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Congregation Beth El – Keser Israel Events – December 2021

Bluegrass Music

The Bluegrass Characters Revue will present “A Tribute to Phil Zimmerman and Stacy Phillips” at BEKI on Thursday, December 23 at 7:30 pm.  Also performing is Kol Kahol, a group of young musicians drawing inspiration from bluegrass musicians like Phillips, as well as contemporary Jewish bands such as the Klezmatics, the Moshav Band, and Nefesh Mountain.

Stacy Phillips

When Phillips died in June 2018, his band, which had been called Stacy Phillips and His Bluegrass Characters, continued the tradition of this annual concert, led by Phillips’ longtime collaborator and bandmate Phil Zimmerman, but Zimmerman died in April 2021.  This year’s performance by the remaining Characters will be a tribute to both Zimmerman and Phillips.

One of the members of Kol Kahol, violinist, bassist, and vocalist Sofia Chiarandini, was Phillips’ student and a veteran of the annual Bluegrass Characters concert.  A classical as well as bluegrass violinist, she is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music.

The doors to BEKI will open when the hall is ready for seating, around 7 pm.  Masks are required for all audience members; no food or beverages will be allowed.  There is no charge for admission, but the musicians will pass the hat.

Melodies for Prayer

Ethnomusicologist Rachel Adelstein will offer a 6-part program on Mondays at 8:00 pm, starting January 10, focusing on the origins and the evolution of tunes for Jewish prayers.  Adelstein, who received her PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of Chicago, regularly offers classes at BEKI about Jewish music.  Tune in for some or all of the sessions, provided with support from the Morris & Sara Oppenheim Fund for Sacred Music.  To request the Zoom link, email office@beki.org.

Tu Bishvat Seder

BEKI will celebrate Tu Bishvat, the New Year for Trees, on Sunday, January 16 with a Zoom Seder from 6:30 to 7:30 pm.  To fully participate, prepare a glass of wine or grape juice and a dish of three things that grow on trees, such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, oranges, apples, pears, or olives.  The program will offer songs, conversation, and videos to keep both adults and children engaged.  This is one of BEKI’s Synagogue Vegan Challenge events, supported by Vegfund.  To request the Zoom link, email office@beki.org.

Bruce Oren Art

The current exhibition in the BEKI galleries, “Entropy Warriors,” presents sculpture, photography and paintings by New Haven artist Bruce Oren.  A direct carver of stone, Oren begins carving without preconception, maquette or plan, letting the stone initially dictate its form.  After the stone is roughly carved, “the rock reveals its images hidden inside,” he explains.  “It’s nothing cosmic.  It’s like seeing shapes in clouds — a variety of natural gestalt closure.”  Some of his work plays on one’s mind seeing figurative images in random or abstract shapes.

The community is welcome to participate in a conversation with the artist on Saturday, February 5 at 12:30 pm; Sabbath rules will be observed.  The snow date is February 12.  Oren’s art is on display until February 26.  To arrange a time to visit the galleries, call the BEKI office at 203-389-2108 x114.

Located at 85 Harrison Street (corner of Whalley Avenue – Route 63 – in Westville)

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