June 2014

JCCSF Matters - May 2014 Edition

Summer Celebrations
Hella Proper Tea Party

This time of year at the JCCSF, every week brings with it a celebration of youth achievement and camaraderie. 
 
On May 16 the Havurah Youth Center (HYC) transformed Kanbar Hall into a riot of color and texture as participants in the K – 5 afterschool program displayed the art they’d been working on for months. The annual show included everything from a 10-foot “stuffie” in the shape of a lizard to abstract compositions in black and white. Older students collaborated on detailed 3-D architectural models of the JCCSF building. “The variety of artwork mirrors the program itself,” Youth and Family Director Samantha Kelman explained. “There’s artwork done by individuals, projects done as a class, and collaborations across classes.”
 
Ironically extended pinkies and faux British accents abounded at the Hella Proper Tea Party on May 21, as Club 18 middle schoolers wrapped up their year together. According to Teen Program Coordinator Stephanie Reisfeld, “we dressed in silly tea party costumes and ran a relay race with books on our heads.”
 
On May 22 Ballet Select dancers from the JCCSF Dance School performed a full-length ballet, La Fille Mal Gardée (The Wayward Daughter), in Kanbar Hall. Coming up on Sunday, June 1, the JCCSF Dance School takes the stage at the Palace of Fine Arts for the program’s annual recital. More than 400 students, aged 2½ – 14, perform tap, jazz, hip-hop and ballet pieces that they’ve been rehearsing for months. “The recital is the culmination of the Winter/Spring session. We look forward to it every year,” says Youth Recreation Program Manager Suzy Palmer.
 
The remarkable creative talents of the children in our 
émigré community are on full display at the Tikvah School of Music & Dance annual concert, coming up on Saturday, June 7. Fifty-five students sing, dance and play instruments, dressed in colorful costumes that do justice to the theme, Tikvah Nation.

Photos from Pre-State Israel
Photos from Pre-State Israel
On the walls of the JCCSF’s Katz Snyder Gallery, haunting black-and-white photos show scenes from the early part of the last century. Gypsy women dance in Jerusalem. Jews pray at the Western Wall. Arab men play chess, and a Bedouin mother and daughter face the camera, their dowry of coins sewn into their clothing. Bridging the gap between art and ethnography, these photos are a sampling of the life’s work of Elia Kahvedjian, a photographer whose dramatic personal journey rivals the poignancy of his subject matter.
 
Born in Eastern Turkey, Kahvedjian lost his family at an early age to the Armenian genocide, lived on the street, was sold as a slave and finally arrived in Nazareth, where at the age of 10 or 11 he was exposed to photography for the first time. It would become his life, his bread-and-butter in the form of wedding and bar mitzvah photos but also his passionate vocation: recording for posterity the people and places of pre-state Israel. “The photos take us back in time,” says Lenore Naxon, Director of the Eugene & Elinor Friend center for the Arts. “But they’re also timeless.”
 
On May 7 Kahvedjian’s granddaughter, Laura Dirtadian, shared her memories of her grandfather at a lecture and gallery tour. He died in 1999 at the age of 89, but his photographs live on, transporting us to a world that might have been forgotten without the skill and passion of this remarkable man. The photos, on loan from the Kahvedjian family, are on display through June 21.
Showcase 2014 Rocks the House
JCCSF Showcase
This year’s annual JCCSF Showcase fundraiser was a rockin’ success thanks to our generous community coming together to support the JCCSF’s programs. On Thursday, May 15, Kanbar Hall rang with the sounds of live renditions of Beatles songs, courtesy of The Fab Four.
 
And the crowd went wild. Revelers in Beatles-inspired dress sipped cocktails like the Yellow Submarine, rocked and rolled on the dance floor, and hobnobbed over post-dance dessert. The annual event, now in its 6th year, raised a total of $675,000 
 vital funds that allow the JCCSF to keep essential programs accessible to the community.
 
“The energy in Kanbar Hall that night was amazing,” says Executive Director Barry Finestone. “The JCCSF is so grateful for the support we received from individuals and businesses. Together, and only together, can we ensure the success of this important San Francisco institution and continue serving our incredible community. It was truly a great night for an even greater cause.”
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