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Essays

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Renting a Torah actually isn't difficult, even in a pandemic: the author and her cousin, Scout, scan the parchment for the right chapter and verse. (Photo by Milt Spivack.)
Renting a Torah actually isn't difficult, even in a pandemic: the author and her cousin, Scout, scan the parchment for the right chapter and verse. (Photo by Milt Spivack.)

What happens when the stress of the pandemic leads to a surprising yes?

Bring on the Zoomitzvah

Plan and lead a family bat mitzvah in four days? Anndee Hochman is a writer, not a rabbi, but something about the COVID-19 pandemic made her say yes to her cousin's request.
Anndee Hochman

Anndee Hochman

Essays 5 minute read
Getting to know students in a different way: a CAPA class of young musicians practicing with band director Brian Ewing. (Image courtesy of Brian Ewing.)
Getting to know students in a different way: a CAPA class of young musicians practicing with band director Brian Ewing. (Image courtesy of Brian Ewing.)

Young artists in the pandemic: distance learning at CAPA

Growing as artists, together and apart

Adult artists are not the only ones coping with a radically changed world. At Philly’s High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, the next generation continues to learn despite the distance. They talk with Isabel Soisson.
Isabel Soisson

Isabel Soisson

Essays 4 minute read
Well-ventilated players: the Philadelphia Orchestra is recording performances at the Mann. (Photo by Jeff Fusco.)
Well-ventilated players: the Philadelphia Orchestra is recording performances at the Mann. (Photo by Jeff Fusco.)

Behind the scenes: How did these three Philly arts-makers pivot to digital?

A brave new season, coming to a screen near you

Any serious Philly arts fan knows by now that local companies and venues aren’t sitting out the pandemic. But big or small, how are they making the shift to distanced performances? Camille Bacon-Smith talks to the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Annenberg, and 1812 Productions.
Camille Bacon-Smith

Camille Bacon-Smith

Essays 6 minute read
Educational mores continue to change, just like our schoolrooms, and we should evolve with them. (Image via Wikimedia Commons.)
Educational mores continue to change, just like our schoolrooms, and we should evolve with them. (Image via Wikimedia Commons.)

Why I love it when teenagers push back: one teacher’s politics in a 2020 classroom

Classrooms change and we should change with them

Michelle Nugent absorbed a commitment to neutrality during her own education as a teacher. But here’s why she’s leaving it behind in today’s classroom.
Michelle Nugent

Michelle Nugent

Essays 5 minute read
A hippie before the term was invented. (Photo: Daisy Fried.)
A hippie before the term was invented. (Photo: Daisy Fried.)

Remembering writer Jim Quinn, Philadelphia’s apostle of change

He did it his way

In a bleak conformist city where nothing seemed to change, lately everything has changed. The fiercely brilliant critic Jim Quinn deserves some of the credit. Dan Rottenberg remembers his colleague Jim Quinn.
Dan Rottenberg

Dan Rottenberg

Essays 6 minute read
Writer Kelly Conrad at home with the poets who inspire her. (Photo courtesy of the writer.)
Writer Kelly Conrad at home with the poets who inspire her. (Photo courtesy of the writer.)

During Filipino American History Month and beyond, poetry offers a rare non-colonial lens

Resistance through poetry

The Filipino poetic tradition in English has defiant roots in the American occupation of the Philippines in the 1900s. In honor of Filipino American History Month, Kelly Conrad explores history and self-identity through the rare non-colonial lens of Filipino poetry.
Kelly Conrad

Kelly Conrad

Essays 5 minute read
Can you cut the cake and still get your money back? (Photo by Ali Eminov, via Flickr.)
Can you cut the cake and still get your money back? (Photo by Ali Eminov, via Flickr.)

Are you displacing your rage in the age of COVID?

The great crooked cake crisis

For some, pandemic life brings out extra kindness and patience. But as Roz Warren tells it, others are looking for a target for their anger.
Roz Warren

Roz Warren

Essays 4 minute read

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It’s easy to see when the world stopped. (Photo by Fredricka Maister.)
It’s easy to see when the world stopped. (Photo by Fredricka Maister.)

Here's how one person over 60 is handling life in quarantine, eight months later

Eight months on the coronacoaster

Fredricka Maister optimistically began quarantine back in March, like millions of others in her higher-risk age group. But what does life look like eight months later?
Fredricka R. Maister

Fredricka R. Maister

Essays 5 minute read
Noting exclusions in Philly monuments: Sharon Hayes’s 2017 ‘If They Should Ask,’ part of Monument Lab. (Photo by Steve Wenik, courtesy of Temple University Press.)
Noting exclusions in Philly monuments: Sharon Hayes’s 2017 ‘If They Should Ask,’ part of Monument Lab. (Photo by Steve Wenik, courtesy of Temple University Press.)

UPenn’s Arthur Ross Gallery hosts ‘Monuments and Social Justice’

Watch this space

In late September, Arthur Ross Gallery hosted a virtual conversation about the state of public art, looking to the past, present, and future of Philly monuments. Pam Forsythe listened in.

Pamela J. Forsythe

Essays 4 minute read
It’s not what she expected, but Roz is raising a mug to retirement. (Image courtesy of the author.)
It’s not what she expected, but Roz is raising a mug to retirement. (Image courtesy of the author.)

I lost my library job because I refused to work with the public in the pandemic

Grab your books and go

After decades behind the circulation desk, Roz Warren didn’t feel safe going back to work in the pandemic.
Roz Warren

Roz Warren

Essays 4 minute read