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The Ashkenazi Jews – Cultures of the World –

Posted By on March 21, 2020


The Jews who lived in the region around the Rhine River in France and Germany came to be known as Ashkenazi Jews. They constitute 80% of the Jews in the world today. Their origin is a topic of debate, though most scholars believe they migrated through Italy during the First and Second Centuries in the Common Era (CE). They were mostly merchants and considered economic pioneers until the 1300s, when, due to religious and social restrictions, many became money lenders. The Ashkenazi communities spoke Yiddish, a dialect of Middle High German combined with an adaptation of the Hebraic script along with grammatical and orthographical influences from Hebrew and nearby Slavic and Romance languages, and these communities organized themselves into kahals with their own judicial courts. Due to violence, reoccurring blood libels, and legislation expelling them, the Ashkenazi moved into Poland, Spain, Eastern European countries, and the Americas until the 1900s. Leading up to and during World War II, they were targeted as the main victims of the Nazi-directed Holocaust of Jews. Today, they are over 10 million in number, and are settled in Jewish and assimilated communities throughout the world.

Due to the spread of Ashkenazi people across the world, Ashkenazi architecture took different forms dependent on the influence of the cultures around them, the financial means of each community, and the local climate. However, the shtetl (plural shtetlach), or small towns with a Jewish majority, remain a unique part Ashkenazi and Central and Eastern European history. Many were unfortunately destroyed in measures to deprive Jewish residents of their homes during World War II. Locals may still identify former Jewish houses in Eastern European towns and villages by their small verandas and ground-floor spaces for stores. The wooden synagogues of Poland were known for their painted and carved interiors. Other structures, like Hungary's Kazinczy Street Synagogue, reveal the influence of Art Noveau styles on Ashkenazi architecture in Europe in the second half of the 19th Century.

In Europe, Pletzl flatbread has for generations been a staple food for Ashkenazi Jews, bearing the same name as the Jewish Quarter in Paris, France. Other Ashkenazi breads, such as challah and bagels, evidence their cultural connection with the cuisines of Eastern Europe. Matzo ball soup is perhaps the most well known Ashkenazi dish, followed by gefilte fish. The latter is a mixture of ground whitefish (especially carp or pike), matzo bread crumbs, onion, eggs, and vegetables, with recipes varying according to preference. In Poland, this dish is known to use more sugar than it is in other places. Cholent, or Hamin, is the traditional stew set to simmer for 12 hours prior to the Sabbath. Horseradish sweetened with beets, pickles, briskets, knishes, bialys, and kugels are all well loved Ashkenazi foods. Calfs foot jelly is an old dish that is popular in other Eastern European cultures.

Ashkenazi Jews have contributed immensely to the collective culture around the world. In religious studies, Rashi (1040-1105) is still quoted for his breakthrough Bible and Talmud commentaries. The growth of the publishing industry in Germany in the Middle Ages allowed for widespread printing and distribution of religious texts, which would significantly facilitate the Hasidic Judaism movement in the 18th Century and the establishment of influential Jewish academic centers. The Zionist movement was also started by an Ashkenazi, namely Theodor Herzl. Furthermore, half of the worlds chess champions, 27% of the USs Nobel Prize winners, and such influential figures as Marc Chagall, Leonard Bernstein, Alan Greenspan, Isaac Asimov, and Albert Einstein, just to name a few, have all had Ashkenazi heritage.

Due to the range of traditions and beliefs among the Ashkenazi, the preservation of their cultural identity has always been a challenge. The Holocaust destroyed much of Ashkenazi culture in Germany and Eastern Europe, including severely curtailing the development of the Yiddish language. However, some have identified an Eastern European Jewish Renaissance, especially in New York City (the location of the worlds largest synagogue and of a plethora of Jewish markets and restaurants) and Montreal (home to 25% of Canada's Jewish population, particularly in the suburbs of Cte-St-Luc, Hampstead, and Outremont). Unfortunately, in Israel Ashkenazi cuisine and other traditions are marginalized in favor of more regionally familiar and adaptable Jewish Sephardic and Mizrahi traditions. Such diseases as certain cancers and Tay-Sachs are more prevalent among those of Ashkenazi descent. Reports of recent discoveries regarding Ashkenazi DNA have become increasing prevalent in the global news media for the hope they provide in treating these genetic conditions.

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The Ashkenazi Jews - Cultures of the World -

What tribe of Israel are Ashkenazic Jews from – Answers

Posted By on March 21, 2020

Ashkenazic Jews are European Jews, who are said to be descendedfrom Ashkenaz, great grandson of Noah. ( Ashkenazi was the son ofGomer, who was the son of Japeth, who was the son of Noah).

The Bible does not say when Ashkenaz died, but Barry Setterfieldhas dated the death of Ashkenaz's cousin Shelah (anothergreat-grandson of Noah) at 1769BC (when he was 403 years old) andassuming the great-grandsons lived to approximately the same ages,Ashkenaz would probably have lived to be about 400 years old also.He has dated the birth of Shelah's eighth-generation descendant,Jacob (later re-named Israel), at 1787BC and the date of hismarriage at 1710BC, by which time Ashkenaz would have probablydied.


Ashkenaz and Shelah were from different branches of the family(Ashkenaz's grandfather was Gomer, but Shelah's was Shem) soAshkenaz was unrelated to the tribes of Israel. Besides, the twelvesons of Israel after whom the tribes are named hadn't even beenborn yet.

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What tribe of Israel are Ashkenazic Jews from - Answers

BRCA Mutations More Common Than Thought in Older Women Diagnosed With Breast Cancer –

Posted By on March 21, 2020

Even though they had no family history that would make them eligible for genetic testing, about 1 in 40 postmenopausal women diagnosed with breast cancer before age 65 had a mutation linked to cancer in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, a rate similar to Ashkenazi Jewish women, according to an analysis of data from the Womens Health Initiative.

This finding suggests that genetic testing may be beneficial for postmenopausal women who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer even if they dont have risk factors for inheriting a mutation linked to breast cancer.

The research was published on March 10, 2020, by the journal JAMA. Read the abstract of Prevalence of Pathogenic Variants in Cancer Susceptibility Genes Among Women With Postmenopausal Breast Cancer.

A germline variant is a change, or mutation, in a gene that is inherited from your parents and is in all your DNA. Pathogenic means the mutation is linked to a higher risk of disease in this case, breast cancer.

