Upcoming Events


FALL 2017


Triple Art Opening


Thursday, October 26th
7:00 - 9:00 PM 
Free and Open to the Public 

"Days of Awe" by Zhenya Gershman

Thursday October 26th
7:00 - 9:00 PM 

ZHENYA GERSHMAN is an internationally renowned artist. She was born in Moscow, Russia and held her 1st solo exhibition in St. Petersburg at age 14. She was selected as a subject of the TV Documentary Film “Our Generation”, a project dedicated to searching for the five most talented teenagers in Russia, showing hope for the cultural future of the country. The youngest student to be admitted to Otis Art Institute, Zhenya graduated with Honors and later received her Masters of Fine Arts degree from Art Center College of Design. Today, Gershman's portraits are featured in public and private collections including Douglas Simon and Richard Weisman (she is included in the book "Picasso to Pop: The Richard Weisman Collection"). Gershman's portrait of Sting was acquired for the permanent collection of the Arte Al Limite Museum, due to open in 2017 in Santiago, Chile. Zhenya participates in important international exhibitions including Art Aspen, Art Miami, and Art Chicago. The GRAMMY MusiCares Foundation selected Gershman to create portraits of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. Her recent exhibition Larger Than Life was broadcast by Entertainment Tonight, Extra Television, and The New York Post. A documentary film, The Model's Artist, highlights Gershman's innovative approach to working with artists' models. In 2000, Gershman was a recipient of ALEX Award in Visual Arts from The National Alliance for Excellence, Honored Scholars and Artists Program, presented by Peter Frank, who is quoted as saying that Gershman’s effort evokes not only Whistler’s and Sargent’s, but that from which they took inspiration, Manet’s and Velazquez’s–masters of the figure who in their own ways avoided the banal literalities of their contemporaries for a rendition truer to the vagaries of vision, and (thereby) to the dynamics of human presence.

In addition to her artistic career, Gershman is an independent scholar and a museum educator. She has worked for over a decade in the internationally acclaimed J. Paul Getty Museum, and has contributed to such exhibitions as Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits and Rembrandt: Telling the Difference. As a co-Founder of Project AWE, a non-profit foundation for the arts and education, Gershman has dedicated her scholarly and charitable work to provide new dimensions in understanding and experiencing the cultural icons of Western European heritage.  Gershman’s groundbreaking discovery regarding the presence of a hidden Rembrandt self portrait was published by Arion, Boston University and was brought to European audiences by Le Monde, one of the most important international magazines. She continues to work in her studio, and is currently writing a book and developing a TV series entitled “Secrets of the Masters”. 



















"Faith in a Seed" by Joshua Abarbanel

October 26, 2017 
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Free and Open to the Public

Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.
—Henry David Thoreau

Joshua Abarbanel: Faith in a Seed presents a large, hanging sculpture and a selection of related wall-mounted works inspired by plants, seeds, pods, and spores. These works in wood emanate from the artist’s longstanding fascination with forms and patterns found in nature and are part of his ongoing examination of creation and impermanence. The pieces on display are informed in part by a visit Abarbanel made to the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard—a fail-safe seed storage facility built to stand the test of time and the threats of natural or man-made disasters—during an expeditionary artists residency in which he participated in the Arctic Circle.

Joshua Abarbanel is a Los Angeles-based visual artist who works in a variety of media, predominantly sculpture. His work has been exhibited at the Jewish Museum Berlin (Germany), Fleming Museum of Art (Burlington, Vermont), Art Share L.A. (Los Angeles), Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (Los Angeles), Columbia University-Bernard Kraft Center (New York), and Jose Drudis-Biada Art Gallery, Mount St. Mary’s College (Los Angeles), among other venues, and was the focus of recent solo exhibitions at TAJ Art Gallery (Los Angeles) and Hinge Parallel Gallery (Culver City), as well as a two-person exhibition at Porch Gallery (Ojai).

Abarbanel’s work has been reviewed in Fabrik and ArtFCity, and his projects have been the subject of numerous feature stories in outlets including the Associated Press, CNN Greece, Design Milk, My Modern Met, KCRW’s Design and Architecture, Colossal, Contemporist, Hi-Fructose, and a European documentary on Arte Television.

Abarbanel received dual undergraduate degrees in art and psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters of Fine Art from the University of California at Los Angeles, where he focused on ceramics. Upon completing his MFA he delved into the world of digital art and graphics, disciplines he teaches as a professor at Los Angeles Harbor College. He was born in Manchester, England and lives and works in Santa Monica, California.

Pictured above: Joshua Abarbanel
Pod 01, 2015
Stained and unstained wood on fiberglass, metal chain
40” round; chain length variable  


Copy_of_IMG_5065.jpgPhoto Exhibit: Ethiopian Jews still living in Ethiopia by Sophia Spitulnik

Thursday October 26th
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Free and Open to the Public

The first part of this exhibit includes 16 photos of different aspects of the Ethiopian Jewish Community that were taken by students during a trip to Ethiopia. The second part includes 6 photographs of some of the community members living in Gondar.








