Around The Town: Photography exhibit, religious school

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Photography exhibit at Beth-El: Jewish Life Today in Eastern Europe


The revival of Jewish life in post-Holocaust, post-Communist Eastern Europe is a story of Biblical proportions. Local Israeli-American photographer Loli Kantor has spent more than a decade traveling from Texas to Krakow, Lviv, and the Carpathian Mountains, gaining the confidence of families as they rediscover Jewish traditions.
Her documentary photography is the subject of Beth-El Congregation’s current art exhibit, Presence: Jewish Life in Eastern Europe Today. The three-month show continues through October in the board room of the Temple at 4900 Briarhaven Road.
The exhibit includes several large, fine-art color photographs and more than 20 small, intimate, palladium prints the size of negatives. The gallery is equipped with magnifying glasses that viewers may use to study these small pictures in detail.
Several events are planned to acquaint the public with Kantor and her oeuvre:
Meet-the-artist reception, 9 p.m. Sept. 9, during the Oneg Shabbat following services.
Art Salon, 7-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20. An opportunity to speak informally with the photographer about her experiences and the techniques she uses to develop and print her photos.
A fine-art and documentary photographer, Kantor is often abroad and on the road. Her work has ranged from photographing theater in Fort Worth to documenting the lives of Jews in Eastern Europe and the transformation of Jewish life and culture there.
Born in Paris to Jewish Polish Holocaust survivors and raised in Tel Aviv, she brings a deeply personal interest and unique sensibility to this project. Her work has been exhibited widely in the United States and abroad in China, Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic. It is included in museum collections in the U.S. and abroad. Kantor’s next stops will be in San Francisco for a group show at the Contemporary Jewish Museum and in Amherst, Massachusetts, for a five-month solo show at the Yiddish Book Center.
Kantor’s coffee-table book, Beyond the Forest: Jewish Presence in Eastern Europe, 2004-2012 (University of Texas Press, November 2014), is for sale the Judaica Shop.
— Submitted by Beth-El Art Committee

Beth-El Religious School picks engaging theme for 2016-17 school year

“Why Should I Be Proud To Be Jewish?” will be the theme for the 2016-2017 Religious School year at Beth-El Congregation.
“We believe this is one of the most important questions we should ask in our day in age,” said Ilana Knust, Religious School director.
The theme will be evident on the first day of classes, Aug. 28, with a Jewish pride exhibit and will connect to every aspect of the curriculum and holiday celebrations.
“It is not enough to teach our students to do Jewishly and to know Jewishly; we must give them good reasons to want to stay Jewish and to pass it on, from generation to generation, l’dor v’dor,” added Knust.
Students will have a chance to explore and question their faith on different level

s, with the hope that this journey to discover the beauty of Judaism will promote a sense of pride and Jewish identity.
A new addition to Beth-El Religious School programming is a class for 2- and 3-year-olds. While their children are involved in the classroom, parents will be able to participate in Jewish learning and engage with the Beth-El community.
Contact Ilana Knust at

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