Hanna and the Moonlit Dress -Coming Soon to the 14th Street Y

 We often have excellent, edgy and finely reviewed plays in our 2nd floor Theater at the 14th Street Y, but rarely ones that are co-produced by the 14th Street Y’s LABA, nor starring one of our own wonderful teachers!

You may know Mik Manenti from her weekly classes at the Y, “Musical Movement with Mik”.   Not only is she a wonderful teacher but a very talented performer! 

We’re so pleased that she’s joining  Israeli Children’s TV Star Adi Ezroni, and Shakespearean Powerhouse Rhadi Hughes-Davis in this imaginative and original production.


 Fold, cut, snap, glue – create a dress, create a world! Woken’ Glacier Theater Company and LABA: The National Laboratory for New Jewish Culture at the 14th Street Y present the premiere of the musical theater adaptation of the famous Israeli children’s book “Hanna’s Shabbat Dress,” by Itzchak Damiel. Hanna and the Moonlit Dress will run at the Theater at the 14th street Y in January 2012.Join Hanna and her friends, including Edna the cow, Zuzzi the dog, the Coalman and the Moon, in an interactive musical theater experience. Hanna helps a stranger, and in the process accidently dirties her white dress, newly sewn by her mother for Shabbat.  Her distress is relieved, however, when she discovers the magic of a good deed. Children will help create the world of the play by crafting paper masks, costumes, and set pieces with the actors.

Click HERE to purchase tickets and click HERE for more info on the show!

This Special rate for Y members is just $12 a ticket!  Please present your photo ID at the box office when you pick up your tickets.

Performance Schedule:Saturday, January 7 at 12:00pm and 4:00pmSunday, January 8 at 12:00pm and 4:00pm 

Friday, January 13 at 4:30pm 

Saturday, January 14 at 3pm and 5pm 

Sunday, January 15 at 12:00pm and 4pm 

Performances at the Theater at the 14th Street Y

344 East 14th Street

(Between 1st and 2nd Ave) 


Bringing in the Light

My Dad is Jewish.  My Mom is a  liberal hippie Christian.  I grew up knowing that I was both.  Every year in December, I got to experience the complete holiday season .  I lit Chanukkah candles with my family and I decorated the Christmas tree.  I made ornaments in school and told everyone about the miracle of the 8 days.  I felt no hesitation about taking part in every holiday celebration around me.  If someone wanted to go caroling, I was there!  If I met someone who was Jewish, I proudly piped up, “me too!”.  

In December it seemed, I was all things.

One of the reasons I love this time of year, is because it’s all about light in the darkness, warmth in the cold, plenty when the harvest is over. It’s like an ‘in your face’ celebration.  There will be more warmth from this oil!  There will be peace and divinity embodied in a baby (and by the way, you were ALL innocent peaceful babies once so maybe it’s in you too), at this time when the darkness can convince us that we should live through fear, rather than faith.

Tonight, 14th Street Y Staff, kids from our afterschool, and whatever members might want to join us will be lighting our menorah in the lobby.  We will be joyous, we will sing loudly,we will be Christians and Jews and Muslims and Atheists and Unitarians and Hindus.   We will be humans celebrating faith rather than fear. We’ll celebrate together the bringing of the light.

 Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y. 


At the 14th Street Y, we are proud to host LABA, the National Laboratory for New Jewish Culture.  LABA means lava in hebrew, and is also a play on the word laboratory, which LABA in so many ways, is. 

LABA is a think tank, a study group, and inspiration for artists who study ancient text and then create wonderful art for our children’s programs, our galleries, and our LABA festival each year, among other things. 

This is reposted from the Laba Journal:  www.labajournal.com, and features many of our wonderful members!  enjoy.


Noah Leads Us From Blueberry Island to the Empire State Building
by Karen Loew

“Noah’s Ark” by Edward Hicks

Once upon a time…a flood covered the entire Earth. A number of humans and animals floated in a ship until the water receded. Then they left the ship and re-started Creation.

Noah’s Ark is the ultimate mythological space: One that carries special imaginative power, so strong that we suspend the prosaic question of whether it really existed, of whether the story really happened.

I spoke with folks around the Y, some of whom had reactions to the “realities” of the Ark itself. Others volunteered their personal mythological places.

