Jewish Venues and Jewish Artists

It’s always good to get out of the house. A general rule for me is when your couch begins to smell like your dirty laundry, you know it’s time to probably get some fresh air (and take a shower).

Last night was a case of me wanting to get out of my apartment. It was pretty exciting. While I’m always one to go and explore different neighborhoods and break out of the Upper West Side bubble, I never really go to an area of Manhattan that the cool people refer to as Tribeca. And man, when I go there, I feel supremely uncool.

Down in Tribeca, there is a fairly new branch of the 92nd St. Y, appropriately named, 92YTribeca. 92YTribeca has the great fortune of having the resources and the street cred to bring in big names to their shows. So when I went there last night, I was able to see a comedy evening hosted by Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac, with guests John Oliver (also from the Daily Show) and Saturday Night Live writer Hannibal Burress.

None of those guys are Jewish.

While the evening was fun, I’m left today wondering, should they have been Jewish? Should Jewish community buildings, whether private or public, with part of their mission being to promote Jewish culture only feature Jewish artists?

Now, I’m not making a judgment call on this. I honestly can’t decide how I feel. Because, on the one hand, it would have been awesome to see successful Jewish artists perform. On the other hand, it is really, really cool that a Jewish organization can routinely bring in big names for their events.

Maybe there is a danger of being boxed in, only catering to Jewish subjects. But on the other hand, what’s the point of being a Jewish community center if your programming isn’t Jewish?

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