New Partnership Brings Storahtelling to the 14th Street Y

Community Center Forms Strategic Alliance with Cutting-Edge Arts Nonprofit In Response to Tough Times

screenIn a mutually beneficial move, The 14th Street Y and Storahtelling – a unique non-profit whose mission is to bring ancient Jewish texts and traditions to modern audiences through new media and the arts – have announced a new strategic alliance.

Storahtelling began the search for a strategic alignment with another non-profit that would help leverage ongoing infrastructure costs, and enhance their global programming by providing a local platform to reach new audiences on a regular basis and better serve the Jewish community.

“Storahtelling and The 14th Street Y have collaborated on many workshops and programs over the past 10 years, and we’ve always had a great synergy,” said Amichai Lau-Lavie, Executive Director of Storahtelling. “We’re excited to join forces in this new arrangement and reconnect with the downtown community and a larger audience.”

The 14th Street Y embraced the opportunity to support Storahtelling’s vital mission and programs. The established downtown community center is currently undergoing a major renovation, which will result in new state-of-the-art facilities including a new fitness center, new locker rooms and a remodeled lobby space. The “New”14th Street Y will also have an updated theater space as part of its long-term renovation plan, which will serve as a great resource to Storahtelling.

“We are delighted to welcome Storahtelling to the 14th Street Y family,” said Stephen Hazan Arnoff, Executive Director of the 14th Street Y. “They are a truly innovative organization that has recognized the need for new and dynamic programs that attract younger audiences and push the boundaries of the typical notions of Jewish community engagement.”

“Furthermore, the current economic downturn, coupled with the rapid decline in space for theater and the arts citywide, puts our new partnership in a great position to create new and exciting arts programming – with Storahtelling’s events and our soon-to-be revamped theater space – as there continues to be high demand for the arts & culture in our community,” said Arnoff.

The strategic alignment – which brings Storahtelling’s operations and staff to the 14th Street Y’s East Village location – further enhances the Y’s initiatives to develop fresh and innovative arts programming that engages the Jewish community. In 2007, they launched LABA, the National Laboratory for New Jewish Culture. This past Spring, the LABA Festival, a 12-day multimedia arts festival, was a huge success and brought a young, hip crowd into the Y. Another project of LABA, the Girls Theater Project, uses the transformative medium of theater to support preteen girls in explorations of what it means to be a Jewish girl today.

Storahtelling’s unique method of integrating Jewish education with the performing arts has transformed the way modern Jews are making meaning of their inherited legacy of stories and rituals, presenting a pioneering model for successful integration of sacred and secular in the modern marketplace of ideas. With a decade of trailblazing content in hand, Storahtelling begins its second decade refocusing its resources to empower local leadership worldwide with Storahtelling methodology towards systemic change and greater engagement with Judaic literacy.

The official kickoff event of this new alliance will be held on Saturday, September 12th, 2009, in preparation for the New Jewish Year and will include both an afternoon family program and an evening event for adults. On Saturday afternoon, Storahtelling artists will perform Like a Prayer, an original musical adaption of Biblical tales on the theme of forgiveness. As the sun sets, Storahtelling musicians will gather on the roof, led by Amichai Lau-Lavie, in a musical ritual that will say goodbye to 5769 and hello to 5770. Following the kickoff, Storahtelling events will be held at the 14th Street Y on Saturday afternoons on a monthly basis, and they will always be free to the public. These will include holiday celebrations and text study sessions for adults.

About: The 14th Street Y provides Manhattan’s East Village residents with a variety of community programs including a Fitness Center, Aquatics Program, a Preschool, Baby & Toddler classes, After School programs, Sports Leagues and Arts & Culture events. The Y is part of The Educational Alliance, a non-profit Jewish agency that serves people of all ages from every ethnic, religious, and socio-economic background. The Y is located at 344 East 14th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues. For more information, visit their Website.

Storahtelling is a New York City-based pioneer in Jewish education via the arts and new media. Through innovative leadership training programs and theatrical performances, Storahtelling makes ancient stories and traditions accessible for new generations, advancing Judaic literacy and raising social consciousness. Established in 1999 by Amichai Lau-Lavie, a Jewish mythologist, educator and performance artist, Storahtelling has been identified as a “trailblazer of the Jewish World” (B’nai B’rith magazine), inspiring “reverence and relevance” (the Washington Post) and hailed by Time Out NY as “Super Stars of David.” For more information, visit their Website.