See how they answered one of these two questions about Noah:

Your Place: Noah’s Ark is a mythological space that’s proved resonant across the ages, inspiring every kind of artwork and story. Is there a mythological place that you sometimes visit in your imagination? Tell us about it and why it speaks to you.

That Space: Noah’s Ark held Noah’s family and all the animals for many months (well past the rainfall for 40 days and 40 nights) as the Earth was flooded. Imagine…What would it be like, to actually be in Noah’s Ark?

  Grey Colston, 7

from the Lower East Side

At the Y: I’m in the Afterschool Program Enrichment Class

Your Place

“It’s not imaginary, but I do like the Empire State Building. That’s why I built it. It’s the tallest building in New York City. It’s easy to build with Legos.

I went to the top. I felt like I was falling from the top of the world.”

  James Huang, 26

from Marine Park, Brooklyn

At the Y: I work as a fitness monitor

That Space

“I’m curious how it’s organized: The actual architecture, the compartments, where are the animals going to stay. The humans, where are they going to stay? The actual dimensions of the ship, how many animals are actually included. There are so many different types of species: thousands, hundreds, millions. How do humans and animals live together, how are they separated, the logistics of it.

When people mention about Noah’s ark, I tend to see it as a cartoon. If it’s real, how would it pan out?”

Bina Mozell, 89

from Stuyvestant Town

At the Y: I swim, work out in the gym, take classes in Yiddish conversation and Great American Plays

 Your Place

“When you say mythology, I’m thinking of something else … in New  Hampshire, when I got to swim better. And I would swim across a lake, to something we called Blueberry Island. For many summers, with my husband. When we got to the island, I’d pick up all the blueberries, and walk in deeply, and rise out, under the pines.

Even though it was real, it was my mythology.

And I’d get real warm, hot, lying in the pines. It was very sensual.

I’d use that at the dentist when I used to have pain. It worked for a long time.”

Manuela Salinas Bonil, 9

from Stuyvesant Town

Séamus Lee Henry, 7

from Williamsburg

At the Y: We’re in the Afterschool Program Enrichment Class

That Space

 What would it be like…?

Seamus: Scary.

Manuela: ‘Cause there would have to be jaguars.

Seamus: There might not be a lot of place for bathrooms.

Would it be exciting?

Manuela: Yes, that you actually get to live instead of die. To save the people you love. And God actually communicates to you.

Lauren Kent, 29

from Kips Bay

At the Y: I take Punk Rope class, work out in the gym

Your Place

“We had a country house in Massachusetts, so there was a little lake there. Me and two of my cousins … one of my cousins would be our ‘keeper,’ or our human. The cousin that was our human would gather food for the other two. And we would, like, go hunting.

We would play that game all the time. From age 8 to 12, maybe? The three of us. And we would kind of rotate the person who would prepare the food while the other two would go hunting. We would gather sticks and plants around the water. And we would pretend to cook the food.

There was a man-made lake that was fed by a stream. It was a very shallow stream with a lot of rocks, and plants growing around, so we could kind of hop around on the rocks and do that.

It was just like, ‘let’s pretend to be animals.’ It was always in the same place. So I guess it was a mythological kind of place.”

BUSTED! The Top Six

Bust the Top 6 Excuses for Skipping Exercise During the Holidays!

 Our Director of Health, Fitness and Recreation, Michael Meehan is also an ACE certified Personal Trainer.  He suggested this great blog from ACE (American Council on Exercise) for tips on how to keep motivated to exercise during this crazy, busy, cold, and delicious season.  I already found 4 excuses that I have been using lately, so if you’re in love with your excuses,  beware!

Holiday season comes with great cheer, but it also comes with alcohol and calorie-laden parties, sweet treats and busy travel schedules — all of which can make good excuses for why you can’t keep exercising.

If you’re already convincing yourself that you can’t possibly fit in exercise this wintry season — because it’s too cold, you’re too busy meeting family obligations, or traveling between family and friends — you need ACE’s tips on how to bust the 6 most common excuses.

Won’t it be nice to enter the new year without having to start your exercise program from scratch and without extra holiday weight gain? Exercise will also help you beat holiday stress and keep energy levels up!


EXCUSE: It’s too cold.


