Focus on the people, not only on the violence they are subjected to…


Jewish Nightlife #Unfinal Performance | Facebook Event

Check out our #Unfinal class presentation (Thursday, December 18, 5 PM, at The Magnes) on Facebook!

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The Night of Kabbalah, or, When Reality Matches the Classroom


My friend and colleague, author Ruth Ellen Gruber, posted today on her Facebook feed about how the European Day of Jewish Culture is being celebrated in Italy this weekend. The Europe-wide celebration, which is now well into its second decade, draws crowds to Jewish sites, and takes place each year in the beginning of September.

In Rome, a panoply of events — ranging from site visits, to food, lectures, and, of course, musical performance — are being advertised under a general title that is particularly revealing of the nature of Jewish nightlife we have been exploring in class: The Night of Kabbalah.

It’s not clear how much mysticism is actually involved in this “night.” But all the elements we have been dissecting thus far seem quite present: a nod to Jewish exoteric knowledge, ritual, music, inter-cultural exchanges, and, of course, the night. Most events take place at dark, and have been drawing a crowd of 20,000, mostly non-Jewish, synagogue-goers.

Who knew…