You are invited to Emanu-El’s art celebration
By Sharon Wisch-Ray
Temple Emanu-El will continue its sesquicentennial celebration, TE150, with Light Years: An Innovative Light and Technology Experience on Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25. The art installation is produced by Aurora, a Dallas-based public arts organization working at the intersection of art, technology and community that presents works by the most visionary artists of our time.
Light Years is the second of three cornerstone events in celebration of Temple Emanu-El’s 150-year legacy in Dallas. The 15-month celebration began with the High Holidays and the first cornerstone event in October was a congregational Sukkot dinner and several other events related to food. The third and final cornerstone event will be celebrated in November around the theme of Rededication. Each cornerstone event and all events in-between were developed in conjunction with Temple Emanu-El’s five core values: prayer and spirituality, learning, social justice, community and Israel.
While the Friday portion of the weekend is open to Temple Emanu-El members only, organizers are excited to invite the Jewish community, social justice partners and the broader Dallas community to the event Saturday night.
“We want to share this arts festival and are hoping for a magnificent turnout,” said Leslie Krakow, TE150 Celebrations co-chair.
Krakow explained that Temple commissioned original works of art (see sidebar) which will debut Saturday. Two of the works will be projected onto the outside of Olan Sanctuary and Stern Sanctuary and outside of Lefkowitz Chapel, there will be an original dance piece with projections.
“This festival will look futuristic; it is all about art, displayed through technical means,” Krakow said.
She added that in working with Aurora, the hope of the clergy and arts committee is that the artists will be able to translate the synagogue’s core values.
Josh King, Aurora co-founder, said he’s been impressed with Temple Emanu-El’s staff and the support shown by a dedicated cadre of volunteers. He said grasping technology-based art isn’t so easy.
“They’ve caught on so quick, and have supported the artists so well … to actually have a multiple perspective of views, not just a Jewish upbringing, but really what is happening in today’s world, around community and beyond. So it’s been a really cool experience,” said King.
Light Years is “all about celebrating the creativity, the inspiration and the broader community. Temple Emanu-El’s history is so entwined with the history of the city of Dallas. And this is our big chance to celebrate that,” said Suzi Greenman, a lifelong Temple Emanu-El member, former synagogue president and TE150 co-chair with Scott McCartney.
Rabbi Amy Rossel, Temple Emanu-El senior director of education and engagement, echoed the sentiments of the TE150 leadership.
“Having these artists to have been specifically commissioned for this event and this weekend, and having their art displayed on the exterior walls of our worship spaces and on the grounds of Temple, open and available, is a statement on how much we want to share what happens inside our walls, outside our walls and how committed we are to remaining an integrated active part of the community and celebrating the community that we are a part of,” Rossel said.
The rabbi added that this weekend’s event will launch the TE150 celebration into its final third with the theme of Rededication.
“It’s really moving us into where are we focusing on our future and how we are using the entire TE150 celebration as a launchpad, a starting ground for the next 150 years at Temple. Our celebration is more than a celebration. It’s an expression of our values and an opportunity to put those values into action in different and more modern ways and to do some experimenting with them for the future,” Rossel said.
Saturday’s event is free and open to the community. However, for security purposes, advance registration is required at tedallas.org/light-years. Following registration, an email will be sent Friday with “know before you go” instructions. To facilitate parking, shuttles will run continuously between NorthPark Center and Temple Emanu-El starting at 8 p.m. Krakow suggests arriving at the designated parking area around 7:45. The art installations will be revealed at darkness. The event will close at 11.
Rabbi David Stern is confident people will talk about Light Years for well into the future.
“When Temple gets around to celebrating its 175th anniversary, it is the weekend of the 24th and 25th that people will be talking about. I believe that Light Years will be the kind of artistic event that is true to our historic engagement with the arts community in Dallas and is true to our forward-looking nature as a community and I think it will be dazzling,” he said.