Surely, with the temperatures dropping and the holidays being just around the corner, Mother Nature becomes a great excuse to avoid the gym or experience the great outdoors. If this is the case for you, bring the gym home — literally.

Stair steps, chairs, your living room floor, and doorways can all be easily converted for exercise. Use these body-weight-only exercises to keep your exercise routine on track.


EXCUSE: I don’t have the time.


With holiday gift-shopping, get-togethers, cooking, hosting and entertaining family members, time is more precious than ever. If you feel like you’re too busy to fit in regular exercise, try combining exercise with some of your daily activities.

Park your car further away from the entrance at the mall; set up walking business meetings; take your dog for an extended walk; and create workouts with your co-workers during lunch. Recruit your family for fun, aerobic activities, such as taking brisk walks, engaging in a friendly snowball fight or visiting the public ice skating rink, the ski slopes or playing Nintendo Wii Sports video games. Physical activity is a great way to relieve stress, create team spirit and tighten emotional bonds.


EXCUSE: But I need to travel and can’t take the gym with me.


If you’re traveling this Holiday season, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans will be on the road or in the air, but that’s still not a good enough excuse to stick your exercise routine on the back-burner!

People who travel for extended periods of time in an airplane should stretch to avoid deep vein thrombosis, a potentially life-threatening disorder that occurs when a blood clot forms, and create an action plan to incorporate active breaks during extended car travel.


EXCUSE: I’ll start fresh in January


The new year does mean new beginnings, but wouldn’t it be nice to start it with a head start? New Year’s resolutions are full of promise, but very few people actually keep them. By staying active through December, you can avoid the common new year pitfalls of doing too much too soon, which can often lead to burn-out or injuries.


EXCUSE: I can’t get motivated when it’s so dark.


If you’re telling yourself, “I can’t hit the running trails in the mornings, because it’s still dark outside,” or say “I may as well drive home after work because it’s dark,” it may be time to recruit an exercise buddy or hire a personal trainer. Having the accountability and companionship may be just what you need to stick to the workout on your calendar — even when it is cold and dark outside.

If you can’t find a workout buddy, try a group exercise class like indoor cycling, Zumba and boot camp. The classes might add some needed variety — and fun — to your routine, too.


EXCUSE: I have so many holiday parties to attend!


Yes, it’s definitely tough to stay on track when temptations like holiday treats are ubiquitous. While there is nothing wrong with splurging a little, you’re bound to feel better following a healthy diet while limiting your alcohol intake.

Useful tricks for party-goers include bringing your own healthy treat like a veggie platter; eating something healthy before going to the party; drinking a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage; staying away from the dessert tray; paying close attention to portion sizes; and avoiding going back for seconds.

Also, exercising before festivities helps prevent unwanted weight gain and fosters well-being, so try to fit in 30 minutes before you get ready for that party. If you don’t have 30 minutes to go for a brisk walk, try breaking it up into three 10-minute walks!

Marion Webb is the writer and editor for the American Council on Exercise and is an ACE–certified Personal Trainer and an ACE–certified Group Fitness Instructor. To leave comments, please share them below. For specific fitness-related story ideas, please e-mail her directly at marion.webb@acefitness.org.

Not Just Another…

By now you’ve probably got an email or have seen the posters about the 14th Street Y Annual Campaign.    I know what it’s like to get a lot of letters about a lot of worthy causes.  Like you, I consider myself a fairly generous person, and like you I’ve got a lot of expenses.  It takes a lot to keep a person or a family going in New York City, and extra cash isn’t easy to come by. 

All True.

So indulge me a minute and let me tell you why I gave an amount that was do-able for me to the 14th Street Y Annual Campaign. 

It’s no secret that my family is at the Y all the time, even when I’m not working.  I work out, take the fitness classes and utilize the babysitting.  My daughter goes to Preschool here, and my son is a preschool alum who now goes to the Afterschool program every day.  On Saturdays, we take Big Fisha nd Seahorses in the pool.  We do the summer camps, play on the roof, swim at family swim and generally stay sane and healthy because of the Y. 

As I’ve mentioned before, I have been a part of the Y staff for a decade of incredible change and growth in our community.  When I first began teaching fitness here I only knew that I was happy to be teaching in a place where I truly fit in and loved my students and the members of the 14th Street Y.    Back when I was a single in the city the Y was ‘my place’.  Now that I have a family it is ‘our place’. 