"Suddenly, a Knock at the Door" by Robin E. Goldfin, based on stories by Etgar Keret

Monday November 20, 2017
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Lenart Auditorium at the Fowler Museum at UCLA


“I can’t do it like this!” protests the writer EITAN KATZEN to the BEARDED MAN, the SURVEY TAKER and the PIZZA DELIVERY woman who have come knocking at his door.  Brandishing weapons, they make the stakes clear: a story or your life!   So the writer held hostage to these three strange muses begins to weave his tales, played out on the stage by the same characters that are holding him captive.

“Suddenly, a Knock at the Door” is a new play adapted by Robin Goldfin and directed by Jeff Maynard, with live instrumental music by Oren Neiman, based on stories by award winning Israeli author and filmmaker Etgar Keret.  It is a celebration of storytelling and the magic of art—an ensemble piece written for six actors and two musicians playing some thirty different roles.

 Playwright Robin Goldfin has chosen eight stories from the latest critically acclaimed anthology by Etgar Keret to create the comic drama of a modern writer weaving eight extra-ordinary tales in the middle of Tel Aviv.  Here stories are the currency, a matter of life and death.  Here, stories make us real and teach us (with a nod to Scheherazade) how to face the difficulties of life—from the absurd to the unbearable—without resorting to violence or abusing your power.

In “Suddenly, a Knock at the Door,” Mr. Goldfin’s innovative script, Mr. Keret’s unique imagination and Mr. Neiman’s original music combine to bring this play to vibrant life. Click here to read a review of the play by New York Times. 


Left Image: From left to right: Antonio Minino, Alyssa Simon, Jeffrey Swan Jones, Kenneth Talberth, Gilad Ben-Zvi, Oren Neiman, Elanna White, Stephen Thornton.
Right Image: From left to right: Elanna White, Kenneth Talberth, Jeffrey Swan Jones. 


One of Israel's most celebrated writers, Etgar Keret is the author of six collections of stories that have been translated into more than 30 languages. In the U.S., his work has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Harper's Magazine and The Paris Review.  He has also been a frequent contributor on NPR's This American Life. 


This event is presented by The Dortort Center for Creativity inthe Arts at UCLA Hillel in collaboration with the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA, the Jewish Women's Theater, and the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies.


bread_and_salt.jpgBread & Salt: The Art of Jewish Food

The Bread & Salt city-wide cultural event will be bringing together numerous Jewish cultural sites throughout Los Angeles to explore contemporary, historic, and ritual aspects of food through exhibitions, symposia, shabbatons, and creative place-making. From farm to table so too from sinai to our synagogues, what we eat and why we eat have impacted our people since the beginning of history. Jews and food encompass everything--from secular to religious culinary rituals, holidays, kashrut, social justice, biblical sacrifice, cultural identity, and both ancient and modern agricultural practices. In creating a city-wide event focused on all aspects of food, the purpose of Bread & Salt is to engage the community in this conversation creating fertile ground to explore the current Jewish foodscape, from multiple access points. Whether they are inspired by color, taste, texture, history, relevance, spirituality, environmentalism, social justice, farming, or locavore or artisanal movements, the presenting artists, educators, and topic experts will keep the participants salivating for more!


Presented by: 

American Jewish University (AJU)
Hebrew Union College JIR-LA (HUC)
USC Hillel
Hillel at UCLA
Academy for Jewish Religion (AJRCA)
UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies
Jewish Women's Theater
Nuart Pop-Up Exhibitions
USC Israeli Arts and Humanities 


 WINTER 2018


Helene-Berr.jpg"Hélène Berr, A Stolen Life":

An exhibit created by the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, France

January 2018 (Opening date TBA)
the Dortort Gallery

Free and Open to the Public

This exhibition is based on the journal written by Hélène Berr, a young Jewish French woman, whose promising future was brutally cut short by Vichy Government's laws and the extermination plan imagined by the Nazis. Studying English Literature at Sorbonne University, Hélène Berr was 21 years old when she began her journal. We follow her steps through Paris under the German Occupation, perceiving the daily experience of the unbearable, oscillating between hope and despair, until her arrest and deportation to Auschwitz in 1944.

While revealing a true premonition of the inescapable, this subtle testimony is exceptionally poetic, has rare literary qualities, and carries a universal dimension that regards and questions every human being with sincerity. The exhibition however goes beyond the framework of Hélène Berr's journal and personality, as it broadens the context of the Occupation and addresses largely the persecution of the Jews in France. With the support of photographs archives, films, interactive animations and maps, this exhibition shows how the daily lives of Jews had been impacted by these terrible acts of violence.

This exhibition was designed, created, and distributed by the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, France (curators Karen Taieb and Sophie Nagiscarde), with the guidance of Mariette Job (niece of Hélène Berr), and made possible through the generous support of SNCF.


Co-sponsored by Hillel at UCLA and the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies.