Two of the most well-known genes that can mutate and raise the risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer are BRCA1 and BRCA2. Women who inherit a mutation in either of these genes from their mothers or their fathers have a much higher-than-average risk of developing breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer.

Men with these mutations also have an increased risk of breast cancer, especially if the BRCA2 gene is affected, and possibly of prostate cancer.

About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, meaning the cancer is linked to germline mutations passed from parent to child.

You are much more likely to have a genetic mutation linked to breast cancer if:

A number of expert groups have developed guidelines for breast cancer genetic testing. In 2019, The American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBS) issued updated guidelines saying genetic testing should be made available to everyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The ASBS updated guidelines followed research published in December 2018 showing that the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) breast cancer genetic testing guidelines miss about half of people with a genetic mutation linked to breast cancer.

In February 2020, the NCCN announced updated breast cancer genetic testing guidelines that recommend genetic testing for people diagnosed with breast cancer if they:

Still, the initial NCCN genetic testing guidelines for people diagnosed with breast cancer were first developed about 20 years ago when testing was limited to two genes: BRCA1 and BRCA2. Genetic testing at that time also was very expensive, costing approximately $5,000 per test.

Since that time, genetic testing technology has advanced rapidly, allowing multiple genes to be tested at the same time. The cost of genetic testing also dropped dramatically today, some genetic testing can be done for as little as $250.

To do this analysis, Stanford University researchers looked at information from 4,517 women who were part of the very large Womens Health Initiative (WHI) trial that includes information from more than 161,608 postmenopausal women who were ages 50 to 79 when they joined the trial between 1993 and 1998. The WHI wants to find any links between health, diet, and lifestyle factors and health problems such as cancer.

None of the women in this analysis had been diagnosed with breast cancer when they joined the WHI. Of the women included in this analysis:

Of the women who were diagnosed with breast cancer:

Of the women who were not diagnosed with breast cancer:

The researchers did genetic testing on all the women using a Myriad Genetics test that looked for mutations in a panel of 28 genes, including BRCA1, BRCA2, ATM, BARD1, CDH1, CHEK2, NBN, PALB2, STK11, and TP53, which are considered to be linked to a higher risk of breast cancer.

Any genetic mutations found were classified as:

Overall, harmful mutations were found in 241 women:

A harmful mutation was found in a gene associated with breast cancer in:

This difference was statistically significant, which means that it was likely due to the difference in breast cancer diagnoses rather than just because of chance.

When looking specifically at harmful mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes:

Of women who had a harmful mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes:

Of women who had a harmful mutation in another breast cancer-associated gene:

The researchers said this is the first study to suggest that postmenopausal women newly diagnosed with breast cancer who dont have any risk factors for inheriting a mutation linked to breast cancer may benefit from genetic testing.

"There's been a lot of controversy in the field as to whether every woman with breast cancer should receive genetic testing," said Allison Kurian, M.D., associate professor of medicine and of epidemiology and population health at Stanford and lead author of the study, "in part because we didn't know how prevalent cancer-associated mutations are in this largest subgroup of newly diagnosed people that is, women who develop breast cancer after menopause without the presence of any known hereditary risk factors.

"Now we know that the prevalence of cancer-associated BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in women diagnosed with breast cancer after menopause rivals that in women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent a population that is currently encouraged to discuss genetic testing with their doctors," she continued. "We finally have a read on the likely benefit of testing this most common subgroup of breast cancer patients."

Research suggests that many people with mutations linked to breast cancer are not having genetic testing because they dont meet NCCN testing guidelines. This means that people who dont know they have a genetic mutation may not be told about all their options for reducing their risk of recurrence (the cancer coming back) or a new cancer.

If youve been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may want to talk to your doctor or a genetic counselor about your diagnosis and your family history and ask if having a multigene panel test makes sense for you. A genetic counselor or your doctor can help you understand the test and accurately interpret the results.

For more information on genetic testing, including types of genetic tests and how results are reported, visit the Genetic Testing pages.

For more information on genes and genetic mutations linked to breast cancer, as well as all the risk-lowering steps you can take if you have a genetic mutation, visit the Breast Cancer Risk Factors: Genetics page in the Lower Your Risk section.

If you've tested positive for a mutation linked to breast cancer and would like to talk about this with others who have also tested positive, join the forum Positive Genetic Test Results.

Written by: Jamie DePolo, senior editor

Published on March 18, 2020 at 9:17 AM

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BRCA Mutations More Common Than Thought in Older Women Diagnosed With Breast Cancer -

Knesset, Health officials battle over who can be in the committee room – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on March 21, 2020

In an unprecedented move, the Knesset Intelligence Subcommittee on Thursday released the protocol for its Monday hearing about surveillance by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) of citizens infected with the coronavirus, revealing a bizarre and comical situation in which top officials of different branches of government could not decide who was allowed in the room.

While committee chairman MK Gabi Ashkenazi wanted to maximize how many experts could be in the room at once so they could hear each others views, and Health Ministry officials present approved, committee manager Shmuel Lotko vetoed the idea.

He said the Knesset director-general was only allowing 10 people in the room even for the Intelligence Subcommittee, which would mean that Deputy Attorney-General Raz Nizri and Health Ministry officials Moshe Bar Siman Tov and Sigal Sedensky might not be able to be in the room at the same time as would usually be the case.

There were five other committee members along with Ashkenazi and five core staff personnel to assist and record the proceedings.

Lotko heard Sedensky say the Knesset could make its own rules and did not need to listen to the Health Ministry because of its status as the supreme legislative arm of the country.

Ashkenazi then said he would go directly to the Knesset director-general and tell him he was given approval by Sedensky to have more people in the room.

Bar Siman Tov then said the ministry could not stand by his colleague Sedenskys approval, and they, as Health Ministry officials, could not contradict the director-general.

Multiple rounds of debate continued about who was in charge and who could be in the room together.

One substantive impact of this procedural debate in the committee, and the several pages of fighting that it produced, was that the hearing was slowed down, and everyone had to be heard later separately.

Ultimately, the committee could not reach a decision about Shin Bet surveillance before the 22nd Knesset was concluded and the 23rd sworn in, which has put committee hearings on hold.

But in the midst of these dark times, this unprecedented insider look at some unusual political antics at least provides a few light moments.

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Knesset, Health officials battle over who can be in the committee room - The Jerusalem Post

Coronavirus Is Killing The Box OfficeHollywood May Never Be The Same – Forbes

Posted By on March 21, 2020

'Trolls World Tour' will be the first film to forgo a box office release amid the coronavirus.