I don’t know what I or my family would do without the 14th Street Y .  I do know that support, in whatever amount, $18, $36, $360, whatever, means simply that I support the Y.  This  message of support goes farther than we can imagine. 

It’s for this reason that I am supporting the Annual Campaign, and asking you today to consider doing the same.

When the community supports the Y in this way, the Y can continue to grow and enhance already exceptional programs, provide scholarships, bring great suggestions from our members to life (like WiFi in the lobby and automatic front doors),  and continue to serve this amazing East Village neighborhood that we’re all proud to call home.

 You can stop by the service desk or visit www.14StreetY.org/donate and make a donation today.  You can also direct your gift to the program of your choice or wherever the Y needs it most.

 If it isn’t clear enough by now, let me just say that I am so proud to be a member of this community as well as being a member of the Y team.  I am honored to be joining with you in making the Y better, stronger, and more sustainable. 

Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y (and a 14th Street Y Member!)


Yes!  it’s true! 

Last year, the Theater was proud to host a workshop and filming of the original show Twilight: The Musical.  That’s right- I am talking about those famous vampires and their various human and werewolf friends.

We had a lot of fun while they were here- some of our staff members even participated in the filming as “enthusiastic fans” cheering the vampires on. 


We checked in with the creators of the show, and were thrilled to hear that its going on to Times Square this winter, in a benefit performing for Blessings in a Backpack, (http://www.blessingsinabackpack.org/), which helps feed hungry elementary school students when they are not at school. 


See below for a video of highlights of the show, all filmed here at the Theater at the 14th Street Y.




“It was such a joy getting to workshop Twilight: The Musical (a parody) at The Theater at the 14th Street Y,” said show creator and star Ashley Griffin. “I tell everyone that The Theater is the best kept secret in NYC. Not only is it a beautiful facility, but the staff are so supportive. I’m so grateful to have started with this show in such a wonderful home, and having the support of The Theater was hugely instrumental in developing this piece to the point where it can move on, and hopefully have a successful life in NYC.”


Here is info on the show in January -hope to see you there!

Liz Ulmer, Moxyrah Productions, and Dreamcatcher Entertainment are aiming to present a one-night only concert reading presentation of the parody Twilight: The Musical January 16th, 2012 at 8pm to benefit national charity organization Blessings in a Backpack. The concert will be directed by Gabriel Barre, with music direction by David John Madore, and will presented at New World Stages in Times Square.   Buy tickets here: http://www.telecharge.com/BehindTheCurtain.aspx?ProdID=8718   Twilight: The Musical is a parody of the Twilight saga in the vein of Urinetown and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Twilight: The Musical examines our culture of obsession through the story of outsider Bella Swan who risks everything when she embarks on a star-crossed romance with vampire Edward Cullen.

Becky Skoff is the Manager of LABA (National Labratory for New Jewish Culture) and the Theater of the 14th Street Y

This week in our Theater: OPEN STUDIOS!

Ever stared at an art piece and wondered what the process was to put it together?   This week, our LABA Fellows are in the Theater, experimenting and rehearsing exciting new pieces in development.


The picture features the innovative video technology/shadow puppet work being developed by LABA artist Zvi Sahar.  Zvi uses live video feed projections to integrate miniature puppetry, live visual art installations, and actors into a unique theater piece.  The Open Studios gave Zvi a chance to experiment with the help of our talented theater technical staff.  Look for the premiere of his new piece at our Blueprint Festival May 17-19, 2012.

Another piece rehearsing in the theater this week is Hanna and the Moonlit Dress, an exciting new children’s musical coming to the 14th Street Y in January.  The show is based on the beloved Israeli children’s book ” Hanna’s Shabbat Dress.”  Join Hanna and her friends, including Edna the cow, Zuzzi the dog, the Coalman and the Moon, in an interactive musical theater experience.  Hanna helps a stranger, and in the process accidentally dirties her white dress, newly sewn by her mother for Shabbat.  Her distress is relieved, however, when she discovers the magic of a good deed. Children will help create the world of the play by crafting paper masks, costumes, and set pieces with the actors.

For more information on the LABA artists, visit http://www.labajournal.com/.