It’s  the  first week of Summer Camp at the 14th Street Y!

At the Y, we’re very proud of our three award winning camps.  Our Toddler camps began on Monday, and it’s already been an amazing week.  On Thursday, both New Town Day Camp (ages 3.5-5) and New Country Day Camp (K-8th grade) begin.

All of our  camps fill summer days with sun, water play, new friends, activity and memories that last a lifetime- from the first class without a caregiver to the first ride to big kid camp on bus.

We can’t wait to hear more about it, and we’ll be sharing their stories here!

Rooftop Fun!

Our Rooftop Playground is more fun than ever.

Look at our amazing afterschool kids having a blast with the new water play system. They were the first to try it. It’s kid tested AND approved!


The scaffolding outside our building will stay up while we add rooftop planters, seating, and a beautiful shade structure just in time for summer camp and Summer Rooftop Yoga (Monday and Wednesday evenings starting in July)!



This week our Parenting, Family and Early Childhood center is hosting OPEN PLAYTIME in our basketball gym.  Everyday at 9:15AM, kids who need something to do in those weeks between preschool and camp can be found running, jumping, throwing balls, crawling through hoops and building castles just like this one!

OPEN PLAYTIME ends this Friday, June 22nd.  Hope to see you there!

Thank you NY KNICKS!

Thank you NY KNICKS!

Thanks, KNICKS, for hosting our Basketball clinic on 6/6! Look at all these happy kids, and hey…is that KNICKS legend John Starks in the back?

All proceeds went towards our gym floor! Thanks so much to all who participated!

Meet the OPEN Artists!

We’re just four weeks out from OPEN: The New Jewish Theater Residency at the 14th Streey Y, and we here at the Jewish Plays Project are thrilled to introduce you to the artists who are remaking the face of Jewish theater.  But first, print this out, because we don’t want you to be confusedYou’ve got six chances to be a part of OPEN: 

June 23, 24, and 25                           
Full Stage Readings of SIX
Winner of the 2012 JCC Metrowest Jewish Playwriting Contest  

June 28, June 30, July 1
The Lab: Selections from 4 New Shows in 2 Hours
Golems of Gotham, Mahalla, Klauzal Square, Salt of the Earth

All shows feature our insanely fun Txt2Thtr technology, so bring your cell phone and be part of the show!  (Seriously, this whole endeavor is about opening up the process to you, the viewer, so you can tell us where we have it right, and where we need to keep looking. These 50 artists have something they want to say, and you can help them say it in a way that is powerful and contemporary and awesome.) So, without further ado, here’s Project Coordinator Arielle Parkas’s first resident artist interview with Zohar Tirosh-Polk.
See you at the Theater!

Best –
David, Becky, Ronit, Ben, Josh K., Josh B., Arielle, Dede, Kara and the entire OPEN Staff



Zohar, your play SIX was the winner of the 2012 JCC Metrowest Jewish Playwriting Contest, the prize of which was getting to take part in the OPEN Residency. Can you tell me what it was like on the final night of the contest?
We didn’t know what we were getting into! Of course Six had some rehearsal time but not all the rehearsal time we would want in the world to do this thing right and so everyone was excited and nervous. But the actors just succeeded in doing an amazing job and I think that the three plays ended up talking to each other in surprising and fascinating ways.  It turned out to be a really rich and well thought out evening of theater and the cherry on the top was that Six won which was unexpected and so wonderful.

Well we are all so excited that you did because it means we get a chance to see more of SIX! Part of the mission of the Jewish Plays Project is to advocate for plays that embrace and investigate the intersection of Jewish identity and the secular self. How does SIX fit into that mission?

Six both embraces and investigates our relationship with Israel, and those intersections where Israel is both a contemporary place and a holy land, and a historical and political place as well as a home. Six is about the beauty and complexity and the allure and the difficulties of Israel right now and relating to Israel from the American perspective as well as from the Israeli perspective. For me at least, my relationship with Israel is an ongoing process and it encompasses a deep deep love and many other complex feelings that involve guilt and longing and shame and a profound connection.

I can’t wait to see how you further continue to investigate these themes during the residency.  What are you most excited for about that upcoming process?

I am most excited to be working with such an amazing team of incredibly talented people!

Ian, the director, has worked with me on Six from its first draft. We are really looking forward to a more fully staged and embodied version of the play moving towards a production  – it is a very exciting moment for us as collaborators. Ron Guttman is an amazing actor and producer who has also been working on the play since that first reading. Ron, along with some of the other actors, were part of the team that helped Six to win the JCC Contest. Hani Fursteberg, who is been in many many Israeli TV shows and plays and films will also be joining us.

It’s going to be like a big love fest reunion!

About SIX
Directed by the New Group’s Ian Morgan
When an ex-pat Israeli returns home with her American boyfriend, they are both changed by the echoes of the past and the beauty and spirit of the present. Intertwining stories highlight connections between the complexity of Modern Israel and the fight for peace at the end of the 1967 war. Previous readings were held at The New Group, Cape Cod Theatre Project and San Francisco’s Magic Theatre.

