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Hasidic Education Gets an Artistic Twist at Yeshiva's Year End Gala

By Sonja Sharp | June 11, 2013 8:25am
  Crown Heights' Lamplighters Yeshivah gets artsy for its June 23 year-end event.
Lamplighters Yeshiva 'Impressions' Year-End Event
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CROWN HEIGHTS — Look out hipster parents, Crown Heights Hasidic families are about to steal your swagger.  

Lamplighters Yeshivah, a Hasidic Montessori school in the heart of Jewish Crown Heights, is bringing together an elite group of local artists — two indie rock musicians, a painter whose influences include Basquiat, and a comic book maker — for its first ever gala fundraiser this month. 

"We're a school that really fosters creativity and creating a space where local artists can really shine," said director Yocheved Sidof. "The theme of the event is 'impressions'. The idea is that everything that happens to a young child creates a lasting impression on them." 

The event, which will take place at the Roulette arts space in Boerum Hill on June 23, will feature Hasidic singer-songwriters Moshe Hecht and Levi Robin, painter Noah Lubin and comedian/comic book author Simcha Weinstein

"It’s a collection of different artistic elements coming together to really entertain and to represent the philosophy that Lamplighters has," Hecht said. "It’s going to feed all the senses." 

Fundraising dinners are big business in Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish communities, where private education is the norm and large families ensure that schools grow bigger each year. But while most galas are filled with speeches and $300-per-plate meals, Impressions promises to be short on lectures and long on acoustic guitar. 

"We’re trying to stay away from the speeches and make it more about entertainment," Hecht said.  "Anyone who’s looking for a great night of entertainment should come out." 

Blues singer Levi Robin, a yeshiva student who spent the winter touring with Matisyahu, is slated to perform, and artist Noah Lubin will unveil a painting inspired by his visits to the school.

"The classrooms left an impression on me, the children everywhere," the painter said. "I was amazed at how they cultivated the space. From the outside you can’t tell  — it’s an old Brooklyn building — but you go inside and it’s beautiful." 

For Hecht, whose son attends the school, seeing Lamplighters through the eyes of other artists has been especially meaningful.  

"I’m doing this because my son goes to the school and I’m a huge believer in what Lamplighters has already and is continuing to accomplish, to really take a more intuitive and a more thoughtful and a more child-centered approach toward education, alongside the Chabad philosophy," Hecht said. 

"It’s like nothing else in Jewish education that I’ve seen."