Power of Music and Art, Resiliency of the Human Spirit, Will to Survive
As we near the end of 2022, it is a time to reflect on all that we have achieved. People around the world continue to fight for the freedom to express themselves, stand up to persecution, and protect democracies. The will of the people is strong.
The Jüdische Kulturbund Project strengthen these values in the creative efforts in which we engage with artists, educators, and youth around the world. In this newsletter, we are excited to share with you the vibrant, inspiring, and evocative projects over the summer and autumn that included HANNAH’S DANCE; KENYA GIRLS SHARE DIGITAL STORIES; and WHO AM I. We hope to spark your interest and support in plans incubating in our pipeline for 2023, which include producing the documentary film ARTIVISTS developing a drama-dance production for HANNAH’S DANCE: THE LAST DANCE OF THE KULTURBUND; producing a feature documentary film ODESA: MUSIC IN WARTIME; and establishing a co-production in Germany for SINGER.
May we continue to increase peace and unity around the world.
—Gail Prensky, creator, executive producer, director
The Jüdische Kulturbund Project
Evelyn Summer (top, left) and Gail Prensky (top, right) lead a virtual session with teacher Jens Rosener and his class at Louise Henriette Gymnasium (bottom, left) and US Embassy’s Youth Outreach Coordinator, Heike Osterburg (bottom right).
The US Embassy in Berlin invited Evelyn Summer and Gail Prensky to lead three virtual presentations as part of HANNAH’S DANCE, which tells the story of Evelyn’s mother, Hannah Kroner, the talented and courageous dancer/choreographer in the Berlin Kulturbund. Inspired by Hannah’s story, the students from three German schools: Louise Henriette Gymnasium, Elsertscholoss Gymnasium, and Dreilinden Gymansium in the Berlin area conveyed the value of this story in showing how artists can influence positive change for society.
We thank US Embassy’s Kerstin Reichert and Heike Osterburg; teachers Jens Rosener, Rainer Kistermann, and Ralph Ulewski; and the Youth Council for making this program possible. We look forward to coming to Berlin to do more creative efforts with you.
Kenya Girls Share Digital Stories
September-October 2022, Reciprocal Exchange Awardees from the US — Mark Haney, Kaitlyn Haney, Noa Zimmerman, and Gail Prensky — joined Mandela Washington Fellows (2021) — Saum Idd and Viola Sang — in Kenya to lead a two-week immersive workshop called KENYA GIRLS SHARE DIGITAL STORIES, Fifteen girls from remote villages outside of Eldoret, Kenya joined the US-Kenya team at the Cheptebo Conference Center for an extraordinary cultural exchange and digital storytelling program that explored four themes: running, food, gender identity + positive self image, and period power. Their efforts culminated in impressive productions in two weeks — five collaborative digital projects and 13 individual digital stories, which you can view here.
Our next effort is to work with Nairobi film editor, Roselidah Taabu, to produce a documentary about Kenya Girls Share Digital Stories. We are calling this film “Hadithi”, which means “Stories” in Swahili. We hope this program will raise interest from other communities arund the world to inspire girls to use their voice and creative energies to ignite positive social change.
Remarks from Meg Whitman, United States Ambassador to Kenya Special thanks to the Reciprocal Exchange Component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship and United States Embassy in Nairobi for supporting our vision and efforts.
Special thanks to the Reciprocal Exchange Component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship and United States Embassy in Nairobi for supporting our vision and efforts.
Who Am I
Thank you to teammates Cindy Oxberry (New York, USA) and Leif Persson (Sweden) for initiating and creating a special video project for The Jüdische Kulturbund Project. Inspired by Maybe Not, written by South Sudan poet Sandrella Nyabol, Cindy and Leif invited women from Canada, Sri Lanka, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States who record themselves reciting the poem, which they then assembled to produce
WHO AM I.
Who Am I illuminates the strong, powerful force that changes the world everyday – WOMEN.
Bullets to Books
Jok Abraham Thon presenting a speech, welcoming new students to the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), August 26, 2022. In August, Jok Abraham Thon, our BULLETS TO BOOKS partner, started at UMBC as the university’s first Peaceworker Global Fellow while also enrolled in the Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Leadership Master’s Program. A week after his arrival at UMBC he was invited to give a speech to welcome new students to the university.
While Jok is at UMBC, his Promised Land School in Juba continues to expand on his vision, “changing minds from bullets to books” thanks in part to your generous donations. In addition to completing construction of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Building, Bullets to Books Library, and Digital Screening and Computer Center, Promised Land is now constructing a guest house on its Ubuntu campus to accommodate visiting scholars, artists, and athletes. The school recently launched a college-level department of computer training and an English course for adult continuing education. Plans are underway to create a scholarship program for youth interested in attending Promised Land.
For eight weeks, young scholars, college interns, and professional educators from Sweden, Kenya, South Sudan, and America came together for a second season of KULTUR STORIES. The workshop explored gender equality, food, and what freedom means to each of the participants who were tasked to produce collaborative digital stories about these themes. We welcomed guest artists Monirah Hashemi (playwright, theatre director, ); Evelyn Summer (writer, educator, and daughter of Kulturbund dancer/choreographer Hannah Kroner; Tazewell Thompson (actor, theatre director, librettist, playwright, and teacher); and Naomi Andre (musicologist and professor, concentrating on studies related to opera, gender, voice, and race) to present and reflect on the meaning of their art and its relevance to the themes on which Kultur Stories explores.
We celebrated the young scholars final projects on December 6th and will present them on The Jüdische Kulturbund Project’s web site soon after.
We are excited to launch Hair Stories, our newest digital storytelling program in January 2023. We will collaborate with Kimberly Moffitt, Dean of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at University of Maryland Baltimore County (left) and Aluel Atem, Development Economist who has a keen interest in Gender and Conflict Transformation in Juba South Sudan (right). Hair Stories will bring together 10 girls from Baltimore and Juba to explore how hair impacts our freedom and how we use hair to express ourselves and our identity.
IN THE PIPELINE
The Jüdische Kutlurbund Project continues to seek support to develop and produce the feature documentary film ARTIVISTS; the dance drama HANNAH’S DANCE; the documentary film ODESA; and the feature dramatic film SINGER
Other projects are incubating that include collaborations in California, Argentina, and South Sudan.
Uproot: Music from Asia Minor
Feb 3, 2023
The Greek Chamber Music Project present UPROOT, a program of songs and stories from Asia Minor. The concert commemorates the centennial of the Asia Minor Catastrophe and subsequent Greek-Turkish population exchange, historical traumas that leave fractures on our collective memory. Uproot features modern arrangements of Greek music from the region, celebrating this vibrant musical heritage and capturing the refugee experience through song. The program weaves histories and personal stories throughout, generating a universal dialogue about the impact of forced migration and building a bridge to the experience of modern-day refugees. RSVP to the live stream
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Meteopa Productions, LLC d/b/a The Jüdische Kulturbund Project is a District of Columbia limited-liability company operating through a fiscal sponsorship with Players Philanthropy Fund, a Maryland charitable trust recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (Federal Tax ID: 27-6601178). Contributions to The Jüdische Kulturbund Project are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
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