OPEN is generously supported by a grant from the UJA-NY Federation Commision on Jewish Identity and Renewal’s Gen i Task Force, the Louis T. Roth Foundation, and private donors. The Jewish Plays Project is grateful for the partnership of JCC Metrowest (Alan Feldman, Executive Director, Carol Berman, Director of Arts) and the PresenTense Group.

ABOUT LABA: LABA is a Jewish house of study for culture-makers located at the 14th Street Y. 10 fellows — a mix of artists, writers, dancers, musicians, actors, and others — partake in a yearlong study of classical Jewish texts centered around a theme, and then interpret these texts in their work.


WHAT WE FIND THERE Reflections from Scholars and Others By Karen Loew


The question of what features make a city fit for a scholar prods us all to think about what we need or want in our city, our neighborhood, even our community center. What makes a place fit for me?

Related to another LABA project about the busy intersection at the Y’s front door – a short documentary called “Intersection: Babel” – we asked a variety of Y-goers how they feel about this urban crossroads. Taking off from the Baylonian Talmud text, we extrapolated: Does this intersection provide what it should? What about the surrounding neighborhood?

Some people (especially those under age 8) had less to say about the intersection, but were eager to talk about the Y. And Roberta Mendelson was born two blocks away, but chose to sing the praises of all of New York City.

Tractate Sanhedrin Folio 17b reads, “It has been taught: A scholar should not reside in a city where the following ten things are not found…” This frame elevates our petty likes and dislikes. People have needs, and different kinds of people – whether scholars, children, athletes or elders – have different needs.

I need beauty, love and fellow-feeling. The intersection of 14th Street and First Avenue is not the best place to look for it!

Keyanna McBryde, 8 From Baychester, Bronx At the Y: I’m in the afterschool program

What do you think about the intersection? There’s a lot of busy stuff, a lot of stores, a lot of places to buy stuff, like Dunkin’ Donuts. Usually when we’re walking, we see the Icee truck, and the ice cream.

Do you ever get to buy that stuff? Not really. Only with my mom.

What’s your favorite? Vanilla with sprinkles. From the ice cream truck.

Have you noticed homeless people? Yeah. They have boxes… sometimes people will donate to them and give them money. It’s kind of sad.

What do you like about coming here after school? They have cooking, my favorite class. And we get to have activities. It’s like a little break off from school.


Jose Flores, 29 From East New York, Brooklyn At the Y: I am a security officer, and also work out in the fitness center.

What do you think about the intersection? It’s horrible. If you’re walking, you’ve got the right of way all the time. If you’re in a car, forget it. You can never make a turn, go forward. The lights are too short. The turning signals are way off. It’s just horrible. It’s an accident waiting to happen, that’s for sure. I’ve seen accidents once or twice in there. A truck and a car.

It’s uglier than most intersections. I agree, it’s one of the worst ones that I’ve seen. And I’ve seen some horrible ones.

What would you add or subtract? Definitely no more distractions on that corner. You don’t need no more distractions, there’s enough. There’s the bus, there’s the McDonald’s, there’s the train…

How else would you simplify it? I would make no turning signals. Just straight. There’s too much traffic. No lefts at all.

Ella Mahoney, 7 From the East Village At the Y: I’m in the afterschool program.


What do you like about the neighborhood? Pretty much nothing. It annoys me.

What do you dislike about the neighborhood? It’s too noisy.

What would you change? Get rid of cars.

What else do you want to say? About the Y – that the Y has different sections. Like the gym, and the 4th floor, and the roof. It’s also cool because they have a theater.



Roberta Mendelson, 65 From Rockland County At the Y: I’m here to see the play “March.” My daughter Michal is stage manager.

I was born at Beth Israel Hospital, which used to be Manhattan General.

Any thoughts about this intersection?

The one thing I will tell you is that I avoid New York City in the summer as much as possible. I don’t like the way New York smells in the summer. The funny thing is, when I grew up in Brooklyn, that never bothered me, I was never aware of it, I was never aware of that breath of air that embraces you when you go near a subway station. It’s like from another planet.

And yet there’s no place like it. It’s still home, it’s always home. When I see Gray’s Papaya, even though I don’t particularly care for the hot dogs, it’s just something that says New York to me.

We just came back from spending six months in Florida. It’s not home. It doesn’t have the edge that New York has. … Last week we saw Porgy and Bess. Next week we’re seeing Evita. Not even London, not even Paris…New York is the city.

Clarissa Fara, 7 ½ From the East Village At the Y: I’m in the afterschool program.

How do you like the neighborhood? I really like it. I get to live really close to my best friend. (Ella) I just like living there. I’ve moved a lot. I’ve changed schools all my life.

Do you think you’re going to stay in one place now? Yeah. Because I go to Hunter. My parents said I’m going to stay there because it goes all the way up to high school.

What do you like about coming to the Y? That I can be with my friends, and run around.