If you own a movie theater chain these days, nobody would blame you for feeling a little bit nervous. With state after state closing cinemas in the hope of stalling the spread of coronavirus, Hollywood studios are very quicklychanging the rules of the game.

NBCUniversals Universal Pictures announced Monday it would make DreamWorks Animations Trolls World Tour available for in-home rental without first releasing it in theaters. The studio also said it would hasten the availability of films it had recently released to theatersInvisible Man, Emma, The Huntfor in-home rentals.

It was a sudden and unexpected display of disregard for the decades-old practice of giving theaters exclusive rights to showing new films. And it was just the start. Sony Pictures announced two days later that Vin Diesels Bloodshot would be released to at-home viewers less than two weeks after its theatrical debuta sharp departure from the typical 90-day wait. Then it was Walt Disneys turn. The worlds largest entertainment company said Pixars latest release, Onward, will be available to rent next week and on its Disney+ streaming service early next month, barely a month after its theatrical run. Warner Bros. leveled a fresh body blow by allowing at-home viewers to purchase Ben Afflecks The Way Back and Margot Robbies Birds of Prey next week. Both were released in theaters in the past month and a half.

Then the knockout punch: Universal said it will release Trolls World Tour as a pay-per-view film on its April 10, 2020, premiere date, without any domestic theatrical run.

All of a sudden, the so-called theatrical window that is the lifeblood of the cinema industry, is dead. Movie studios are scrambling to find ways to not lose every penny on films into which theyve already sunk money.

Some investment will be recouped as titles are released via streaming services, as is starting to happen, says Mike Bloxham, the senior vice president of global media and entertainment at research firm Magid. Its impossible to say to what extent that will replace any amount of box office loss.

For years, the theatrical window was a part of a seemingly unassailable Hollywood tradition: the dance between cinema owners and studios that dictated a film must be in theaters for three to six months before it is released to in-flight entertainment, rental platforms, television or any other ancillary media. Adhering to this tradition was the only way any film could be considered for an Academy Award, the coveted accolade every creator in the industry seeks.

But Hollywood has had a rude awakening in recent years. The successful incursion by technology giants like Netflix, Amazon and Apple showed that the once insular code of Los Angeles-based businesses controlling the way the world gets its filmed entertainment could be cracked. With it came a sudden reversal of many of the business strategies those companies have held dear.

Read more: Coronavirus Could Be A $12 Billion Hit To Entertainment And Audiences May Never Be The Same

While releasing films on demand will provide some revenue and relief to struggling entertainment companies, its unlikely that it will make up for what would be a box office haul in the near term. Most of the films will cost around $20 to rent, meaning millions must rent each in order to reach projected box office numbers. For Trolls World Tour, more than 17 million people would have to rent the film to earn the $347 million that its 2016 prequel made when it showed in 4,060 theaters.

The entertainment world is looking at a $4 billion hit to the box office thanks to the coronavirus and will lose billions more from halted productions; the National Association of Theater Owners has alreadyrequested a bailoutfrom the government. If the shutdown drags on, its possible that a number of upcoming releases, many of which have already been pushed back, will follow in the footsteps of Trolls World Tour and go straight to on-demand in order to avoid a crowded box officeor dwindled enthusiasmonce theaters reopen.

If this continues for a long time, that will cause a change in how we consume content and allow newer titles to get to home video much faster, Asaf Ashkenazi, the COO of Verimatrix, a technology company that works with distributors in Hollywood, toldForbes. If its a new title, you can delay it, continue to follow the traditional system and just wait. Or you can be more experimental and go directly to selling or renting online, which will allow more people to access it and get the revenue now.

In a report released today, media analysts Moffett Nathanson laid out what looks like a dire scenario for exhibitors: zero box office revenue in May and a 30% drop for domestic ticket sales this year. The effect on consumer behavior, the report notes, is yet to be seen. According to the analysts: As Warren Buffett famously observed, When the tide goes out, we discover who has been swimming naked. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tide has certainly gone out on the U.S. theater industry, and we are about to find out which exhibitors have the financial capacity to weather this unforeseen storm.

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Coronavirus Is Killing The Box OfficeHollywood May Never Be The Same - Forbes

Coronavirus Could Be A $12 Billion Hit To Entertainment And Audiences May Never Be The Same – Forbes

Posted By on March 21, 2020

The Castro Theater on Castro Street in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. ... [+] Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Theyre all closed.

Movie Theaters. Bars. Nightclubs. Arenas. Cafes. In New York, Broadway and museums are shuttered. In San Francisco its even more dire. Across the country and the world, cities are shutting down, leaving humans from Seattle to Shanghai without traditional ways of finding distraction.

The mandate for social distancing that has proven essential at slowing the spread of the coronavirus will cut about $12 billion of entertainment revenue from the U.S. if the shutdown lasts until July, as President Trump signaled. Billions more are not being spent on creating new content as film and television production is frozen.

Things could get a lot worse.

This is definitely unprecedented and turning everyone's lives completely upside down, says Ryan Borba, managing editor at concert tracker Pollstar.

The concert and live event industry brought in $34 billion last year, according to market research firm IBISWorld. Simple math suggests that a three-month shutdown at this time of year could cost that industry $7 billion of lost revenue. Any longer and it starts to cut into the popular summer concert season, which for LiveNation, the worlds biggest concert promoter, is when 70% of its attendance begins passing through the turnstiles. Thats bad news for the producers, songwriters, technicians and the 269,025 concert employees, including janitors, security personnel and ticket collectors. Thats not to mention the worlds top-earning musicians, all of whom make the majority of their money performing.

Were beginning to see it affect the entire music ecosystem, one prominent artist manager who told Forbes on the condition of anonymity. Were getting calls from our agents about promoters canceling individual shows. Songwriters and producers have canceled flights into L.A. for sessions, so its starting to trickle down to the songwriting and production communities as well.

On New Yorks Broadway, where all 41 theaters are closed, the hit could be about $600 million, based on the amount they pulled in between mid March and July of 2019. During the 2016-2017 season, those theaters also supported more than 87,000 jobs and contributed $12.63 billion to New York Citys economy, according to Broadway League.

The effect on movie theaters is far more drastic. A complete shutdown across the U.S. will mean a $4 billion hit on the box office if they remain closed until July. On March 18, less than a month into the crisis, the National Association of Theater Owners requested a bailout from the government.

