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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An epic night at JEWDITH and SPIN

Last night, at the Slipper Room, Lab/Shul Season Pass holders were invited to participate in a reading and conversation about Judith, the controversial, apocryphal biblical character. Could we get behind a woman known for being a seductress and a renegade? How do you bond with a sister who is a slayer? Esther Perel, the accomplished psychologist and author of Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic, help put the reclamation of the provocative character into perspective. I’ve always been a fan of Judith; as a queer middle schooler starved for female superheroes to uplift me, I was delighted to find a woman who did more than give birth to dozens of patriarchs when I was in my seventh grade Jewish studies classes. But by expanding the discussion to holy warriors, beheadings, and jihad, Perel complicated the issue of religious heroism, and helped us put Judith’s singularity as a woman into perspective. It was stimulating, to say the least. 

The Slipper Room was dreamy and dark, and it took no time at all for us to welcome the rest of the crew and get the party started. The drinks and the bangin’ cheese platters from Murray’s Cheeses and City Winery didn’t hurt, either. 

Shira Kline lit the potato candles beautifully, Naomi Less worked some beautiful “This Little Light of Mine” ad-libbing in, and George Mordecai stunned us with his rendition of “Ana b’Koach.” Then, Sabrina Hayeem Ladani left us speechless with her flamenco dancing; MC Paul Barman used chiasmus to change our political point of view; and Zoe Ziegfeld TURNED IT OUT with a mesmerizing Menorah Burlesque number to Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire.” The night concluded in the greatest dreidel spinoff every played, which I could have won if I had employed better strategy. The second-place winner got a sensational donut phone, and Esther, the champion, went home with a gorgeous Purim Masquerade mask. 

The music kept rolling. In true Lab/Shul style, we partied until they kicked us out. Definitely my classiest Hanukkah ever. 

-David Goldberg

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