 SPRING 2018

Annual Student Photo Contest

Annual Student Fine Art Show

FALL 2018



Concert: Ensemble for These Times - Émigrés & Exiles in the Film Industry and Los Angeles

Opening date: Sunday October 14th, 2:00PM @ Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades

Free and open to the public

Website: http://www.e4tt.org/


Ensemble for These Times (E4TT) is a Northern California-based new music chamber group whose mission is to bring new, nearly new, forbidden, and forgotten music to light, focusing on 20th and 21st century music that is relevant, engaging, original, and compelling: music that resonates today and will speak to tomorrow. E4TT’s “Jewish Music & Poetry Project” focuses on works by composers who were exiled or killed in the Holocaust, as well as music with texts by Jewish women poets or by women composers.

The Villa Aurora at 520 Paseo Miramar is located in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles and has been used as an artists residence since 1995. It is the former home and refuge of the German-Jewish author Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife Marta after they fled from the Nazis in the 1940s. The Feuchtwangers bought this Spanish-style mansion in 1943 for only $9,000, the annual salary of a school teacher. The house was a popular meeting place for artists and the community of German-speaking émigrés. Lion Feuchtwanger wrote six of his historical novels in this house.



This event is co-sponsored by: 

Villa Aurora
The Mickey Katz Chair in Jewish Music at UCLA
The UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Learning
The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
The German Consulate General in Los Angeles



image-2.pngArt Opening:

The Space Between Symbols by Corrie Siegel

Opening date TBA
Free and open to the public

An artist, curator and educator, Corrie Siegel is committed to using the arts as a method of personal philosophic exploration as well as a tool for community building.  Siegel’s works often explore identity and experience within a global system of communication. She plays with personal limitations of knowledge and understanding by using highly detailed observation, and involved processes for collecting and rendering her subject matter.  She has exhibited her work throughout the United States as well as internationally. Her projects have been profiled in the Los Angeles Times, Mousse Magazine, and Flash Art International.  Siegel is a founding member and co-director of Actual Size, an artist collective and gallery. Actual Size collaborates with established and emerging artists to activate the exhibition space and engage the public.


Artist's Statement: 

The cut paper works that comprise this series are created through overlaying text in a matrix to obscure the original message and reveal a pattern composed of symbols. Intricately detailed, the work is inspired by micrographic art by Hebrew scribes who sculpt, skew and stretch letters to create dynamic and textured compositions. The artist chose to dissect texts written in German including Hitler's "Mein Kampf". Through using the form of a traditional paper-cut, these loaded texts are abstracted and cut into fragile lace.

The paper-cut was once exceedingly common in Ashkenazic-Jewish homes, reaching its height of popularity in the 19th century into the early 20th. Paper-cuts served religious and other ritual needs, such as indicating the direction of prayer, remembering family deaths, holiday decoration, and warding off the evil eve. Artists adapted the cut paper technique that Jewish merchants had met through their travels to the Far East in the 14th century as well as the 17th century German paper-cuts, which were known as Scherenschnitt (scissor-cuts). In 1345, Rabbi Shem-Tov ben Yitzhak ben Ardutiel wrote The War of the Pen Against the Scissors. In this Hebrew text he recounted an occasion in which his inkwell froze on a cold winter’s evening. In order to continue his studies he resorted to cutting the letters out of the paper. 

Created by Hebrew scribes in the late 9th century while transcribing the Masorah, which includes a system of marginal biblical notes that counted and listed textual details, this style of forming minute text into imagery enabled scribes to render images without blatantly violating Jewish law forbidding representation. This art form spread with the Jewish diaspora and evolved within the local cultural milieus. Micrography exemplifies the Jewish tradition of retaining identity while adapting to and affecting the local culture. Micrography also demonstrates the enduring Jewish pursuit of interpreting and navigating their evolving traditions.















 WINTER 2019


Louis Davidson's extraordinary photographic study of "Synagogues of North America"

Mission of Louis Davidson's SYNAGOGUES360: SYNAGOGUE 360provides a visual record of Jewish culture, showing and preserving synagogues by means of interactive 360 degree panoramic photos. It invites you and future generations to view the interiors of Jewish places of worship, which are clear and irrefutable indicators of the state of Jewish culture, architecture, art and stature in their communities throughout the Diaspora. Each synagogue is literally a “sign of the times” and window into the Jewish past and present.

Time, weather, political and demographic shift inevitably erode cities and buildings. These along with occasional upsurges of violent anti-Semitism, have been particularly thorough erasers of the physical evidence of Jewish history. SYNAGOGUES360 visually and digitally saves Jewish synagogues, an impressive physical expression of Jewish culture, for this and culture, for this and future generations to see and experience.

Please read this article by Jewish Journal spotlighting Louis Davidson and his photography.p_Chicago_IL.jpg 


The Dortort Center is located at Hillel at UCLA, but please take note of off-site event venues. The public is invited to view our exhibits Monday through Friday from 10:00am to 4:00pm (or at other times by special request) when school is in session.

For questions, please contact Perla Karney at 310-208-3081 x108 or perla@uclahillel.org