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Open Your Eyes Past Events


Roots and Routes: We all have Stories (2017-18)

Torah Mantle Dedication
Dec. 15, 2017

Dedication of two Torah mantles, including for the Yellin-Brant Torah - done with the participation of Temple members - for the Rothman Chapel.


We All Have Stories
Nov. 7, 2017

Enter the lively art of storytelling with our Storyteller-in-Residence Cindy Rivka Marshall as she performs Jewish tales and personal stories of her grandparent’s “Journey to America." Participants will be invited to share stories of their own “Roots and Routes.” No experience or preparation necessary. A performance, talk and workshop all in one.

Stories As Bridges: Connecting Across Differences
Oct. 22, 2017

Scholar-in-residence  Rabbi Ariel Burger came for an afternoon of Jewish learning and an invitation to use our personal stories for social change. Participants brought a "snack with a story" or a "nosh with a narrative" as we shared delicious foods from our communal history. At the end, people joined us to participate in a community stitching opportunity for our brand new Torah mantles.


Entering the Heart of Stories2016-17
Scholar/Artist-in-Residence, Rabbi Dr. Ariel Burger put his spin on stories and spirituality in a series of offerings. Programs included "The Jewish Love Affair with Learning" and monthly Havurah workshops.

Celebrating Creation:

Fall and Spring 2015-16

Destroyed synagogue rises again in "Raise the Roof" doc
Dec. 4, 2016
Hundreds of magnificent wooden synagogues in Poland existed until the Nazis burned them to the ground in 1939. Inspired by images of these exceptional 18th-century synagogues, area artists Rick & Laura Brown reconstructed a replica of the stunning, mural-covered Gwozdziec synagogue. This documentary captures the rebirth of the shul.

Gallery Talk and Reception: A Visit to the Pucker Gallery
May 12, 2016
Gallery owner Bernie Pucker offered a critical look at Jewish themes and values expressed in the work of Samuel Bak, David Aronson, Marc Chagall and Shraga Weil.


Film Series: A series on the Lives of Jewish Artists
Creativity: A Process or a Way of Life?

Sunday, March 13, 2016
Set in Paris in 1919, the biopic centers on the life of late Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, focusing on his last days as well as his rivalry with Pablo Picasso.

"Seymour: An Introduction"
Sunday, March 27, 2016
Seymour Bernstein started playing the piano as a little boy, and by the time he turned 15, he taught others. While Ethan Hawke''s gentle, meditative study is a warm and lucid portrait of Bernstein and his exceptional life and work, it's also a love letter to the study of music itself and a film about the patience, concentration and devotion fundamental to the practice of art.

Sunday, April 3, 2016
Mark Rothko, the Anglicized name of a Russian Jewish family, which immigrated while he was a child to escape the abusive Cossacks, initially followed the European painting tradition, but felt it failed to express the most meaningful emotions. After decades he developed an abstract style and got the reputation of the U.S.'s foremost painter by the 1950s.

Creative Shabbat Celebration!
Thursdays, March 3, 10, 17, 24, and March 31, 2016
Creative Shabbat Service on Friday, April 8

Taught by Cantor Peter Halpern and Temple members Barbara and Michael Hecht, the class explored traditions and innovations in the Friday night Shabbat service. The class then created a multi-sensory Shabbat experience, combining tradition, music and visual arts in a participatory Friday night service.

Creativity at Temple Shalom: Finding Inspiration in our Midst
Sunday, March 20, 2016
Temple members engaged in conversation about creativity.


Museum Tour and Discussion: Encountering the Boston Expressionists at Danforth Art
Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015
The event started with a careful look at the painting “Creation” by Lawrence Kupferman that inspired the tapestry covering the ark doors in our sanctuary. A conversation with curator Jessica Roscio and Rabbi Laura Abrasley on creativity and the Jewish spirit ensued.

Looking at Creativity Through a Jewish Lens
Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015
Award-winning poet Marge Piercy, klezmer musician Hankus Netsky and visual artist Michael Bogdanow joined in a conversation about “what makes creativity Jewish?”



Shine the Light Arts Series:

Spring and Fall 2014
Shine the Light was a celebration of the beauty and meaning of light in our Jewish tradition...A Temple-wide exploration inspired by the glorious stained glass windows in our sanctuary...A connected series of learning opportunities that included classes, workshops, exhibits and community visits using the arts to discover and explore the power of light with events designed for children, teens, adults and families.

Shine the Light Community Arts Festival
Sunday, Dec. 14
The community celebrated the power and beauty of light at the darkest time of the year. Arts performances, workshops and activities included

  • Hands-on Family Art Activities
  • Community Mosaic (to be displayed permanently at Temple Shalom)
  • Tours of Stained Glass Winds by Napoleon Setti
  • Art Exhibit: "Inspired by Light," curated by Sidney Hutter
  • Stained Glass Demonstration by Emily Bhargava
  • Blacklight Experience designed by Temple Shalom Teens

Candle-Making Workshop for Young Adults
Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014
Young adults connected for socializing and making a set of Chanukah candles to last the eight nights.

Film Premiere: “Let There Be Light”
Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014
The Open Your Eyes Fund sponsored the New England premiere of the award-winning documentary film “Let There Be Light” at West Newton Cinema. The moving film, which followed grand masters of light and glass as they create their final masterpiece, riveted the crowd. A Q & A with the film’s director, Peter Swanson, followed.

