Gabriola artist Elizabeth Shefrin’s hand-embroidered piece The Ten Plagues depicts the punishments inflicted upon the ancient Egyptians for the pharaoh’s refusal to free Jewish slaves, as told in the Old Testament Book of Exodus. From Feb. 7 to 9, You’ve Got a Friend: A Festival of Jewish and Gabriolish Art, Words and Music comes to the Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre. (Photo courtesy Elizabeth Shefrin)

Jewish-themed art festival comes to Gabriola after anti-Semitic graffiti incident

You’ve Got a Friend: A Festival of Jewish and Gabriolish Art, Words and Music happening Feb. 7-9

When anti-Semitic graffiti was discovered at Camp Miriam on Gabriola Island in late December, it didn’t take long for the local community to rally in support of the Jewish children’s summer camp.

“The island took this very, very seriously and people really wanted to get out there,” said Elizabeth Shefrin, a Gabriola artist and member of the island’s “small” Jewish community. “There were offers to come and clean up the mess and then within a couple of days people had held a candlelight vigil.”

It was during that vigil on Jan. 2 that Shefrin announced that she, along with her husband, folk singer Bob Bossin, and fellow artist Heather Cameron were organizing an event to celebrate Jewish culture and the way that Jews and non-Jews – and by extension any two groups that have differences – can work together.

“You don’t want to focus on the graffiti, you don’t want to focus on the bad incident that’s happened and give undue attention to it, but you want to sort of use it to move on to somewhere more positive and hopeful,” Shefrin said. “And so I got the idea of organizing an art show.”

The event took shape quickly and soon grew from art show to a weekend-long festival of art, music and literature. They named it You’ve Got a Friend after the Carole King song sung at the Jan. 2 candlelight vigil.

“We started out with an art show and then we thought we’d have some music with it … and then we decided to have a reading and so on and it grew and grew and people are just so supportive and keen to participate and keen to be part of it,” Shefrin said.

You’ve Got a Friend: A Festival of Jewish and Gabriolish Art, Words and Music, takes place at the Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre and Roxy Theatre from Feb. 7 to 9, beginning with an opening reception and traditional Sabbath candle-lighting ceremony on Friday night.

The art will be on display all weekend long, with a concert, Oy!, taking place at the Roxy on Saturday and Sunday night and a poetry and memoir reading, Nu?, happening on Sunday afternoon. Also on Saturday will be an acknowledgment of Tu B’shvat, a Jewish holiday analogous to Arbour Day.

Shefrin calls the event “a sharing of Jewish culture,” and that while not all the artists are Jewish, all the work is “Jewish-themed.” She said the poetry describes “the beauty and the vulnerability of Jewish culture” and Bossin said the concert reflects “the diversity of Jewish culture.”

“It’s an opportunity for people who aren’t Jewish – who I think of as allies – for the allies to see a little bit more than they sometimes are familiar with,” Shefrin said. It’s for the Jews to notice that we have allies and that there’s a partnership there that everyone benefits from.”

WHAT’S ON … You’ve Got a Friend: A Festival of Jewish and Gabriolish Art, Words and Music comes to the Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre, 476 South Rd., from Friday, Feb. 7 to Sunday, Feb. 9. Art gallery open on Feb. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m., Feb. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Feb. 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tu B’shvat observance on Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. Nu? poetry and memoir reading on Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. Oy! concert at the Roxy Theatre, 377 Berry Point Rd., on Feb. 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. Admission by $15 suggested donation.

TODAY’S MOST-READ: City of Nanaimo long-listed 38 possible sites for supportive housing

YESTERDAY’S MOST-READ: Nanaimo electronics store employee punched repeatedly by shoplifter



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Art

Just Posted

Island company tastes sweet success with sugar kelp

Cascadia Seaweed is experiencing rapid growth after launching six months ago

Dunsmuir Middle School works with students following in-school protest over cell phone policy

Pupil said he wants students to be included in decisions that impact them

Island First Nations councillor says ‘Hereditary chiefs have the ultimate power’

Ahousaht future hereditary chief Jaiden George explains Indigenous governance.

Forestry strike, curtailment had far-reaching impact on Vancouver Island

Island business community buoyed by mediation breakthrough

BC Ferries gets injunction against demonstrations in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

The preemptive injunction is a ‘last resort in the interest of public safety,’ spokesperson says

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Nanaimo-bound ferry breaks down, but another available for service

Two sailings cancelled Sunday on Tsawwassen-Duke Point route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

Most Read