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Shmattes (www.shmattes.org) is an exhibition project that explores the issue of cultural Jewish identity through t-shirts. These t-shirts have been acquired from all over the contemporary Jewish world-- eBay auctions, bat and bar mitzvahs, youth conferences, independent visual artists, among many other sources. The project's goal is to "track" through these t-shirts the ways in which individuals and institutions deal with the question of Jewish identity when that identity is not about religion. As t-shirts are cheap to make and sell and offer limitless design possibilities, these items provide an exceptionally good look at how people are creatively dealing with the question of Jewishness. Ultimately, Shmattes aims to provide a visual and tactile launch pad for conversations about cultural Jewish identity through the display of these t-shirts.
February 28, 2015
February 27, 2015
Elan spent most of his childhood growing up between Providence and Kibbutz Alonim, Israel. He is of both Mizrakhi and Ashkenazi descent and speaks both Hebrew and Arabic. After graduating from Providence public schools, Elan received his B.A. from Wesleyan University where he majored in History with a focus on the Middle East, minored in International Relations, and studied abroad in Egypt. After college Elan moved to Ramla, Israel for a period of two years where he taught English in diverse settings, cooked and served at an Israeli-Palestinian restaurant, worked as a counselor at the Open House Peace Camp, and coordinated communication and conflict resolution workshops for Columbia University's Earth Institute. Elan returned to Providence last year and has been working as Director of Youth Programs at Rhode Island for Community and Justice, a local social justice non-profit. He is passionate about history, interfaith and intercultural learning, peace and nonviolence activism, and the roles that these play in Judaism and in Israel. His diverse experiences in Israel and the Jewish diaspora give him unique insight into Jewish and Israeli culture, and inform his own identity as a Jewish-Israeli-American. He is excited to join the Brown and RISD community and share his own experiences while learning from others. Elan enjoys soccer, salsa dancing, and the outdoors. If you have any questions about Israel, Hillel's Taglit-Birthright Israel trips, or other Israel travel opportunities, don't hesitate to reach out.
Marshall Einhorn is a former software consultant, with a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from MIT. While he took a somewhat windy career path to Hillel and Jewish communal work, his time in the for-profit world both prepared him for his role and allows him to appreciate the gift of being passionate about his work each day. Marshall brings the pluralistic passion that was sparked as a student leader at Tufts Hillel to his work at Brown RISD Hillel, where he seeks to help students forge a deep and abiding relationship to Jewish life and to one another. Marshall lives in Providence with his wife, Deborah, and their three children, who firmly believe that the foosball table is the greatest thing about the Glenn and Darcy Weiner Center.
Anna Gershman is responsible for running the financial aspects of the foundation and managing the building. Anna received her MBA from Bryant University. She is a CPA and worked in public accounting before joining the staff at Brown RISD Hillel. Anna emigrated to US with her husband and son in 1988. Prior to that she practiced dentistry in St. Petersburg, Russia. She received a DMD from Pavlov Dental School of Leningrad. She is interested in photography and music.
Born and raised in Providence, Abby has now returned to RI after receiving her BA in Psychology and Human Development from the University of Maryland, College Park. She was involved in an a cappella group and in the tour guide association, both of which gave her constant opportunities to talk a lot and engage with people – her two favorite activities! Having grown up in this community, Abby is excited to serve as the new Engagement Associate at Brown RISD Hillel. When she’s not playing Jewish geography you can find her at the gym, singing in a Rhode Island gospel choir, or eating FroYo on Thayer St. Abby would love to meet as many students as possible, whether you have already found the place Judaism and Hillel play in your college experience, or are still trying to explore. Feel free to shoot her an e-mail, meet her for coffee or FroYo, or stop by Hillel when she’s working at the front desk.
Abby comes to Brown RISD Hillel after an advancement career that includes Columbia and Yale Universities, Lifespan, and smaller RI nonprofits. Originally from the NY-metro area, Abby attended Smith College and did her graduate work at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. Abby's main focus is on forging and stewarding philanthropic relationships to advance the mission of Brown RISD Hillel. Being with Hillel allows Abby to continue her own Jewish journey while working with a dynamic team of trustees and staff in an incredible setting. During off hours Abby can be found with her children as close to a shoreline or ski mountain (green or blue trails only) as possible, usually with their rescue dog, Eli.
Alisa Kotler-Berkowitz is happy to be back at Brown RISD Hillel after working here in the 1990s and then spending time in Israel and NYC. Alisa is Hillel's Director of Engagement. In this position, she coordinates projects that engage students who don't initially seek Hillel out - including an internship program and alternative break projects. She loves working with the amazing students and the incredible staff here at Brown RISD Hillel. When Alisa's not at Hillel, she's hanging out with her family, volunteering at the Jewish Community Day School of RI and working in her freelance photography business.