This evening we shared our impressions of the retreat — we felt that it was wonderfully-planned and executed — and we all enjoyed being with the artists from the five cities and exploring things together!
Tonight was Aviv’s evening to facilitate. During the summer Aviv directs the Tiferet arts program at the Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI) camp in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Tonight he shared with us the childrens’ exploration of Ecclesiastes/Kohelet from this past summer.
Kohelet — the writings — have been attributed to King Solomon, written over 3000 years ago. They are part of the third section of the torah, known as The Writings (K’tivim). Generally, we read Kohelet on Sukkot — it reminds us — like Sukkot — that although we are happy and are eating and drinking, that there is a temporal quality to life — to Sukkot. That although there is a frailty to life and to festivity we will rejoice nonetheless.
True, Kohelet seems depressed: “what has happened before will happen again; what has been done before will be done again: there is nothing new under the sun”…the words “Under the Sun” apparently are repeated twenty-eight times in the literature.
So — during the Tiferet summer program, the high-schoolers were taken to the Milwaukee Art Museum and, working in pairs, were asked to choose an art piece which spoke to them and reminded them of Kohelet — and then composed and performed pieces of music inspired by the art and their impressions of Kohelet. The resulting musical pieces had titles like, “Falling from Life, Kohelet Soup, Chasing the Wind, Each Leaf, Nothing New, Diamonds and Who’s Who”. The campers based their musical works on art works by Jules Olitski, Arshile Gorky, Salvadore Dali, Frank Stella and Max Ernst.
We viewed these pieces and listened to the performances of the young artists from OSRUI. Inspiring!