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Hidden City Festival Reveals Revitalization of 'Little Shul'

May 31, 2013 By:
Greg Salisbury
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The interior of Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel. Photo by Joseph E.B. Elliott

On May 31 at 1 p.m., over a century after its founding, South Philadelphia’s Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel, the last “storefront shul” left in the neighborhood, becomes one of the focal points of the Hidden City Festival.

As reported last month in an article in the Exponent, the Fourth Street house of worship, affectionately known as “The Little Shul,” went to the festival organizers to propose that the two organizations work together on events that would take advantage of the synagogue’s location and history, which includes nearly being demolished in 2007.

The result of that collaboration will be on display this weekend with “Knit Lab,” an interactive knitting laboratory led by textile designer Andrew Dahlgren. Trained knitting machine techs will work with festival-goers to create a tapestry that will ultimately adorn the entire three-story façade of the building in a nod to both the history of Jewish South Philadelphia and of the local textile industry.

Beginning on June 3 at 8 p.m., the shul will also be the site of “Radical Jewish Music: A Concert Series.” The first of the three-concert series, produced in conjunction with Ars Nova Workshop, will feature the music of Masada Book Two – The Book of Angels, by composer John Zorn, as performed by Abraxas, an American-Israeli band with Sephardic and Moroccan influences.

The final part of the collaboration between Hidden City and Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel is a speaker series that will feature Counter Culture coffee, fresh bagels and different experts expounding on topics that are distinctly Jewish Philadelphian. The first event in the series is “Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Jews in America,” which takes place on June 2 at 10 a.m.

Knit Lab: May 31-June 2 (no machines will operate over Shabbat)

Sunday Morning Speaker Series: “Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Jews in America,” June 2; “Radical Jewish Philadelphia,” June 9; “Clarion, Utah and the Jewish Back-to-the-Land Movement,” June 16; “Release Party, reading and Brunch for My First Kafka,” June 23; “The SPHAs and Jewish Basketball,” June 30

Radical Jewish Music: A Concert Series: Abraxas: June 3; Volac: June 12; Moloch/Uri Caine

Hidden City Festival events at Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel
2015 S. Fourth St.

Hidden City Philadelphia Festival
267-428-0575

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