SERVING THE LOS ANGELES METROPOLITAN  AREA, AND BEYOND                           

               12-18 Cheshvan 5782                                          Oct. 18-24, 2021 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES--659th Web Ed.


                                                                                               


CLA OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS LAUNCH PILOT PROGRAM

GRANTS FOR L.A. ARTISTS


By EMMA HABER


LOS ANGELES – The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) is pleased to announce a pilot cycle of its Neighborhood Engagement Artist Residency Grant Program (NEAR), formerly the Artist in Residence Grant Program (AIR), and launch of a new Creative Opportunities-Optimizing Promise Grant Program (CO-OP) to foster creative collaborations at social justice organizations. “Both DCA grant programs honor and support an individual teaching-artist who acts as a project-leader to design and manage a series of community-relevant workshops culminating in a free public presentation,” said Danielle Brazell, DCA’s General Manager. “DCA also announces a new and revised City of Los Angeles Individual Master Artist Project Grant Program (COLA-IMAP) giving independent avant-garde artists the opportunity to create new works to be premiered by the City of Los Angeles in one or more group presentations.”

Applicants to this program should be mid-career master artists with a professional history of solo works. Master artists who work in groups, engage communities in their practice/projects, or make site specific work should apply to the NEAR program rather than COLA-IMAP which aims to support solo artists. Master artists who maintain both a solo studio-practice as well as a group-practice may apply to both NEAR and COLA-IMAP with category-specific proposals.

NEAR GRANT PROGRAM

NEAR supports freelance teaching-artists, social-activation artists, and social practice artists in providing community-based, participatory projects in self-selected non-arts venues within the City of Los Angeles. Competitive NEAR projects will gather, connect, and inspire participants and audiences who have little exposure to the proposed type of cultural opportunity. NEAR residencies can be five sessions ending in one public presentation or eleven sessions ending in one public presentation. The majority will take place within non-art nonprofit agencies, although projects in non-arts, for-profit business can also be eligible if these partner/host venues are appropriate and accessible to the general community. NEAR applicants that propose 11 workshops as the ideal duration for their community engagement, should also be prepared to scale-back to 5 workshops (DCA staff will notify NEAR applicants next May about whether the City budget provided for either a $12,000 or $6,000 contract).

For Fiscal Year 2022-23, DCA will continue to support NEAR projects in all districts of the City of Los Angeles. Returning applicants can expect the NEAR program concept, funding structure, and application requirements to remain the same from what was previously referred to as the Artist in Residence Grant Program (AIR).

NEAR Eligibility

For a NEAR residency - applicant teaching-artists (or collaborative duos/teams/ensembles under the leadership of a single applicant) must be freelance entrepreneurs with community-based practices that have been largely self-developed and remain primarily self-directed; NEAR applicants will propose a residency involving a relationship with one (1) non-arts host organization, to take place at the same host organization’s location (or online if safer); and Propose feasible projects that can be consistently attended by approximately 20 individuals.

CO-OP GRANT PROGRAM

New for this cycle is DCA’s invitation for CO-OP projects in all of the city’s council districts, with a special emphasis on expanding the projects which DCA supported with NEA funding in social justice organizations based in the federally registered South LA Promise Zone (Council Districts 8, 9, 10, and 15, south of the 10 freeway and north of 228th Street). In contrast to NEAR projects, a CO-OP proposal should be submitted by a nonprofit social justice organization who seeks to employ a freelance teaching artist, or by a nonprofit arts organization who seeks to expand an already-employed teaching-artist’s responsibilities to serve a social justice organization.

CO-OP will support collaborations between any nonprofit social justice organization and a specific teaching-artist (a freelance artist or an artist already working within a nonprofit arts organization in the same community as the social justice organization). In some cases, a third partner, acting as a host site for the project may also be named. In the case of a freelance artist being enrolled to lead a new project at a social justice organization, the nonprofit social justice organization should be the applicant. In the case of a social justice nonprofit and a lead artist from an arts nonprofit working together on a new partnership, either nonprofit can be the applicant (depending on which organization will act as employer of the teaching-artist).

Eligible collaborative-projects should be: 1) new or launched within the past four years, 2) free or low cost for participants, and 3) culminate in at least one free public presentation that will be accessible to the general community (both in-person and on-line presentations are eligible conclusions for a CO-OP grant). CO-OP residences should be 11 sessions ending in one public presentation. CO-OP residencies are funded at $15,000 with $12,000 allocated for artist payment and $3,000 allocated for the social justice organization’s administrative expenses.  Proposals for CO-OP that are given a “fundable score” of higher than 75 out of 100 points, but unable to be fully funded at $15,000, may be converted to a NEAR project of 5 workshops and one culminating event with a budget of $6,000 (DCA staff will notify CO-OP applicants next May about whether they will be provided with either a $15,000 or $6,000 contract).