From the point of view of studios they are hemorrhaging money on the movie side, says Mike Bloxham the senior vice president of global media and entertainment at research firm Magid. There is a lot of money disappearing in China while 70,000 theaters are still closed.

Once they do reopen, distributors will begin battling to squeeze a large number of films into a limited number of opening dates, including some major releases that include the latest James Bond movie, Disneys Mulan and Marvels Black Widow, all of which have been pushed back.

No one can precisely predict when public life will return to normal, but it will return, Patrick Corcoran, the president of the National Association of Theater Owners, said in a statement on Match 17. When those titles are rescheduled, they will make for an even fuller slate of offerings than normal as they are slotted into an already robust release schedule later in the year.

Last year, entertainment companies spent $121 billion to create original content and they were expected to spend even more this year as new platforms, like short-form video platform Quibi, emerge and streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime continue to plow through cash to produce new shows that lure in subscribers. Disney, Netflix, Universal and a number of other studios have all but shut down U.S. production. In California alone, that activity supported more than 722,000 jobs and $68 billion in wages, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. In New York City, television and film production support about 10% of total employment, whether directly or indirectly, and generates almost $9 billion each year.

Right now, were working to keep everyone safe, support the industry and find ways to help it come back stronger than ever, a spokesperson for Mayors Office of Media and Entertainment said.

The sentiment mirrored that of Colleen Bell, the executive director of Californias Film Commission who said, The entertainment production industry in California has overcome challenges in the past, and it will endure this sudden shutdown. Until the COVID-19 situation improves, the focus is rightfully on the public health crisis. After thats behind us, the industry will once again thrive here in the Golden State.

While those logistics will reverberate widely across show business sectors, consumers may be in for even bigger, long-lasting changes.

For TV shows, the near-term effects could be disappointing for fans looking forward to fresh episodes of their favorite shows. FXs Fargo has shut down production and will have to delay new episodes. More series are sure to follow. Streamers have already changed the way we watch TVintroducing binge-watching and slowly eliminating cable subscriptionsand the more that cable and broadcast series are delayed, the more likely we will continue to move away from the appointment viewing of televisions past.

In film, a far more dramatic shift just happened: consumers may no longer need to fight crowds at movie theaters on opening nights. Universal Studios announced Monday that it would begin releasing films like Invisible Man, Emma and The Hunt available for in-home, on-demand rentals despite the fact that these films were only recently released, blowing up the entrenched windowing schedule that gave theater chains exclusive rights to show movies first before they were released to in-flight entertainment, rental platforms and then television. Sony followed, releasing Vin Diesels Bloodshot for digital purchase only 11 days after its theatrical release.

Others will likely do same and if they do, it could lead the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to change their theatrical-release rule, which only allows films that open in a theatre and stay there for seven days to be considered for Oscars. It may also prompt Netflix to tighten its grip on the entertainment business with the purchase of a theater chain of its own. In 2018, the streaming giant looked at buying Landmark Theatres, but Cohen Media Group beat Netflix to the arthouse chain.

If this continues for a long time, that will cause a change in how we consume content and allow newer titles to get to home video much faster, says Asaf Ashkenazi, the COO of Verimatrix, a technology company that works with distributors in Hollywood. If its a new title, you can delay it, continue to follow the traditional system and just wait. Or you can be more experimental and go directly to selling or renting online, which will allow more people to access it and get the revenue now.

Other businesses are also turning to streaming, including concert-streamer StageIt. The startup, which offers concerts from the likes of Jon Bon Jovi and Sara Bareilles, is on track to have revenue of $250,000 this weekabout the same as its best month until nowand added 10,000 subscribers in two days while hosting virtual festival Shut In & Sing. Even New Yorks Metropolitan Opera is in on it, streaming nightly performances.

The stars themselves are also shifting their approach to how they entertain and communicate with fans. Together, at Home, a new series of online concerts presented by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Global Citizen, has recruited Chris Martin and John Legend to give casual concerts from their living rooms via Instagram Live, taking requests from fans and singing songs like David Bowies Life on Mars. Using Instagram, pop star Lizzo led a meditation, Frozens Josh Gad read kids a story, and, on Twitter, Yo-Yo Ma played a song of comfort. Entertainers have already fully embraced this kind of direct connection with fans and the pandemic may only accelerate that.

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Coronavirus Could Be A $12 Billion Hit To Entertainment And Audiences May Never Be The Same - Forbes

Nothing to see here – Winnipeg Free Press

Posted By on March 21, 2020

Concerts have been cancelled. Theatre productions have been suspended. Museums and galleries are dark. Venues are facing uncertain futures.

As the world shuts down amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, Winnipegs arts and culture scene is taking a huge and immediate hit, with aftershocks yet to be felt. From the theatre to the symphony, from the opera to the rock clubs, the closures and cancellations are casting a shadow on one of our citys most vibrant sectors.

Here, Free Press arts reporters take a look at the immediate impact the virus is having on arts organizations in town, and how they are navigating unprecedented waters.

For Kelly Thornton, the newly minted artistic director of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, things got real on March 12.

Rehearsals were underway for the cast and crew of the mainstage show A Thousand Splendid Suns. While the threat of cancellation hung like a glycol fog over the production, two of the actors, Deena Aziz and Anita Mujumdar, did a phone interview with the Free Press that day, extolling the beauty and pertinence of the theatrical adaptation of Khaled Hosseinis novel about two women and their unlikely alliance in war-ravaged Kabul under the heel of the Taliban.

The first intimation of the shows ultimate fate came from Edmonton, where RMTCs Beatles-laced Shakespeare adaptation, As You Like It, was summarily pulled from the stage at the Citadel Theatre in response to the pandemic crisis that was inexorably creeping across the country.

Rehearsals were underway for the cast and crew of the RMTC show A Thousand Splendid Suns when the plug got pulled. (Leif Norman)

That same day, Beep, a touring childrens show from Australia scheduled to open at Manitoba Theatre for Young People, announced that its performers from Adelaides the Windmill Theatre Company were calling off their North American tour and returning home.

By the following day, RMTC executive director Camilla Holland had flown back from meetings in Toronto to join Thornton in a quickly assembled upper-management COVID-19 crisis team to respond to the worsening situation.

"The show was already set was up, the crew was ready to begin the cue-to-cue, everybody was in their costumes," Thornton says. "And we had to make a very hard announcement that it wasnt going to go.

"It was a heart-wrenching time for all of us, going down and talking to the company on Friday," she says. "There was a lot of tears from management, as well as from the artists. Everyone is devastated.

