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December 4, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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December 4, 2009
 

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PAGE 18A Culture Down East HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 4, 2009 By Hilary Larson New York Jewish Week Twinkling lights that curl around vintage streetlights, the scent ofpines in the frosty air, icicles dangling from the woodwork of stately brick mansions: Portland. Maine. in winter--especially around Chanukah is a picturesque delight. Maine's capital is the most cosmopolitan place in north- ern New England, with cobble- stone charm and a friendly, laid-back local culture that makes visitors feel right at home. Its high-quality yet ac- cessible museums, boutiques featuring local and artisanal wares, and superb dining scene make Portland an ideal winter weekend destination. Skiers will find powdery slopes within a 45-minute drive of the city, at Lost Valley in Auburn or Sunday River in Bethel. A 5.000-strong Jewish com- munity is active and welcomes visitors to its three congrega- tions. They are Temple Beth El, which is Conservative: Ortho- dox Temple Shaarey "I~hiloh, the oldest local congregation, founded in 1904; and Con- gregation Etz Chaim. with a traditional service. The Maine Jewish Film Festival, ahighlight of the local Jewish calendar. takes place each year in March. Downtown Portland is such an agreeable collection of neighborhoods that strolling is a pleasure, even during the JUDY CHICAGO: Jewish Identity Juattn, place se~mg from Tt~ Dinner Party, Judy Chicago/979, Photographic Documentation. Photo Donald Woodmsn Retrospective of famed feminist artist that illuminates the impact of her roots on her identity. This exhibit was curated by the artist and Laura Kruger of Hebrew Union College Museum, New York City. The Creation. Birth Project, Judy Chicago 1985 Bur) the Hatchet. Resolutions: A Stitch in Time. Judy Chicago 2000. Needlwork by Lyncla Paterson. Assisted by Jane ThomPson & Mary Ewan(~k Exhibit runs thru February 7, 2010 Also enjo) our core exhibit MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida, more art exhibits, Museum Store and Bessie's Bistro FlllrI Jewish Museum of Florida :o~ II Ill] 301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139 ~o--~I ~ I~ MIAMIBEACH Tel: 305.672.5044 - www.jewishmuseum.com ~o,O,~ ~. IrIRI Hours: Tuesdays - Sundays,10am-Spm. Closed Mondays & Jewish & Civil Holidays Bring this ad in for 2 for 1 admission HFJN famously fierce Maine winter. This is L.L. Bean country, where locals don't let minus- five-degreeweather faze them: they simply layer on the down coats and lined boots, in time- honored Down East style. The most historic part of town is the Old Port, a waterfront neighborhood of cobblestone alleys, old brick buildings and picturesque wharfs. Brave the icy Atlantic breeze and wander down to the harbor: the reward is a soulful seascape punctuated by islands. With its boutiques,-up- scale seafood restaurants and sometimes-rowdy bars, the Old Port is surely touristy. But it's also a place where locals go for an evening out at a local microbrewery or live-music venue: the scene is buzzing long after most of the city goes quiet for the night. The Arts District, in the West End of town, is anchored by Congress Square and a number of cultural institu- tions, including the Portland Museum of Art and the Chil- dren's Museum of Maine. Also in the area is the Maine College of Art. which mounts frequent exhibitions at its Institute for Contemporary Art. Portland's independent art galleries are clustered in two areas Congress Street near the museums, and Exchange and Fore Streets near the port--making it easy to spend an afternoon browsing. Fine art is a cherished tradition in New England, and the quality of the works in many of these galleries is quite high. Reflecting both the cosmo- politanism and local pride Of its community, the Portland Museum of Art balances a sophisticated permanent collection with a distinctive New England focus in many of its temporary exhibitions. The major European move- ments--Impressionism. Sur- realism are represented with major works by Degas, Magritte. Monet. Renoir and others, while the collection is particularly strong in Amer- ican artists like Winslow Homer, Marsden Hartley and Andrew Wyeth. Current exhibitions include "Evolution: Five Decades of Printmaking by David C. Driskell," through Jan. 17; the colorful, graphic prints take Hilary Larson Portland's Old Port District features winding cobblestone