Depending upon its budget for Fiscal Year 2022-23, DCA aims to support approximately 15 to 22 residences at either $6,000 or $12,000 (ideally one for each of the city’s 15 Council districts) and an additional 10 to 15 CO-OP residencies at $15,000 each.

DCA defines a social justice organization as any social service nonprofit organization that has a board-approved and publically printed/repeated mission statement that names a primary “cause for equality” (which can be: cultural, economic, environmental, immigration, healthcare, or housing based); as well as a history of both advocacy to rebalance public policies, and community-based programs to address the same historic/current inequity. Religious, political and legal nonprofits are not eligible under this definition. Likewise, nonprofits that are statewide, national, or international in scale are not eligible at this time, because the pilot years of both the NEAR and CO-OP categories are aimed at local neighborhood and community impact. Arts-based nonprofits should apply directly to DCA’s Cultural Grant Program category each August and should not be the primary applicant of a CO-OP proposal (although arts organizations in LA County may partner by lending an employee with expertise to collaborate with a social justice organization-applicant headquartered in the City of Los Angeles).

CO-OP Eligibility


For a CO-OP residency, DCA encourages the social justice organization submitting the application to provide a residency for the teaching-artist named in the proposal. If the teaching artist is an employee (part-time or seasonal) of a local nonprofit arts organization, then either nonprofit can be the primary applicant. In either case, the workshops led by the artist should employ methodologies the artist has mastered to launch or sustain a partnership that benefits the 20 (or more) clients gathered and enrolled by the social justice organization;

All applicants (whether individual or nonprofit must either reside in, or be headquartered in, Los Angeles County - and all proposed projects must take place and culminate within the City of LA; and teaching artists should demonstrate through their resume(s) at least 2 years of experience instructing participants in the proposed artistic discipline within projects at non-arts venues, public schools, parks, libraries, and/or similar community centers.

Additional Information on NEAR and CO-OP Grant Programs:  Both NEAR and CO-OP grants will support multi-week interactive projects to take place between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023, that aim to stimulate: community dialogue, life-long learning opportunities for the public, and the availability of interesting free or low-cost creative activities that occur outside of traditional arts agencies and venues. Applicants should have workshop sessions that can be consistently attended by no less than 20 individuals, and feature one public culminating event that can engage no less than 40 participants. To this end, NEAR applicants should seek to secure a non-arts host agency and estimate no less than six workshop-sessions (five workshops and one public culminating event). If necessary, for space consideration, CO-OP applicants should secure a third partner, acting as a host site for the project.

NEAR and CO-OP Program Workshops: A series of online webinar workshops will be available in early to mid-October. Webinar space is limited to 30 participants per webinar, and RSVPs are required at least two business days in advance. Check with CLA for workshops/webinars.

NEAR and CO-OP Applications Timeline:  Deadline to apply is Nov 5, 2021;   Grant activity/projects will take place between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023;  May/June 2021: Applicants will receive notification of results; NEAR and CO-OP Guidelines and Application For full program information, check with the City of Los Angeles.

CITY OF LOS ANGELES INDIVIDUAL MASTER ARTIST PROJECT GRANT PROGRAM (COLA-IMAP)

The City of Los Angeles Individual Master Artist Project Grant Program (COLA-IMAP) gives accomplished artists the opportunity to create a new piece or body of work with the freedom to re-focus on themselves and their core impulses. The COLA-IMAP grant category honors a spectrum of the City’s avant-garde artists who: Are dedicated to an ongoing body of excellent work. Represent a relevant progression through their pieces or series over the past 15 years (or 8 years for a dancer-choreographer).  Exemplify a generation of core ideas in their field. Are respected by their peers and are role models for other artists because of their distinguished record.

Approximately 6 to 12 COLA-IMAP $10,000 grant-contracts will be offered for designers/visual artists (including architects, graphic designers, and product designers including fashion designers), literary artists (poets or fiction writers) and performing artists (including choreographers who wish to make and perform individual dance works, musicians who wish to compose and perform individual music works, and multi-disciplinary theater artists who wish to invent and perform solo works).

DCA will organize an online and/or printed catalog to promote the entire set of COLA-IMAP grantees as “creative treasures” and document the group as one cross-section of the exciting Los Angeles art scene. DCA and community partners will also attempt to showcase a curated selection of each master-artist’s new work in either a gallery exhibition or performing arts showcase.

COLA-IMAP Eligibility

Competitive applicants are: Individual artists or independent duos, who are professional masters of self-evolved ideas (not curators, presenters, or interpreters of other artists’ works, and not artists who have primarily built their credentials within collaborative groups or within social practices – group-process artists are only eligible to apply in DCA’s NEAR category since COLA is not a category for group-projects).  Current residents of Los Angeles County who demonstrate on their resumes that they either live in the City of Los Angeles or have at least a 3-year history of presenting work in the City of Los Angeles.  Professionals who illustrate on their resume at least 15 years (8 years for choreographer-dancers) of a progressive, ongoing exhibition, publication, or performance record. This may include post-secondary student presentations and does not need to be 15 (or 8) consecutive years.