"I pledged that I will work hard to try and bring this production back to our stage," Thornton says. "I cant make promises of when that is, but I really want to see that play on our stage."

The upcoming drag comedy The Legend of Georgia McBride, previously scheduled to open April 23, was also cancelled as of Thursday, as was RMTCs annual fundraising Lawyers Play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, which had been scheduled to run from May 6 to 9.

"Things are moving so fast and I think a lot of our colleagues across the country are starting to announce cancellations well into the summer," Thornton says. "(Toronto company) Canadian Stage just cancelled Shakespeare in the Park, which was quite shocking to me, because thats a long way out thats July-August."

RMTC produces the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, and for now, there are no plans to cancel the popular events start on July 15.

"But I think, in the face of this crisis, the entire industry is coming together and I think everybody is trying to support each other."

Thornton demurred when asked what kind of monetary pain the theatre might suffer in the wake of the cancellations of both A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Legend of Georgia McBride.

But over at Prairie Theatre Exchange, a much smaller venue, artistic director Thomas Morgan Jones has a figure $250,000 for the hit the company took on the cancellation of its remaining shows, By Grand Central Station (only six performances in, one-third of its run), and local playwright Sharon Bajers world premire of The Gingerbread Girl, as well as the annual Festival of New Works.

Thats an approximate number, Jones cautions, saying the final figures wont be known until the companys fiscal year-end.

"Its devastating on a number of fronts," he says. "What were doing in the organization is assessing what this means in terms of the financial situation for the end of the year. Many people have been graciously donating what theyve spent on a ticket rather than asking for a refund. That makes a huge impact and thats something that, if people are able, I would encourage them for all live performing arts or any museums

"Its an amazing difference, the impact of what that gesture can do."

Theatre Projects Manitoba has cancelled its world premiere of Rick Chafes Five Moments, set to open April 23.

At Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, another show from a local playwright looked as if it would go down in flames. Adding to the pain, it was also a world premire from local playwright Daniel Thau-Eleff. Narrow Bridge, scheduled to run from March 28 to April 5, is a provocative piece in which the central character has a vision of drifting through the mechitzah (the barrier separating men and women in Orthodox synagogues) and subsequently comes out both as transgender and an Orthodox Jew. It has now been scrapped as WJT has cut short its season.

But because WJT is a smaller, nimbler company, artistic director Ari Weinberg had some wiggle room to adjust the theatres newly announced 2020-21 season to accommodate Thau-Eleffs play. Narrow Bridge will now replace Trayf (scheduled for March 6-14, 2021) by American playwright Lindsay Joelle. That comedy will likely move to the 2021-22 season, Weinberg says.

"We were lucky. It was really a matter of connecting dots and lining up that allowed us to do it," he says.

His motivation to go the extra mile was tied to the invisible labour that goes into making a stage production.

"Weve been developing this show for the past 2 1/2 years at WJT," he says. "Daniel and I have been talking about the play since my first season five years ago, and hes been working on it for about seven.

"Why have we spent all this time developing a show a world premire for no one to see?" he says. "So because so many things happen to align, we were able to do it and I feel very fortunate."

Soon after the Aussie artists behind Beep cancelled their North American tour, MTYP artistic director Pablo Felices-Luna confirmed the cancellation of the last show of MTYPs season, Spelling 2-5-5, which had been touring in schools prior to a planned return home for a May 1 run.

It throws everything for a loop when it comes to planning, Felices-Luna says.

"We normally work on a three-year planning cycle, so any changes that are brought about by this could be played out next season or the season after that or if we are really bold, in three seasons time," he says, adding it is too soon to evaluate the impact on MTYPs financial outlook.

"Our core activity involves bringing people together, and when that cant happen, there is a definite hit to the organization," he says. "The extent of that, well, were just trying to adjust and figure it out on the run."

The injury to the artistic community may feel worse, he says.

"Its not just the theatre, its all of those artists who are involved. Theyre also not just being affected financially, but theyre being affected artistically," he says. "There is a life to a show. And when its truncated, it can be pretty hard. Thats something thats worth thinking about, as well."

For the time being, recording and livestreaming plays for home viewing doesnt look like a realistic option, because such efforts may be unsafe in the face of a pandemic. However, it had been planned for the PTE show By Grand Central Station, Jones says.

PTEs production of By Grand Central Station only got through one third of its run. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press files)

"In lieu of that, the producing company Heavy Bell has consented to having an archival video of the show sent exclusively to those who had tickets to the show," he says. "The link will be password-protected and will then be removed from the internet on what would have been the closing day of the production.

"There are no plans at this time for the video to be used in any way other than to be sent to the current ticket holder," Jones says. "I dont expect those plans will change, particularly because it is now only an archival video."

Summer feels like a long way away, and Rainbow Stage artistic director Carson Nattrass cant say for sure what fate awaits his season: The Drowsy Chaperone (July 2-19) and The Wizard of Oz (Aug. 13-30). As a performer himself, and the husband of actor-playwright Sharon Bajer, he feels the pain, he says. But hes holding out hope.

"When all of this passes, Manitobans will need a place to gather and celebrate the human capacity for collaboration, capability and community," he says. "That place is the theatre."

"Try to keep positive," advises Thornton. "Our job is to try and weather the storm so that theres a job to come back to, once we can raise the curtain again."

"The one positive I can find in all this," says Weinberg, "is that there will be a lot of art produced in the coming months. Thats something kind of exciting to look forward to... when we all come out of our isolations."

Randall King

"The orchestra business is precarious at the best of times," says Trudy Schroeder, the executive director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. "I hope this isnt fatal."

When the Free Press reached her Wednesday night, Schroeder had just issued temporary layoff notices to the entire 67-musician orchestra, as well as to 30 full-time administrative staffers and 14 teachers in the Sistema after-school program. "Its heartbreaking," she says.

Four shows from the WSOs current season have been cancelled or postponed, as well as its spring gala. The Centennial Concert Hall has scrapped all rehearsals and shows until mid April.

The musicians cant even gather to practise because the orchestra itself is a group larger than 50; provincial health officials have urged Manitobans not to participate in gatherings larger than that.

The fiscal year is not looking good for the WSO, which was forced to lay off all its staff and musicians earlier this week. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

The WSOs anticipated May tour of the Netherlands marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of that country at the end of the Second World War, may not happen either, owing to international travel restrictions.

The pandemic has already wreaked havoc on WSOs finances.

