The Lower East side isn't the only place where you can find Yonah Shimmel's Knish Shop, Katz's Kosher Deli, or the Economy Candy store on Rivington Street. They are also in "Flickerings: The Jewish Lower East Side Today," by artist Nili Chernikoff of Hudson, N.Y., a photographic exhibit featuring what was once the "Plymouth Rock" of American Jewry. The exhibit marks the opening of the Ann Loeb Bronfman Art Pavilion at Hillel's Schusterman International Center in Washington, D.C.
"Flickerings" captures life in the year 2003 on the Lower East Side and examines American Jewry at its 20th Century roots. Each piece brings forward what remains of this distinct culture and is a reminder of what was once the center of the Jewish community in America. Yiddish signs still hang prominently in front of shops, synagogues still line the streets and small Jewish family-owned businesses still thrive.
"Each picture tells a story of the people," said Chernikoff. "The exhibit combines exterior and interior spaces, portraits, and the very details that contain within them the special characters of these people and this place."
One picture captures the tight quarters of a lingerie shop. When Chernikoff asked the shopkeeper why he still works at the store, he replied, "My dad started it, and I am going to finish it!"
The photographs were created by Chernikoff last year when she was a student of photography and Jewish studies at Bard College. She also attended a semester at the Rothberg International School of Hebrew University and the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. She is currently Hillel's Hochberg Israel Engagement fellow and works to bring Israeli arts and culture to campuses across the world.
The Ann Loeb Bronfman Pavilion will feature art by Hillel students. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please call Karen Walker at 202-449-6530, in advance for a guided tour.
The largest Jewish campus organization in the world, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, is committed to creatively empowering and engaging Jewish students through its network of over 500 campus Foundations, program centers and affiliates. Its long-standing dedication to building Jewish identity, while nurturing intellectual and spiritual growth in a pluralistic community, positions Hillel as a leader in building a stronger Jewish people and stronger Jewish future.