COLA-IMAP Workshops

A series of online online webinar workshops will be available through early October. Webinar space is limited to 30 participants per webinar and RSVPs are required at least two business days in advance.  Check with City of Los Angeles for more details.

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                                                                                           RABBI'S CORNER


BEFORE CREATION --B'RESHIT


By RABBI DR. RAYMOND APPLE

The first three words of the Torah are "B’reshit bara E-lokim", "In the beginning G[-]d created the heavens and the earth".

(Bet Shammai says He created the heavens first, Bet Hillel says the earth came first, and the sages say – Chagigah 12a – that both were created at the same time.)

The word "B’reshit" is difficult. Does it mean "firstly", "in the beginning"? If so, it should be "Barishonah".

There is a different opinion, supported by Rashi and Ibn Ezra, which understands the verse as "When G[-]d began to create" – parallel to Gen. 5:1-2, which refers to "b’ro E-lokim".

There was a series of stages. First there was "tohu vavohu", dark waste and wildness (Robert Alter’s translation calls it "welter and waste"), then G[-]d said, "Let there be light", which means that He imposed order on the strange mixture.

This suggests that Creation was preceded by chaos, so history began before Creation with a "BC" (Before Creation) era. G[-]d imposed order on a disorganised primary substance. But how did that formless substance come to be there?

*Without* a belief in G[-]d we cannot explain "tohu vavohu"; *with* a belief in Him we can say that it was something which He Himself had created.

The rabbis say that G[-]d made many worlds before settling on one that pleased Him (Gen. Rabbah 3:9). According to Rabbi Yochanan a thousand earlier worlds were discarded by G[-]d (Shir HaShirim Rabbah 5:10).

The Vilna Ga’on regarded the Creation described in Genesis 1 as the definitive beginning of history.

ETHICAL EVOLUTION

Whether Darwinian views of evolution are tenable is vigorously debated.

Many aspects are debated including a possibly parallel process of ethical development. Does the survival of the fittest apply to ideas and social structures?

One of the major essays on the subject is a contribution by Dr Daiches Raphael to a book called "A Century of Darwin", edited by SA Barnett.

Dr Raphael wants to know whether human ethics are a product of evolution; does evolution direct or indicate the future development of ethics, and does ethical development have an influence on the future of evolution?

A major analysis of the subject came from Teilhard de Chardin, who believed that over time, the ethical spirit of man would refine itself and ethical primitiveness would recede and give way to good order.

G[-]d IN THE GARDEN

Genesis 2:8 says that the Lord G[-]d planted a garden.

There were trees that were "pleasing to the sight" and trees that were "good for food". In the middle of the garden was the tree of life, and "the tree of knowledge of good and evil", two trees not found elsewhere (Ibn Ezra).

Adam and Eve lived in the garden. In the garden G[-]d Himself could be heard.

From the poetical point of view the garden was a major indication of the existence of G[-]d, not merely as a source of beauty, but as proof that the spirit of man should never despair.

Small things grow, and even when one year’s growth is unsuccessful, a person should never lose hope.

Sforno says the trees of life and moral knowledge warned man to be careful in his choice of physical and intellectual pleasures. The garden is a stage in man’s moral development. The garden that is the world is full of wonderful things; man must learn how to handle them.


Rabbi Dr. Raymond Apple, Jerusalem, Israel

____________________


POLL SURVEYS REVEAL 65% OF JEWISH STUDENTS HAVE FELT UNSAFE ON CAMPUS AND 50% HAVE ACTIVELY HID THEIR JEWISH IDENTITY


By NICOLE S. ROSEN

The first poll to specifically examine rates of anti-Semitism among college students who claim a strong sense of Jewish identity and connection to Israel finds that, among this group, students are feeling unsafe and, as a result, are learning that to avoid anti-Semitism they must view their religion as something to hide, not celebrate. In fact, the survey indicates that the longer students stay on campus, the less safe they feel and the more they feel the need to hide their identity.

Nearly 70% of the students surveyed personally experienced or were familiar with an anti-Semitic attack in the past 120 days. More than 65% of these students have felt unsafe on campus due to physical or verbal attacks, with one in 10 reporting they have feared they themselves would be physically attacked.  And roughly 50% of students have felt the need to hide their Jewish identity.