"Fiscally, this year is an absolute and total wreck probably for every business and arts organization," Schroeder says. The cancellation of last weekends Troupe Vertigo performances alone meant a revenue loss of roughly $300,000. The WSO stands to lose $1 million this year.

"Every two weeks, our payroll is $283,000," Schroeder says. "So you get to the point where theres no revenue coming in and gaping holes. Its amazing how fast it can become horrendously bad."

Indeed, the WSO started this year in its strongest-ever financial position thanks, in part, to the nearly $650,000 built up from 12 consecutive years of operating surplus.

"And now, that entire surplus has been eroded," Schroeder says. "By April 30, barring any special input, well have exactly $4,000."

The WSOs sister organization, Manitoba Opera, is also grappling with the cancellation of Carmen, which was supposed to run March 28, 31 and April 3 at the Centennial Concert Hall, performing with the orchestra.

"There were about 4,500 tickets sold to it, which represents, just in ticket revenue alone, about $330,000," says Manitoba Opera CEO Larry Desrochers. "So thats a big hit."

Like many arts organizations, Manitoba Opera is reaching out to its patrons and offering a tax receipt or a refund option.

"Were just at the beginning of that process, and many ticketholders are converting their purchased ticket into a tax receipt, which is very generous of them and very helpful," Desrochers says.

"For many sectors in the community, whether its health, education or arts and culture, its a very generous community. People come together, not only in a time of need, but in general. So Im not surprised."

Desrochers says more than 250 people including cast, chorus, childrens chorus, crew and orchestra are affected by Carmens cancellation, which represents half of the Operas two-production season.

"In particular, one of the groups that isnt talked about very much that I want to draw attention to is all the crew, all the (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) labour," he says.

"Thats one group of labour thats being affected by multiple closures, and thats easy to overlook. Its an important impact to recognize."

Eyeing an uncertain future, Desrochers points out that this is not just about the future of the Opera.

"Its the future of the entire cultural sector," he says.

Still, there are ways for patrons to support their local arts organizations during a stressful time.

"For many performing arts organizations, if you have a ticket, take a tax receipt for that ticket," Desrochers says. "That will be an immense help to whatever arts organization has sold you that ticket because it means they dont have to return that revenue. I cant underline enough how important that is."

Schroeder, meanwhile, is optimistic the WSO will survive.

"Our main job now is to make sure there will be an orchestra to re-emerge at the end of this pandemic. I have confidence well be able to do that, but well need our community to rally around us.

"Even if youve never been a subscriber to the symphony before, find a series," she says. "Weve got a movie series, weve got a childrens/family series. Go to our website and take out a subscription for next year. That would be a way to give us a little hope."

Posters of past shows line the backstage of an empty Centennial Concert Hall with house lights on and the solitary ghost light on the stage. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet has also closed its doors out of caution, which impacts both the company and the RWB School.

All classes and rehearsals for the 26-dancer company were suspended as of March 16. The companys U.S. Wizard of Oz tour was also cancelled, along with the RWBs 80th anniversary ball, Pretty in Pink, originally scheduled for April 4.

On Friday, the organization officially announced the end of its season.

RWB subscribers and ticket holders are able to donate their tickets back to the organization for a charitable tax receipt, apply a credit to their account or receive a full refund by visiting the RWB websitefor the companys full policy and adjusted box office hours.

The RWB is also encouraging the community to purchase a subscription to its 81st season billed as a season of Virtue & Villainy which is scheduled kick off with the Canadian premiere of Septime Webres Alice (in Wonderland) in October.

At the RWB School, classes and rehearsals are suspended in both its Recreational and Professional divisions, which impacts more than 1,200 students of all ages. The 11-date RWB Aspirants Manitoba on the Edge Tour has been cancelled, as well.

The RWB School residence currently remains open to ensure students who cannot make it home to their families have a safe space to live.

Artistic director Andr Lewis was not available for an interview, but the RWB provided a statement to the Free Press.

"In total, we have 68 full-time staff and 145 part-time staff and over 1,200 students and 26 company dancers who contribute to the successful operations of the RWB. The fortitude of our people as they face this pandemic has been inspiring. They are demonstrating courage, collaboration to seek solutions, and are making the best of an incredibly difficult situation," the statement reads.

Jen Zoratti

It seemed as if the first real recognition of the seriousness of COVID-19 in North America was the cancellation of one of the biggest music festivals and industry conferences in the world, South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, just a few days before it was scheduled to begin earlier this month.

Then another massive festival, Coachella in Indio, Calif., followed suit, postponing from April until October.

The projected loss of revenue, for SXSW especially, was astounding. In addition to many small businesses in town losing thousands of anticipated dollars from the festivals 100,000 attendees, the event itself laid off a third of its 175 year-round employees and said the future of the festival is in severe jeopardy.

Several Manitoba musical acts were set to attend the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. (Jay Janner / Austin American-Statesman files)

Winnipeg musicians eventually got caught up in this tornado of cancellations, being forced to return home early from tour and postpone any local shows until further notice, all but eliminating a main source of income for many of them.

Not-for-profit industry association Manitoba Music has already been made aware of a slew of concert and event cancellations by its members, and Wednesday released a survey in hopes of being able to more concretely gauge the impact of COVID-19 on individual artists, as well as the national music industry as a whole.

On Friday, the associated announced a new COVID-19 emergency relief fund will soon be available for the provinces artists and music-industry workers.

The fund will deliver "urgent micro-grants" to artists and music companies whose financial well-being has been, or will be, impacted by coronavirus-related event cancellations.

Manitoba Musics board of directors is seeding the fund with $20,000 to begin dispersing the micro-grants by the end of March. More details will be available next week as to how the funds will be administered and who is eligible.

Those interested in donating to the fund can visit No tax receipts will be issued; Manitoba Music, a member-based organization, does not have charitable status.

"I think initially theres a real element of disappointment that comes with even having to cancel one gig, and then its a few and then its possibly a couple months worth and then theres some shock that has set in for people in terms of trying to figure out what their business is actually going to look like, says Sean McManus, executive director of Manitoba Music.

"And then we get to the stage of really digging in and figuring out whats next. I think were just coming out of that shock phase and theres still so much uncertainty. Weve seen folks cancel things in the next couple of weeks but I think its obvious now this is going to be a longer-term scenario but still with a fair bit of uncertainty as to how long."

Right now, music organizations are waiting with bated breath to see if the local festival season will be impacted by COVID-19. If those big events do end up getting sidelined, McManus says, the local industry would be faced with a much more difficult recovery.

