hapoel Katamon, considered one of the leading clubs owned by its fans in Israel, the Silwan Basketball Team, and representatives from Beitar Nordia.
Thursday (11/17) will begin with a panel dealing with the sense of community in mixed cities and in special programs offered by informal education for children and youth. Followed by a special panel dedicated to the French Hill (Givah HaTzarfatit) neighborhood, which represents an exciting test case as a neighborhood on the Jerusalem seam that is dealing with the consequences of its geographic proximity between Jews and Arabs.
On that day there will also be a meeting between representatives from Israel, Germany, and Istanbul working in civic organizations supporting children and youth from refugee families. The afternoon panel will deal with the Mount Scopus campus as a model for academic activity between different ethnic groups. The evening session, which will bring the convention to a close, will be on theater in mixed cities, and will discuss the question of movies dealing with multiculturalism and national struggles—reflecting or creating reality.
“The choice of subject for the convention was made from a desire to break the boundaries of existing thought, to examine creative solutions to present problems and to examine the future, which holds within it opportunities, challenges, and dangers. In addition, we will strive to offer directions and ideas on how we can possibly make these cities friendlier and more supportive of their young residents,” explains Dr. Uki Maroshek-Klarman, the Academic Director of the Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace.
Dr. Udi Spiegel, the educational program and coexistence director at the Jerusalem Fund, sees special importance in the existence of the convention during this period in Jerusalem. “The convention offers an examination of the educational activity and a view of the benefits of a city like Jerusalem for change and the differences between various cultural groups living in it. Those who love Jerusalem of today must speak about the ways in which Jews and Arabs, secular and Haredi, will be able to live together and cooperatively progress a tolerant and modern way of life,” Dr. Udi Spiegel says.
As stated, over the course of the convention a variety of subjects related to life today and in the future in mixed cities will be presented. Every panel will be composed of representatives of theory and practice, and from national, ethnic, and gendered groups.
Details on the conference website, (see above) facebook, and by phone: 02-6448290.