Past Events & Exhibitions 2017







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


Lenart Auditorium at the Fowler Museum at UCLAMonday November 20, 2017, 8:00 - 9:30 PM

Free and Open to the Public  


“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. 

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.

























The Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller Institute for Jewish Learning Presents:

"What if Joseph Hates Us"? Closing the Book
by Dr. Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg  















"Species of Faces and Other Mayses" by Silvia Wagensberg


Silvia Wagensberg’s latest collection of paintings may seem like no more than a compilation of portraits. In fact, it is also a window to the concerns that have been guiding her most recent painting endeavors. For the past six years, Wagensberg has been studying Yiddish at the American Jewish University and at UCLA, something which has also proven to be an exercise in memory and personal history. Shortly after she began taking these lessons, her teacher Miri Koral introduced her to an intriguing Yiddish reading group that she eventually joined. It is from the ranks of this group that she has recruited the subjects of the portraits she has titled “Species of Faces and other Mayses”. These portraits are also loosely based on a collection of essays by Georges Perec called “Species of Spaces and Other Pieces”, a seminal book by the French intellectual and son of Holocaust victims. The word Mayses in the title is Yiddish for “stories”. Born in 1936 in Paris, France, Perec was a member of the famed group Oulipo, which came to define the literary vanguard of 1960s Paris. The group sought to resolve many of language’s shortcomings through unusual experiments involving mostly word play. Somewhat similarly, Wagensberg seeks to understand larger questions of language and communication through a playful examination of everyday gestures and minutia. As Wagensberg put it, the person behind every painting revealed a rich tapestry of experience to which she was anxious to allot her own type of permanence. The group as a whole presented a linguistic challenge to Wagensberg, where she often found herself both as part of a larger effort to try to preserve a language in trouble while the same time she was nearly unable to keep up with the weekly readings and conversations. As she tries to make sense of it all, her choice of subjects and gestures opens a window to a particular human psychology and behavior that may turn out to be larger than her source Yiddish reading group.
Silvia Wagensberg was born and raised in Barcelona, where she studied visual art at Barcelona University's Faculty of Fine Arts (Facultat de Belles Arts de la Universitat de Barcelona). In her studio in Venice, California, she continues to explore pictorial language in painting through the forms and symbols of the written language. She has exhibited in LACMA's Sales Gallery and in the group show "Honoring Women's Rights" at the Steinbeck center, and has won such honors as the Judges' Choice Award from the Armory Art Center and a Second Prize at the "3rd International Open" at the Woman Made Gallery juried by Mary Ross Taylor (curator to Judy Chicago), among other achievements.

 Will be on view in the Spiegel and Dortort Galleries (3rd Floor)

Song.jpg "Song of Songs" and other sacred stories by Lori Shocket 



Lori studied graphic design and advertising at Art Center College of Design, and although her dream was to become a doctor, she was diverted by a lucrative position for an international beauty/fashion manufacturer, where she spent 20 years producing award-winning ad campaigns, trade show exhibits and packaging.

She earned her MD degree at the age of 56, and now has shifted her focus back to art. She is currently working on educational large-scale presentations that combine both passions. In October 2014, she launched a new community based arts project, The Human Element Project. Her most recent Human Element work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, Baltimore and Melbourne Australia. Lori combines her passion for art and science by creating collaborative installations that are not only art pieces but also the result of community engagement projects where sensitive and powerful stories are told and memories are preserved.

Lori’s mixed-media work has recently been exhibited at The Museum of Tolerance, Las Laguna Gallery, Laguna Arts Festival, The Institute for Genetic Medicine at the USC Keck School of Medicine, The Whole 9 Gallery, Breed Street Shul, TAG Gallery - Bergamot Station, and the La Plaza de Cultura y Artes.  



 Artist's Statement: 


"I identify myself as a mixed-media artist because my work is directly inspired by my culture and my travels. I have a passion for history, traditions and rituals. and I believe that documenting our life’s journey is critically important for a more peaceful and tolerant path for the future. I believe that collaboration, interaction and response are the crutial elemnts to powerful art statements.

My work is based upon making a connection between art, science and the human element. I use the periodic table as the foundation of my work, combining physical elements with emotional and spiritual attributes to create powerful visual statements.