"A local company I spoke to said if all of our summer festivals hang in and all those bookings stay and come true, well be OK and in a few months well be able to start to recover," McManus says.

"But if that goes down, thats a whole other level of crisis in terms of the business."

Over at Manitoba Film and Music (a government funding agency), CEO and film commissioner Rachel Margolis says they are taking stock and working with their stakeholders to try to analyze what the full impact of COVID-19 will be on both the music and film industries.

Film production is a huge economic driver in Manitoba, and while some productions have put a pause on their work, others are forging ahead while being "diligent and compliant" to ever-tightening restrictions. On the music side, Margolis says she and her team are regularly in touch with Manitoba Music and have no plans to stop the various music-funding programs Manitoba Film and Music offers.

"Were really focusing on being accessible, building strategies, working on business development so that when production, hopefully sooner than later, ramps up again, Manitobas doors are open and were ready to compete on the world stage again as we have been," Margolis says.

"Because this is a pandemic, were not the only ones that are in this were in this together with all of our peer provinces, were in this together as a world and global issue, so the challenges that are facing MFM are facing every other agency.

"Im in almost daily contact with my peer CEOs and film commissioners across Canada and were constantly sharing best practices and we are a forum for good business and good advice. That has been a tremendous support to all of us as we continue to be current with whats happening in our respective jurisdictions."

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Nothing to see here - Winnipeg Free Press

Coronavirus in New Jersey: What concerts, festivals and shows have been rescheduled, canceled. (3/20/20) –

Posted By on March 21, 2020

Heres whats happening -- or, more specifically, not happening -- at entertainment and facilities and museums around New Jersey in compliance with statewide closures announced by Gov. Phil Murphy in response to the coronavirus outbreak.


Rutgers University announced all public events scheduled at the university through the month of May are suspended, including Rutgers Day and commencements at all campuses. Visit for more information.


Murphy has ordered the indefinite closing of all Atlantic City casinos.

Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City has postponed the March 21 Michael Buble date. All tickets will be honored for the rescheduled date. Visit

The Stockton University Performing Arts Center on the Galloway campus has canceled or postponed all events through April 5. Also canceled is the Aunt Mary Pat show at Dante Hall Theatre of the Arts in Atlantic City. For more information contact 609-652-9000 or visit

The African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey has rescheduled the opening reception for its latest exhibit Talking about HERstory, at Noyes Arts Garage in Atlantic City, to April 11. Visit or call 609-350-6662.


Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood has canceled, postponed or rescheduled 12 shows through April 17, some of which already have secured new dates later this year. Due to the large volume of events that have been postponed or canceled, bergenPAC requests ticket holders wait to be contacted regarding their purchase. The Box Office windows will be temporarily closed but open via phone Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The Box Office can be reached at 201-227-1030.

The Hackensack Performing Arts Center in Hackensack is canceling all events through April 16. All tickets purchased for PAC the House, James Maddock, Palisades Virtuosi and Rufus Reid, the Italian Chicks and The Tea Interview with the Stars will be automatically refunded to credit card accounts through Eventbrite. For more information visit

Rutherfurd Hall in Allamuchy has suspended operations through April 1 and issued this statement: All activities, programs and museum hours will be postponed. New dates for all concerts, lectures, Murder Mystery Dinner and Paint Night will be determined and announced as soon as possible. We will update the website and contact all current ticket holders for each event as new dates are determined. Visit for more information.

The Belskie Museum of Art and Science in Closter is closed until further notice. Visit or call 201-768-0286.

The Mahwah Museum in Mahwah is closed through March and aims to resume exhibits and programs in April. Visit or call 201-512-0099.


The Roebling Museum in Florence has suspended all public programming through April 8. Visit


The Adventure Aquarium in Camden has suspended operations through March 27, but assures proper staffing will be maintained to care of the aquatic life and animals on site. Visit or call 844-474-3474.

The Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood has postponed its scheduled concert dates through at least April 24. For information visit or call 856-858-1000.


The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities in Cape May has canceled or postponed all public programming, including tours of the Physick House Museum, the Cape May Lighthouse, the World War II Lookout Tower, and all Trolley Tours through Thursday, April 2. It hopes to resume regular schedule of tours, events, and activities that conclude before 8 p.m., on Friday, April 3, at least until further notice. Its cooperative event with local nonprofit and business partners, the April 3-5 Negro League Baseball Weekend also has been canceled.


The Landis Theater in Vineland has opted to to postpone all shows and gatherings of any sort on theater property until further notice. Visit for updates.

The Levoy Theatre in Millville has rescheduled or postponed its slate of shows through April 11, aiming to reopen its doors for the April 16 LeAnn Rimes concert. Visit or call 856-327-6400.

Wheaton Arts and Culture Center and the Museum of American Glass in Millville have suspended public programming until further notice. Keep tabs at or call 856-825-6800.

The Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts in Millville has canceled all workshops and its planned May 30 spring fundraiser. The galleries will remain open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and until 7 p.m. on March 20. Call 856-327-4500 or visit


The Prudential Center in Newark has closed its facilities, offices, the Grammy Museum Experience and the RJWBarnabas Health Hockey House. New Jersey Devils games and events scheduled for the month of March and concerts through April 14 including Billie Eilish and Elton John have been postponed. For questions, email For the up-to-date information, visit or

New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark has suspended all performances through April 13. All NJPAC arts education and community engagement programming also is canceled. For information call 888-466-5722 or visit

South Orange Performing Arts Center in South Orange has halted all shows through April 16. For information, call 973-313-2787, email or visit

Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn has postponed its April production of Sister Act to a date yet determined, canceled three March childrens stage productions and suspended classed for eight weeks. It also announced it was putting its May world premiere production of The Wanderer on hold and shifting its May 15 fundraiser to an online campaign. Visit or email

Luna Stage in West Orange has postponed its spring productions of Hooray for Ladyland! Gay History for Straight People" and "Shruti Gupta Can Totally Deal until further notice. Visit

Wellmont Theater in Montclair has postponed six shows on its schedule through April 9, including Southside Johnny, Guster and Fetty Wap. For information visit or call 973-783-9500.

Peak Performances world premiere of Kate Sopers opera The Romance of the Rose is still scheduled for April 2-5 at Kasser Theater on the Montclair State University campus in Montclair. For updates, visit

Outpost in the Burbs, based at the First Congregational Church in Montclair, has postponed three concerts through April 4 and expects to turn the lights back on for the April 17 Alejandro Escovedo concert. Visit

The Puffin Cultural Forum in Teaneck has canceled all March events, including the March 21 Kersten Stevens Jazz Quintet concert. Visit or call 201-836-3499 for updates.

