WORD GRANT 2022: BRUCE GELLER MEMORIAL PRIZE
Word: Bruce Geller Memorial Prize is an annual award designed to support projects that explore the meeting points of Jewish ideas and ideals, contemporary practice and texts.
Over the past few years we have had both the opportunity of bridging geographical and social differences, and the challenge of finding tolerance towards singular and non-conforming voices and identities.
This year’s theme is RESILIENCE and AJU’s Institute of Jewish Creativity (IJC) is pleased to support projects that approach Jewish culture from a variety of perspectives and disciplines.
Join us online to celebrate their grantees and explore their projects.
Daniel Rothman & Halina Kliem
In response to Resilience, we draw on Rabbi Moses Hyamson’s 1925 Second Treatise on Examination 5, Duties of the Heart, which reflects on G-d’s gift of rain. Living in times of drought, Ballona freshwater marsh, part of Los Angeles’s last remaining wetlands, is a reminder of life’s beauty and fragility. We are creating a multipart work that follows it through the seasons, integrating all forms of art and citizen science with regional collaborations.
Mort Rye, a children's history TV show host (in the vein of Bill Nye), breaks in the middle of an episode on the 1950's Iranian coup. Rooted in his deep historical knowledge and inspired by Amos, the great prophet, he refuses to tell another pro-American story just for ratings. In this play, Adler explores the implications of assimilation and the perceived meaning of patriotism as an American Jew through the lens of children's entertainment.
Yoni Arbel is a multi-instrumentalist composer, songwriter and bandleader who raps in English and Hebrew. His project, Link in the Chain is a collection of eclectic and boundary pushing music that draws influences from Jewish tradition and a wide variety of musical styles
“The Girls, or, A Letter from the Ghetto”, is a play exploring a reported tragedy of the Holocaust, the self-destruction of 93 young women from a girl’s yeshiva in Poland. The girls chose death rather than be sent to a brothel for Nazi troops, according to a mysterious letter translated from Yiddish and published in the NY Times in 1943. The play is a fictional exploration of the lives and deaths of these innocent girls, based on a story sometimes questioned by historians.
‘Ubuntu B’yachad’ is a music project combining Jewish and South African music and texts recognizing the shared conviction that we are responsible for one another. Ubuntu (a concept important in Southern African society) which has been translated to mean, “I am because we are” closely resembles the teaching from Pirkei Avot, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?” The project celebrates resilience through the arts and highlights the contributions of South African Jews to the struggle against apartheid.
Tom Teicholz’s project “Lucky: A True Story of Jewish Resistance, before, during and after the Holocaust” will tell the story of his father, Bruce Teicholz, who escaped the Lvov (today Lviv) ghetto, was a resistance leader in Budapest, and after the War led a Jewish refugee organization in Vienna.
"Jewess: A Memoir" is my memoir about going from an atheist non-Jew to converting through an Orthodox beit din. It details how I came from a broken home and contended with depression, anxiety, and isolation, and ultimately found fulfillment and meaning through Judaism.