Reciprocity: LA Artist Retreat 2017

November 12-14, 2017 · Los Angeles, CA

As we rode home from Glämsta, the 115-year old Jewish summer camp in the Stockholm archipelago, the back of the bus erupted in song. We moved through the Yiddish songs that we had learned together from some of the artists into some Glämsta tunes that our Swedish colleagues had learned as children. It was a joyful and powerful ending to a successful retreat, situating us within the larger historical context of Nordic Jewish life, yet perhaps with a unique cultural tone.

Sharing multiple perspectives and learning from diverse experiences was central to our time together in Sweden. For example, on our final evening at Glämsta, we enjoyed a relaxing evening at the campfire, followed by sauna time. We shared the American tradition of s’mores for the Europeans to enjoy, while they taught us about their own traditional campfire treat, bananas with chocolate. We felt our s’mores were far superior, but that’s up for discussion.

There were a number of powerful moments throughout the retreat that were brought out through shared artistic experiences led by the artists, including movement sessions, stop-action animation, poetry, and music.

Photo by Matt Garcia

A highlight of our time was a surreal evening inside the futuristic House of the Book, a hidden architectural gem on top of a mountain, where we were led through a workshop-performance by Dan Levenson, as art students enrolled in the modernist faux-art school, SKZ.

We learned about the support for artists from the City of LA, explored Jewish text through movement, and had some outdoor adventures.  We had such fun meeting everyone and working with our wonderful colleagues from American Jewish University (thanks Rotem!) and we look forward to seeing how the group continues to build and grow.

The Institute for Jewish Creativity (IJC) is a proud project of American Jewish University (AJU). The IJC encourages artistic contributions to create an authentic, thriving American Jewish culture. AJU’s core values are learning and scholarship, culture, ethics, leadership, and peoplehood.  For almost 70 years AJU has served as a thriving center and resource for individuals to explore and celebrate their Jewish identity. AJU is one of the largest and most innovative Jewish institutions in the country. The Institute for Jewish Creativity is made possible through a generous Cutting Edge Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles.


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