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June 7, 2013

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PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 7, 2013 In crowdsourcing for weddings, new methods for an old idea Courtesy Nahanni Lazarus Ned Lazarus and Nahanni Rous stand in 2004 under a chuppah made from the fabric sheets brought by their guests. By Lilit Marcus munity is one that we created and are actively part of, it made sense that our wedding would be the same theme, with people leading different parts of the ceremony," Mel- polder said. Such participatory ap- proaches to wedding planning might seem like a feature of the information age but may be just the latest incarnation of an older Jewish tradition. "The word 'crowdsourcing' is a new word for an old thing," said artist Nahanni Rous,who NEW YORK (JTA)---When Amanda Melpolder began planning her wedding to Jeff Greenberg, she hoped the cer- emony would be unlike others. Melpolder had become involved in an independent minyan in Brooklyn after converting to Judaism several years ago, and she and Green- berg wanted their wedding this June to reflect the prayer group's community spirit and sense of do-it-yourself camaraderie. Friends were asked to lead prayers and narrate the sign- ing of the ketubah, or mar- riage contract. Melpolder, a chef, solicited recipes from guests that would be bound in a souvenir cookbook. Assign- ments were given to friends based on personalities and interests. "Since our Jewish corn- creates custom chuppahs, or wedding canopies. "We are pretending that we just invented this idea of the shtetl. It's like everybody would come to the wedding, and that was how a commu- nity got together to celebrate." In other words, it has always takenavillage. It's just that now the village looks quite different. Based in Washington, D.C., Rous often incorporates crowdsourcing into her work, such as asking friends to sub- mit fabric swatches. Her chuppah-making ca- reer began, appropriately enough, at her own wedding. She and husband Ned Laza- rus, who met in Israel and married in 2004, had two ceremonies, in Jerusalem and New Hampshire, to accom- modate friends in far-flung locales. Each guest was asked to bring fabric thatwas pinned to a sheet at the wedding. "We had people from ev- ery region of Israel and the Palestinian territories at the ceremony. We had everything from a kippah with a Magen David knitted on it to a Pal- estinian flag to a piece of someone's wedding dress and a map," Rous said. "It was a really beautiful hodgepodge." Since then, Rous has worked with couples to cre- ate custom chuppahs, incor- porating everything from traditional Jewish symbols to quotes from poets such as e.e. cummings and Pablo Neruda. Some of her clients aren't even Jewish but like the concept of the chuppah. In some cases, crowdsourc- ing is away to make guests feel more involved in a ceremony, but it can also be away to make logistics a little easier for the bride and groom. When Caroline Waxier and Michael Levitt married last summer, they came up with a Twitter hashtag for their wedding guests. Waxler, who runs a digital strategy com- pany, knew her tech-obsessed friends would be tweeting photos from the ceremony and reception. With the hashtag #waxlev- ittwedding, she was able to find them easily. "When you're making a commitment in public to one other person, it's kind of also a reminder that in your life you are supported by people, not just by one other person," Rous said. While crowdsourcing methods can make family and friends feel more involved in the wedding, Melpolder ad- mits that she may have other reasons for making the big day a little more social. "I really hope someone hooks up at our wedding," she said. Byzantine-era mosaic uncovered in kibbutz fields By Viva Sarah Press ISRAEL21c Archaeologists say the mosaic is unique because of the large number of moHfs incorporated in one carpet. is directing the dig, says archaeologists found a large hall measuring 12 meters long by 8.5 meters wide. The hall's impressive opening and the breathtaking mosaic that adorns its floor suggest that the structure was a public building. The mosaic is decorated with geometric patterns and its corners are enhancedwith amphorae, a pair of peacocks and a pair of doves pecking at grapes on a tendril. These are common designs that are known from this period; however, what makes this mosaic unique is the large number of motifs that were incorporated in one carpet. Pools and a system of channels and pipes between them used to convey water were discovered in front of the building. Steps were exposed in one of the pools and its walls were treated The Israel Antiquities Au- thority recently uncovered a magnificent mosaic dating to the Byzantine period in the fields of Kibbutz Bet Qama, during an archaeological excavation being carried out prior to the construction of a new highway interchange in the area. The Israel Antiquities Authority said the well- preserved mosaic was found among the remains of a set- tlement that extends across more