My current work is inspired by the textures and patina created by the erosion of earth’s elements with the passage of time. I depict these chemical transitions with the use of layered acrylic mediums and earth-based metallic pigments to create textured surfaces. These aged surfaces serve as a foundation on which I place small hand-written scrolls that contain messages and personal prayers that I have collected through my work and travels. The tightly rolled scrolls reveal only a small portion of the message, leaving the interpretation and perceived understanding to the viewer’s imagination."


Will be on view in the Gindi Gallery (2nd Floor)




"Parsha Posters" by Hillel Smith:



Begun at Simchat Torah 2015, the Parsha Poster project is a series of posters "advertising" the parshat hashavua (weekly Torah portion). The posters utilize innovative Hebrew typography--each one integrates the Hebrew name of the parsha in Hebrew somehow into the illustration--and a bold, graphic aesthetic to tell Biblical stories in a new way. 

Hillel Smith is an artist and graphic designer focusing on engaging communities with their heritage in innovative ways. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Visual Studies. Finding a lack of inspiring new Jewish art, he attempts to re-imagine the potential of Judaica by utilizing contemporary media like spray paint and digital graphics to create new manifestations of traditional forms. He has painted dynamic Jewish murals in Southern California and Israel with his Hebrew street art venture Illuminated Streets, with more murals on the way. He revitalizes ancient rituals with online projects like his GIF Omer Counter and Parsha Poster series, encouraging creative reconsideration of religious practice. He leads workshops on Jewish art, including Jewish street art, at a growing number of institutions, centering on artistic empowerment, continuity, and manifesting identity through the arts. Seeing Hebrew as the visual glue binding Jews together across time and space, he also teaches Jewish typographic history, using print as a lens for Jewish life and culture. Making fun and engaging content is also the crux of his work as a designer of educational products, viral videos, and marketing materials for organizations large and small, as for clients like Patton Oswalt. See his work at

Supported by ASYLUM ARTS.


Will be on view in the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (1st Floor)



"WINGS" by Harriet Zeitlin Exhibit:



(Extended by Popular Demand)


Free and Open to the Public



Harriet Zeitlin received a full scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where she was a painting major and  participated in a coordinated course with the University of Pennsylvania. This is where she earned a BFA degree while attending two-year course in the Traditions of Painting at the Barnes Foundation. Later she studied printmaking at the University of California, Los Angeles and photography at Santa Monica College. She has lived in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC and Paris.


Zeitlin has had 25 solo shows and exhibited in over 100 group shows, including a display of her artist quilts in the US Department of State Arts in Embassies Program in Hong Kong and Namibia, Africa, a solo show of three decades of her multimedia work at the Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica, CA., and a recent exhibition in the Salon d'Automne in Paris.

She won both a California Arts Council Grant and City of Los Angeles Cultural Grant and her work is in numerous public collections including such institutions as the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, the Library of Congress, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Zeitlin has also taught art over the years in such venues as Crossroads School, Los Angeles High School for Music and Art, Los Angeles Unified School District Adult Education Program, Mirman School for Gifted Children, and UCLA Extension. In 1998 she also completed book on photography started by her husband titled Shooting Stars: Favorite Photos Taken by Classic Celebrities.


Artist's Statement: 


"In the 6 decades that I have been a painter, printmaker, quilt maker, sculptor and mixed media artist I have dedicated myself to the task of making a valid, meaningful statement that will touch the viewers' sensibilities. I have felt free to cut across boundaries of media and materials, and have endeavored to balance decoration with expression, combine found objects with my own fiber work, and conjoin the two and three dimensional into one cohesive whole. In my latest series of mixed media work "WINGS", the subject is birds- in flight, taking off, soaring, diving, leaving the earth in joy and freedom. Man, earthbound by gravity, always longed to accomplish this feat and succeeded. Yet, despite our heroic achievement in aviation, we continue to look upward, following with awe and amazement the beauty and grace of a flight of birds. I hope that this body of work will evoke memories and associations where art, nature, culture, and the collective unconscious interlock."


On view on the Artist Staircase from now through March 2017

"Days of Awe" by Zhenya Gershman

Displayed on the third floor
On view from October 26 to December 17


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”. 

Click here for an interview with Zhenya Gershman by Oren Peleg

zhenya_gershman_hands.jpg zhenya_gershman_thinking_man.jpg




Copy_of_IMG_5065.jpgEthiopian Jews still living in Ethiopia by Sophia Spitulnik

Displayed in Pritzker Dining Room, second floor

On view from October 26 to December 17

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.






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