streets, boutiques, restaurants and microbreweries. inspiration from Driskell's summer art studio in Maine. "Charles DuBack: Coming to Maitre." through Jan. 3. show- cases modernist paintings and collages from the 1950s and recent watercolors reflecting the New Yorker's discovery of the Maine landscape. If you're making a weekend trip, it's worth knowing that the Portland Museum is free from 5 to 9 p.m. on Fridays. Another fun option is the fall Sunday jazz brunch: a dif- ferent group performs each weekend from 10:30 a.m. to noon through Dec. 13. And if culture puts you in the mood for shopping, consider a stroll down Congress Street to the L.L. Bean outlet at No. 542. No longer does outlet shopping mean schlepping to the suburbs: This mecca of snowflake sweaters, camping gear and down jackets offers the catalog classics at a con- siderable discount. Portland is well known for its small but classy music scene. In summertime, at least a half- dozen music festivals fill the city's public spaces with fare ranging from Haydn to indie pop. During the winter. Port- land's arts institutions come to the fore. The Portland Symphony Orchestra features many of New England's finest musicians, and its programs emphasize family fare and accessible classics. Thiswinter's lineup includes several kids' series, including "Brass: Under the Big Top," circus-themed kids' concerts featuring the Symphony Brass. Quintet and ringmaster Laura Harris. as well as adult offer- lngs such as Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto and Ravel's "Pavane for a Dead Princess." The weekend of Feb. 20 brings a revue of classic show tunes with soprano Jenn Raithel Newman; the program reads like a greatest-hits list of Jewish Broadway composers, from Lerner and Loewe to Jerome Kern. Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim. The Portland Stage Com- pany, whose theater lies just across the square from the Congress Street galleries and museums, is the premier theater company of northern New England. Its acclaimed productions range from clas- sics like Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." to more modern and cutting-edge fare. This winter also brings "The Santaland Diaries" by David Sedaris and "The Mystery of Irma Vep" by Charles Ludlam. Hilary Larson is a travel writer for the New York Jewish Week, from which this article was reprinted by permission. Travelers' Resources: Portland Museum of Art: www.portlandmu- seum.org Maine College of Art: www.meca.edu Portland Symphony Orchestra: www.portlandsymphony.com Portland Stage Company: www.portlandstage.org Maine Jewish Film Festival: www.mjff.org Two entrepreneurs put a new spin on the dreidel ATLANTA "We can talk about dreidels for hours," says Jennie Rivlin Roberts. inventor of No Linait Texas Dreidel, the game that crosses traditional dreidel with Texas Hold'em poker. Rivlin Roberts met Eric Pavony after hearing National Public Radio's story on Major League Dreidel. the New York City event where the top dreidel spinners in the nation come together to compete for the longest dreidel spin. "I understood her. she understood me. itwas like we were related, or next of spin," says Pavony. No Limit Texas Dreidel launched in 2007 as an ex- clusive product on Rivlin Roberts' Jewish gifts Web site ModernTribe.com. The game has been embraced byAmerica and hits the mainstream this Chanukah in hundreds of stores including Bed, Bath, & Beyond. This Chanukah the world will getanother totally new and different dreidel experience with the Spinagogue, billed as "the official dreidel stadium of Major League Dreidel." Pavony turned to Rivlin Roberts and ModernTribe.com to bring the game to market and be the exclusive retailer for this holiday season. The Spinagogue sprouted from Major League Dreidel when Pavony, the official "knishioner" of the popular event, realized that all sports need a home. "Thanks to Major League Dreidel, dreidel is now spun on the Spinagogue," says Pavony. The next Major League Dreidel event is Saturday, Dec. 12 at Knitting Factory, in Brooklyn. Spinners can sign-up ahead of time at Ma- jorLeagueDreidel.com. "Our games make Chanu- kah more fun and festive for those who already celebrate and give others a modern way to reconnect with this great holiday," says Pavony. Rivlin Roberts and Pavony say, "The future of the once ho-hum Chanukah spinning top looks bright." The Spinagogue is "fun for players of all ages and comes with a Spinometer, two Spin Zones. six dreidels, a game book. a game card and six Game Terrains, on which to play dreidel games." The Spi- nagogue is exclusively sold at ModernTribe.com.