In celebration of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the Holocaust Museum LA has teamed up with Reboot, an arts and culture nonprofit, to present a week-long public art installation, “The Ushpizin of the Silver Screen: Honoring the Visions & Voices of the Past,” in the museum’s memorial garden in Pan Pacific Park beginning Friday, Oct. 2, and ending Friday, Oct. 9.
“The Ushpizin of the Silver Screen” is a reinvention of the traditional sukkah as an old-time Hollywood movie house, projecting stories on screens to commemorate this time under quarantine and to give a voice to our elders, who are so greatly affected, explained staff at the Holocaust Museum LA. The exhibit will run through next Friday (the end of Sukkot). Visitors can look through the windows and view films of interviews with Holocaust survivors and older celebrities, including Norman Lear and Carl Reiner.
While honoring the legacy of Los Angeles, the exhibit focuses on the Sukkot tradition of the “Ushpizin” of inviting symbolic guests, both ancestors and friends, into the sukkah to honor stories of the past. While the sukkah will remain COVID-empty, the diverse Jewish stories and remembrances will be told and retold—though this year, in the digital space.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to work with Beth Kean and Holocaust Museum LA to present ‘The Ushpizin of the Silver Screen,’ a reimagining of the traditional sukkah as a public art exhibit to mark this moment in time and to give a voice to our elders,” said David Katznelson, CEO of Reboot. “Sukkot is traditionally a time to gather together with loved ones, to celebrate our relatives and ancestors of the past in a temporary dwelling. Even though this year will be quite different, we must continue to tell the stories we would ordinarily share but redefine how we do it.”
The installation will include interviews and images from Reboot’s Silver Screen Studios project with its three original series “Dispatches From Quarantine,” “Coming of Age” and “The Last Act” as well as “Voices of History” Holocaust survivor films from the museum’s collection. “Dispatches From Quarantine” is an inspiring look into the lives of the older legends we love, capturing oral history from celebrities, including the final interview of Carl Reiner before his passing, and a look inside the quarantine life of Larry King, Ellen Burstyn, Norman Lear and Tommy Chong. “Coming of Age” is a series of short documentaries about amazing seniors who continue to thrive in old age.
“Since March, we’ve developed innovative, socially distanced programs to engage the community in meaningful storytelling and give space for students, survivors and the public to use art to amplify their voices,” said Jordanna Gessler, Holocaust Museum LA’s vice president of education and exhibits. “Sukkot is a holiday of gathering—it is a time of community and conversation. We believe that this art installation will spark important dialogue not just around heritage and tradition, but also around current issues facing our community in a rapidly changing world that’s coping with the pandemic and responding to systematic racism. The Ushpizin of the Silver Screen embodies Holocaust Museum LA’s work to empower students to stand against antisemitism, racism and bigotry by teaching the critical lessons of the Holocaust.”
The exhibit will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, and admission is free. All social distancing protocols will be observed.
More information can be found at: https://holocaustmuseumla.org/the-ushpizin-of-the-silver-screen.
And for more information on Sukkot, we highly recommend this entertaining video from a well-known TV personality: Sukkot with Mayim Bialik | You know How I Know?
Finally, here are some little ones we know, who are not so little anymore, learning about Sukkot in 2003 and 2007, respectively. Happy Sukkot!