The poll is based on online surveys with 1,027 members of the leading predominantly Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), and the leading Jewish sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi (AEPhi). While previous studies have polled all Jewish students, this is the first survey to examine rates of anti-Semitism among students who tend to openly identify as Jewish on campus.  More than 60% of the students surveyed belong to Hillel and nearly half to Chabad, more than 80% are supportive of Israel, and nearly 60% have visited Israel.  The survey was conducted between April 14-20, 2021 by Cohen Research Group in conjunction with The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.

“These findings ring some pretty consequential alarms, more closely resembling previous dark periods in our history, not the 21st century in the U.S.,” stated Kenneth L. Marcus, former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education for Civil Rights and Brandeis Center founder and chair. “They reveal that students for whom being Jewish is a central or important aspect of their identity are feeling increasingly unsafe visibly expressing their Judaism for fear of harassment, social bullying and other anti-Semitic attacks. And they expose that increased anti-Semitic acts, which attempt to hold Jews responsible as a collective, for the actions of the Israeli government, are driving more and more students to hide their support for Israel.”

“In 2021, Jewish undergraduates should not have to hide their identity.  We are in a time when college students are leading the way in equity and inclusion, Jewish students must be included in that activism,” stated Sharon Raphael, AEPhi National President. “The rise of anti-Semitism on college campuses shows how vital the Jewish sorority experience is for women. Our Jewish values teach us that we must stand up to hate in any form, especially anti-Semitism. Alpha Epsilon Phi is committed to supporting and educating our sisters on how to address anti-Semitism on their respective campuses.”

Two-thirds of students experienced or were familiar with anti-Semitic incidents over the past 120 days on campus or in virtual campus settings, despite increased isolation and remote classes during COVID.  

Fifty percent of AEPi members and 69% AEPhi members personally experienced an anti-Semitic verbal attack. The most common verbal attacks included offensive statements about Jews and the Holocaust, including referring to Jews as “greedy,” “cheap,” or having other negative qualities, assigning all Jews the collective responsibility for actions by Israel, and using pejorative nicknames. Many students experienced being called “untrustworthy” or having too much “political power” over U.S. policymakers and derogatory statements about Jews and Zionism in terms of white supremacy or responsibility for “Nazi” treatment of Palestinians.

As many as 10% were aware of physical attacks against Jewish students, and an alarming number have personally experienced a physical attack for being Jewish during the previous 120 days. Sixteen students (2%) were spit on; Fourteen students (2%) were attacked with a weapon; Seven students (1%) were physically attacked; Seven students (1%) were threatened with a weapon.

Over 65% of students surveyed reported feeling unsafe as Jews, and the longer they are on campus the less safe they feel.  More than three in five AEPi members and more than two in three AEPhi members have not felt safe as Jews on their campuses or in virtual campus settings due to concerns about verbal and physical attacks. Those who felt unsafe stated they are concerned about being verbally attacked (57% AEPi/64% AEPhi), socially excluded (33%/27%) or bullied or harassed (31%/34%); about 20% of seniors fear they will be physically attacked.  There is a nearly 20% decline between freshmen and seniors in students who report feeling safe, which indicates the longer Jewish students stay on campus, the less safe they feel.

Students surveyed are actively hiding their Jewish identity. Fifty percent of students stated they have hidden their Jewish identity, and more than half avoid expressing their views on Israel.  The percentage of students who hid their Jewish identity also increased with each college year. The longer the students are enrolled, the more they felt the need to hide their identity.

Among students who felt they needed to hide their Jewish identity, three in 10 were concerned about being marginalized or penalized by their professors.  The study also broke down results by preferred Jewish denomination – Just Jewish, Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Reconstructionist – and geographic location of school – Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, and West.

In 2014, Trinity College and the Brandeis Center conducted a national survey of 1,157 U.S. Jewish college students that found that 54% of college students had experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism.

“This groundbreaking research shows that even during the pandemic, where virtually all students were forced to study remotely, anti-Semitism remains an all-too prevalent scourge on university life.  Too many Jewish students do not feel safe, even from their screens, and administrators need to reenergize their efforts to support all vulnerable communities on their campuses, in-person, and virtual,” stated Michael Cohen, Founder and Lead Researcher at Cohen Research Group, lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, publisher of Congress in Your Pocket and author of Modern Political Campaigns.

The Brandeis Center recommends universities take the following immediate steps to address rising anti-Semitism:  Issue a statement condemning anti-Semitism in all its forms, including anti-Zionism; Incorporate the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of anti-Semitism into their discrimination and harassment policies; and Provide appropriate training on anti-Semitism to university administrators, faculty, staff and students.

The Louis D. Brandeis Center, Inc., or LDB, is an independent, nonprofit organization established to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and promote justice for all. The Brandeis Center conducts research, education, and advocacy to combat the resurgence of anti-Semitism on college and university campuses. It is not affiliated with the Massachusetts university, the Kentucky law school, or any of the other institutions that share the name and honor the memory of the late U.S. Supreme Court justice.