Bad baseball bible stories

Work from artist Vita Eruhimovitz  that will be on display in her exhibit, “Synthetic Landscapes” Nov. 4-Dec. 26 at the Gallery at the Kranzberg Arts Center. In her art, Eruhimovitz explores the ways modern culture perceives nature and pushes the boundaries of physical nature into the digital realm. Her recent focus has been in interactive sculpture and digital fabrication.

Ellen Futterman, Editor

The moment the Chicago Cubs clinched the National League Championship Series Saturday night to advance to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians, my husband left the room and went outside. He stayed there for more than a half-hour while I gleefully watched the post-game celebration and interviews with various Cubs players.

Mind you I am not a Cubs fan. My heart belongs to the Cardinals. But since our beloved Redbirds didn’t make it to the postseason this year – and honestly, what a rarity is that over the past few years? – I jumped on the Cubs bandwagon. It seemed the gracious, magnanimous, and therefore most Jewish, thing to do. 

Not my husband Jeff. Granted, he didn’t grow up Jewish, though he identifies strongly with Judaism. But when it comes to religion, baseball is his faith; the Cardinals are what he worships and Busch Stadium, his temple. From his perch as a lifelong Cards fan, the Cubs are more wicked than Pharaoh. They are tantamount to the Ten Plagues, with Javier Baez, Jon Lester, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Dexter Fowler, Kyle Hendricks and manager Joe Maddon, among others (not to mention former Cardinal and free-agent traitor Jason Heyward), standing in for lice, locust, boils, hail, pestilence, darkness and the rest. 

For Cubs fans, the postseason looks like the parting of the Red Sea (move over Cards!). For Jeff, the Cards’ failure to move on is more akin to the Dead Sea.  

So there we were Saturday night, Jeff refusing to watch a second of jubilation and me, excited for a team that hasn’t played in a World Series since 1945 and hasn’t won since 1908. Finally, after 108 years, long-suffering Cubs fans can cheer on their team to the Promised Land. 

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Jeff, because this bitter rivalry seems to be in his DNA, vows not to watch a minute of the World Series. Me, I can’t wait. As a Jew, I figure it comes down to whether the Cubs curse continues to be longstanding tradition or if there really is a baseball Messiah. 

 

Jewish teen awards

The Helen Diller Family Foundation is accepting nominations for its Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards for Jewish teenagers.

The awards — a series of up to 15 prizes of $36,000 each — are awarded annually for social justice projects to young Jewish volunteers between the ages of 13 and 19. They are meant to recognize “exceptional leadership and a commitment to creating meaningful change in the world.” 

Last year, Jessica Goldberg, a senior at John Burroughs School and editor of the Light’s Ohr Chadash teen page, received one of the awards for co-founding Performing for Pencils, a nonprofit that hosts an annual talent show to raise funds to provide disadvantaged St. Louis area students with the school supplies they need to be successful learners. 

The Helen Diller Family Foundation, which awards grants to museums, universities and other arts and culture institutions, has given more than $2.5 million to the Teen Tikkun Olam Awards since 2007. Teachers, civic leaders, rabbis—anyone interested in nominating a teen—or any teen interested in self-nominating, can go to dillerteenawards.org to begin the nomination/application process. The deadline for nominations is Dec. 18. For more information go to dillerteenawards.org.

 

Artful Friday

If you haven’t made it down to Grand Center for one of its First Friday Gallery Walks, consider going in November when the Gallery at the Kranzberg Arts Center opens a new exhibit, “Synthetic Landscapes” by Vita Eruhimovitz. The Ukrainian artist, who is Jewish, grew up in Israel and currently lives and works in St. Louis and New York.

Her mixed-media installation is an attempt to combine objects that are fragments perceived as natural phenomena into a cohesive environment; in other words, a synthetic landscape. Eruhimovitz explores the ways in which human-made spaces, systems and relationships interconnect with the environment that is being constantly modified by humans. Her recent focus has been in interactive sculpture and digital fabrication. Some of her projects reflect on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the secret life of algorithms.

Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? An opening reception will be held from 6-9 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Kranzberg, 501 N. Grand Blvd., and the exhibit runs through Dec. 18. For more information, go to kranzbergartscenter.org 

Wash U Holocaust lecture

Doris Bergen, author of “War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust” (among others), will present Washington University’s Holocaust Memorial Lecture at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2 in Umrath Hall. Bergen, who has taught at the universities of Notre Dame and Vermont, is a member of the Academic Advisory Committee of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. 

In anticipation of the talk, Erin McGlothlin, associate professor of German and Jewish studies, has written an op-ed titled “The Holocaust and the ‘Whew’ Effect,” which explores readers’ experiences of Holocaust survivor stories. Those interested can read the piece at stljewishlight.org/mcglothin.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, go to  cenhum.artsci.wustl.edu/events/Holocaust-Memorial-Lecture-Doris-Bergen