Shabbat Halleilu: Music and Art Inspired by Light
Friday Dec. 5, 2014
This musical Shabbat service for all ages, featured music about light specially arranged for the Halleilu Band and a children’s art activity inspired by the theme of light.

Teen Painting Class: Exploring Light in the Bible
Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014
During this three-week elective class taught by professional artist Tova Speter, high school students engaged in text study exploring light in the Bible and created paintings that were exhibited at the Shine the Light Festival on Dec. 14.

“Light of Reason”: Honoring Justice Louis Brandeis
Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014
This rich program of art viewing, history, study and conversation highlighted the recently dedicated outdoor sculpture by acclaimed artist, Chris Burden at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. Attendees then explored the legacy of Justice Brandeis and the “Light of Reason” with Dr. Stephen Whitfield of Brandeis.

Beginner Stained Glass Workshop for Young Adults
Nov. 10, 24, and Dec. 1, 2014
Inspired by Temple Shalom’s beautiful stained glass windows, adults in their 20s and 30s learned to design and create a stained glass panel for their own home. Professional glass artist Emily Bhargava taught the class..

Interfaith Tour of Stained Glass & Sacred Space
Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014
This unique tour brought together congregants of different faith traditions as they visited the sanctuaries of four different houses of worship in West Newton and learned how they use stained glass to create sacred space. The event culminated in our sanctuary with a discussion about stained glass.

Mosaic Mural Class
Sunday Nov. 9, 2014
This religious school six-week elective class enabled students in grades 3-6 to design and build a mosaic mural inspired by our sanctuary stained glass windows. Members of the community then added to the mural at the Shine the Light Festival on Dec. 14.

Make Your Own Glass Dreidel: Introduction to Flameworking
Tuesday, Nov. 4, and Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014
This in-demand class was held at Fiamma Art Glass Studio and taught about the long and rich history of Jewish glass-making. Students learned the basic skills of the ancient art of flameworking, manipulating molten glass using a torch as a heat source. Each participant created his/her own unique glass dreidel.

Make Your Own Glass Mezuzah: Introduction to Glass Fusing Workshop
Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014
A class about the long and rich history of Jewish glass-making and the fundamentals of kiln-formed glass, glass cutting and arrangement. Students then created their own one-of-a-kind mezuzah.

Docent Training: Sanctuary Stained Glass Windows
Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014
More than 20 Temple members received training to lead tours of Temple Shalom's beautiful stained glass windows. They learned about the art of stained glass from professional artist Emily Bhargava and explored the stories of the prophets reflected in the Temple's stained glass windows with Rabbi Neil Hirsch and Jewish educator Julie Vanek.The training prepared them to give tours at the December Arts Festival and on Friday evening services throughout 2015.

“The City Dark”: Documentary Film by Ian Cheney
Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014
Is darkness becoming extinct? Attendees explored our relationship to the stars and the night sky with this provocative film. A panel discussion with Rabbi Neil Hirsch and MIT physicist and astrobiologist Michael Hecht followed.

Solar Lantern Workshop for Young Adults
Sunday Oct. 19, 2014
Temple Shalom’s Young Adult community got their creative juices flowing by making their own solar lanterns.

“Seeing the Light”
Tuesday Oct. 14, 2014
This five-session interactive course (held Oct. 14, 21, 28, Nov. 4 and 18) taught by Mary Jane Suzman, read and discussed Jewish texts and commentary about light. Beginning with “Let there be light” from the first chapter of Genesis, the course included biblical, Talmudic, medieval and modern texts.

Charles J. Connick: Adventurer in Light & Color
May 4, 2014
The event was a tour of the “Charles J. Connick: Adventurer in Light and Color” exhibit at Historic Newton’s Jackson Homestead and Museum. Insights and discussion of this premier 20th century stained glass artist’s work was provided by Marilyn Justice, President of the Charles J. Connick Foundation. Connick’s windows appear in more than 20 Newton locations including churches, public libraries and Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

Early Events 2012-13

Final Wishes: A Panel Discussion on End-of-Life Conversations
June 12, 2013
The Open Your Eyes Fund hosted the “Final Wishes" program, a panel discussion on the importance of end of-life conversations with noted author and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ellen Goodman, and nationally recognized Jewish scholar and educator, Dr. Erica Brown.

Judaica Treasures at the Museum of Fine Arts: A private tour with Marietta Cambareri, curator of Judaica at the MFA
March 28, 2013
Members received a private tour of two remarkable pieces of Judaica, including a silver Hanukkah lamp made in Augsburg, Germany that dates from the 18th century, and the exquisite Torah crowns on loan from the Touro Synagogue in Newport, R.I., which were crafted by Jewish silversmith Meyer Myers in approximately 1765. Cambareri provided an insider’s view of the recent gift, which established a curatorial position at the MFA focusing on building a Judaica collection for the MFA.

King of the Schnorrers: A Klezmer Musical by Robert Brustein
Dec. 9, 2012
Tuneful and funny, “King of the Schnorrers” is a joyful piece of musical theater that recounts the history of the fading of the Yiddish Theatre. Written by National Medal of Arts award winning author and producer, Robert Brustein, this joyful klezmer musical was the kick-off event for the Open Your Eyes Fund with the premiere reading, original music composed and directed by renowned klezmer musician Hankus Netsky, directed by Obie-award-winning Melia Bensussen, with a full cast of Boston’s best musical theater professionals, including Brustein.

For more information on Open Your Eyes, visit the home page.
Learn more about the artistic Treasures of Temple Shalom.

Tue, January 23 2018 7 Sh'vat 5778