What it was really titled was “Tent: Encounters with Jewish Culture”, a new program started by the Yiddish Book Center. The program aims at showing how a commitment to Jewish culture can be a portal into deeper and more inspired Jewish self-awareness—and ultimately professional development.
In 2014, 10 Tent seminars, taking place in New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, and the South, will gather twentysomethings who are passionate about food, comics, music, journalism, fashion, social justice, art, history, and contemporary Jewish culture. Applications are available and deadlines are fast approaching: http://tentsite.org/apply
Twenty applicants will be accepted for each of the week-long programs. Tent is offered free to all accepted applicants. Each of the seminars will explore aspects of modern culture through a Jewish lens. Tent programs are designed to help young people to discover how much of what’s exciting in contemporary America from stand-up comedy to serious literature, from pop music and theater to film, law, and cuisine – have rich Jewish histories.
To compliment the morning lectures, Tent arranged to have an established figure in the Los Angeles comedy scene do a question and answer session with us. One question I recall was asked of Simpsons writer Ken Levine, “what’s the best way to network in the comedy scene?” Levine replied, here’s what not to do: “shortly after a parent died, I was at the funeral home picking out a casket, and one of the funeral home workers asked me if I would read his script.” Point noted, Ken.
We also met with a writer from The New Yorker, an improv workshop from a former Saturday Night Live performer, and several television actors.
By the end of the week, I could hardly stop repeating to my new friends, “If I found out about this program next week, I would be SO jealous of me.” Modest? No. Honest? Definitely.
And now, eight months later—-and a week before I move to LA to begin a dream career in a new city—- I am confidant that the new friends I made, the introspective Jewish identity I cultivated, and new career goals I visualized while at Tent Comedy will serve me splendidly on my next journey.
If you haven’t already checked out the 10 programs in 2014, do it now–and if you haven’t applied do that now too. Where else will you get the chance to spend a week with a cohort of like-minded Jews–and it’s all free!