Saturday, October 15, 2005

the late Lubavitcher rebbe's house in Brooklyn


A global view lets us see differences among Jews


October 14, 2005

Busting stereotypes is the goal of "The Jewish Identity Project," an exhibit of 10 photography, video and multimedia projects commissioned by the Jewish museum. The show's assumption is that all of us think of Jews the same way. The male edition is a comedic composite of Jerry Seinfeld and Jackie Mason. The loud, obtrusive female version synthesizes Barbara Streisand and Mrs. Portnoy. Accordingly, all 13 artists involved dutifully point out that the majority of Jews don't conform to the cliches, but come in all colors and sexual orientations.


The funniest series is "Brooklyn Abroad" by Max Becher and Andrea Robbins. It begins with a shot of the late Lubavitcher rebbe's house in Brooklyn and then moves on to the group's headquarters in São Paulo, Brazil; Jerusalem; Los Angeles; and New Brunswick, N.J. - all of them replicas of, or variations on, that original abode on Eastern Parkway.

The Lubavitchers, it turns out, have taken a McDonald's approach to globalization, planting outposts of Brooklyn red-brick Gothic on foreign soil so that wherever they go their members might find the comfort of sameness.

Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.

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