Welcome to Lab/Shul, an artist-driven, everybody-friendly, God-optional, pop up, experimental community for sacred Jewish gatherings based in NYC and reaching the world.

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Artist-Driven: Announcing Lab/Shul’s First Artistic-Director

Eighteen years ago Rabbi Amichai, then just a young performance artist with a big vision and a knack for drag, brought radical ritual intervention into the public reading of Torah. Reclaiming ancient technologies with irreverent respect, Amichai elevated artists as uniquely skilled translators and interpreters of our ancient sacred stories. The rest, as they say, is history – a fabulous, feather-ruffling, often raucous history with countless moments of exciting revelation and deep discovery (and the occasional goat).

In mystical Hebraic numerology the word חי chai, translated as “life,” has the value eighteen. At eighteen years old, Storahtelling is blooming into its newest life: I am humbled and honored to step into my new role as Lab/Shul’s first Artistic Director. “Artist-driven” has always been fundamental to our identity – now we will have a dedicated driver to support the entire community.

Thank you all for your tremendous support, trust, and commitment to my growth over these past 2.5 years. The only thing I love more than soul is art, and the only thing I love more than art is soul. I am so lucky to be in a place where I don’t have to choose.

I look forward to activating the incredible talent that saturates our community, building a network of support for emerging artists, pushing artistic and ritual boundaries, and creating new opportunities for heart-expanding intersections between arts and spirituality. Woven throughout is a churning desire for deeper connection to self, to community, to the world, and to the infinite Mystery that hums through it all.

There are not many precedents for Artistic Directors of spiritual communities. I’m a little nervous, but mostly wildly excited, to dream this role into reality. I believe Lab/Shul is uniquely equipped to provide the spiritual transformation that so many seek in artistic experiences, and the complexity of artistic imagination that so many seek in spiritual experiences.

As for what exactly that will mean for our community…I hope you’ll collaborate and co-create that together with us, your Lab/Shul Team. Goats optional.

Ezra Bookman
Artistic Director