than six dunams on the kibbutz's farmland. Dr. Rina Avner of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who with colored plaster (fresco). Archaeologists in the An- tiquities Authority are still trying to determine the purpose of the impressive public building and the pools whose construction required considerable economic re- sources. The site, which was along an ancient road that ran north from Beersheva, seems to have consisted of a large estate that included a church, residential buildings and storerooms, a large cistern, a public building and pools surrounded by farmland. The archaeologists say one of the structures probably served as an inn for travelers who visited the place. Jewish-Muslim troupe seeks peace through drama can understand what is going on [in Jerusalem, Israel, the Middle East] and somehow deal with the consequences," co-director Bonna Devora Haberman tells ISRAEL21c. In the play (co-directed by a die-hard Israeli Zionist and a passionate Palestinian nationalist) Jerusalem's ho* iiest place to Jews and Mus- lims-the Temple Mount-- is a trash mountain where scavengers poke around for their daily keep. These "refugees" from smaller conflicts find refuge together as they eat, sleep, shower, garden and work By Karin Kloosterman ISRAEL21c the city of Jerusalem, which is built on a hill. They were influenced by Israel's alte zachan, men who collect old scraps and appli- ances to be sold at the mar- ket, and also the zaballeen, Cairo's Christian garbage collectors. Sifting through Israeli garbage dumps has also been a mainstay for Pal- estinian kids in recent years. "We look at the material as valuable insofar as it will help us achieve our goal. When something is no longer pur- poseful we discard it. This is true of people and of stuff. In this piece we explore how we Tasking themselves with the lofty idea of making peace through drama, Jeru- salem's Y Theater attempts to embrace Jerusalem's beauty and conflicts to en- able a public discourse that is self-critical. Y Theater's latest produc- tion is called "Take Away." Developed by an Israeli and Palestinian over two years of workshops with Israelis, Arab and Jewish, Palestinians and foreign theater types, the play evolved into a metaphor for together in their own little "dump," which to them has become a sacred hill. This small ecosystem works well until a Big De- veloper comes to profit from a large wall to be built, di- viding the trash mountain, and the people's allegiances to one another. There is an obvious inference here to the separation barrier, which Is- rael has constructed to stop the flow of infiltrators from the West Bank. Two Israeli Jews, one Palestinian and one Druze woman act out various characters in the play, in Hebrew and Arabic, to evoke questions about the Middle East reality. Haberman and co-di- rector Kadar Herini hope that the audience will ask themselves self-reflective questions rather than laying blame on the other side. Both Haberman, a philos- opher and founder of Women of the Wall in Jerusalem, and Herini, who has sacrificed friendships and jobs for col- laborating with an Israeli, are an example of Middle East peace in the flesh, despite the fact that they work very hard at getting along. "Kadar believes that Islam is the ultimate development of religion, which encompasses whatever gifts and contribu- tions that Judaism and Chris- tianity made to humanity, and he sees no reason why we shouldn't simply convert to Is- lam. I'm an observant Jew and Bonna Devora Haberman oustage. I practice religiously. We're both learning how to find shared space and sometimes it's sheer agony," Haberman has said. Haberman was born in Canada and moved to Israel in 1986. She is 53 and the mother of five children. Herini, 37, was born in the Palestinian village of Hizma. "I am a social entrepreneur with a strong background and commitment to theater as a rehearsal for a better world," says Haberman. She met Herini at a work- shop in the Speaking Arts Festival, which pairs per- formance artists in music, movement and theater at the YMCA in Jerusalem. "We met about five years ago and worked together for three days with other artists and performers and by the third year decided we should work together," says Haber- man. "We are now committed to persevering and creating art together to initiate Israelis and Palestinians into a better civil discourse. "I think this is, in fact, the only collaboration between a Zionist [believer in Israel as a Jewish homeland] and an ardent Palestinian national- ist. My credentials as a Zion- ist are strong, and in spite of that, it is really hard and challenging. We are holding on with our fingernails and lose people all the time." Haberman calls her co- director "a brave person." "He is under threat and s jeopardizing himself in his own community, which has turned its back on him. ... He's isolated and even blacklisted by his peers," she tells ISRAEL21c. "Our performance is an op- portunity to have revealed a segmentofsociety involved in a long-term and deep process of change," she concludes.