The Newark Museum of Art in Newark is closed until April 16. Visit or call 973-596-6550.

The Montclair Art Museum in Montclair is closed through March. For updates, visit or check social media pages.

The Jewish Museum of New Jersey in Newark has canceled its Reinventing Eve exhibit and is closed to the public. Visit

The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Montclair is shut until further notice. Look for updates at

The Nutley Museum in Nutley has canceled all events through April. Call 973-667-1528 or visit


Broadway Theatre of Pitman has closed its doors through April 17, erasing eight planned performances from its schedule. It hopes to reopen for the opening night of Big River on April 17. Call 856-384-8381 or visit

Rowan University College of Performing Arts has canceled the March 28 Cashore Marionettes performance at Pfleeger Concert Hall on its Glassboro campus. Visit

The Heritage Glass Museum in Glassboro will be closed until further notice. Contact or call 856-881-7468.


The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City is closed through March. Those who purchased advance tickets will have the option of a refund or donating the ticket price to the center. Visit or call 201-200-1000.

The Museum of Russian Art in Jersey City has canceled its planned March 21 exhibit opening. For updated information, visit


Music Mountain Theatre in Lambertville anticipates being closed for the next three weeks and has canceled Alice in Wonderland and The Last Five Years. Visit for more information.

Stangl Stage in Flemington has canceled its March 28 The THE BAND Band concert. It reports it will be in touch with ticket holders to arrange refunds.

The Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton is closed and hopes to reopen March 30. Visit

The Red Mill Museum Village will be closed through the end of March. Visit


McCarter Theatre in Princeton has suspended all performances, classes and other events through March. For information, visit or call 609-258-2787.

Passage Theatre at the Mill Hill Playhouse in Trenton has pushed its production of Mother (and Me from March 20-22 to June 19-21. Look online at

The New Jersey State Museum in Trenton is closed until further notice. Visit

The 1719 William Trent House Museum in Trenton has suspended operations through April 1. For information visit or call 609-989-0087.

Old Barracks Museum in Trenton is closed through March 30 but has opened a new online exhibit titled When Women Vote: The Old Barracks and the Anti-Suffrage Movement. The exhibit went live on Tuesday, March 17. For more information visit

Mercer County has shut down activities at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, forcing the cancellation of Disney on Ice later this month. Next event tentatively scheduled for the venue is the Adam Sandler show on April 23. For information visit

The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie is closed until April, postponing the opening of Ellarslie Open 37. Visit

The Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market at Roebling Wire Works in Trenton has been moved from April 4-5 to May 30-31. Visit or email

The Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton is closed through March 29. Programming has been canceled through May 5. For information, visit or call 609-586-0616.

All Princeton University public events are suspended and the Princeton University Art Museum is closed through March. Visit for updates.

Kelsey Theatre on the Mercer County Community College campus in West Windsor has canceled Chicken Dance," 33 Variations and Parade." The theater notes it will contact ticket holders to make further arrangements. Visit for more.

1867 Sanctuary in Ewing has postponed all events through April 5. For information visit

Rider University Arts has canceled on- and off-campus Westminster Choir College and Rider events through April 15. Visit

Morven Museum and Garden in Princeton is closed to April 1. Visit


State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick has canceled or postponed seven shows through April 7, some of which already have been rescheduled. Ticket holders will be notified by email and phone of their options. For more information visit or call 732- 246-7469.

Crossroads Theatre Company in New Brunswick has pushed back its opening for Freedom Rider from April to Sept. 10. Visit or call 732-545-8100.

George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick has suspended the remaining performances of Conscience" and has shifted its April 21-May 17 performances of A Walk on the Moon to next season. Contact 732-246-7717 or

The Avenel Performing Arts Center in Avenel has canceled the March 22 New York Tenors concert and postponed Bodiographys April 3-5 performances. Contact 732-314-0500 or

East Jersey Old Town Village and the Cornelius Low House Museum in Piscataway are closed until further notice. Season opening weekend scheduled for April 4- 5 and the Liberty Base Ball Club home opener on April 4 have been canceled. For updates, text CULTURE to 56512.


Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank has postponed performances through March 28, with some events already rescheduled for later this year. (The Mandy Moore March 27 concert, however, was still on the schedule as of Monday, March 16). Ticket holders unable to make any new dates should contact our box office at 732-842-9000 to make alternate arrangements. Visit for updates.

Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal has suspended all productions through April 20, including Matilda the Musical, Satchmo and Friends in New Orleans and Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater. For information call 732-531-9106 or visit

The Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan notes its postponements will be made on a rolling basis. The March 30 appearance by author Harlan Coben has been postponed but its holding out hope for the March 27 opening of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." Visit for updates.

Monmouth University Center for the Arts in West Long Branch has postponed scheduled events through April 3. Visit for updates.

The Garden State Film Festival, scheduled for March 25-29, will resort to live streaming of its films for ticket holders through its private servers. Physical festival events such as industry activities, workshops and panels have been canceled. Visit

The Asbury Park Boardwalk issued this announcement on Tuesday, March 17: Effective immediately we are temporarily closing venues along the Asbury Park waterfront, which include The Stone Pony, Wonder Bar, Convention Hall, and Paramount Theatre. This temporary closing also encompasses the Grand Arcade (the passthrough located between the Paramount Theatre and Convention Hall) and its retailers, restaurants and public restrooms. For all other establishments along the boardwalk, please refer to that business website and social platforms for their policies and updates. For information, visit

Spring Lake Theatre Company has postponed the planned March 20 opening its production of Monty Pythons Spamalot at the Spring Lake Community House to some time in mid-April. Call 732-449-4530 or visit

Two River Theater in Red Bank has suspended the remaining performances of Radio Golf." Look online at for updated information.

The Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County has suspended all programming through April. Visit

The Monmouth Museum in Lincroft is closed until at least March 22. Visit or call 732-224-1995.

The Monmouth Civic Chorus has canceled its March 29 concert at First Presbyterian Church of Freehold in Freehold. For information contact or 732- 933-9333.


Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown is suspending 17 public performances, as well as classes and events through March 31. MPAC is working to reschedule these events. All ticket holders will be contacted as soon as possible with more details. For information, call 973- 539-8008 or visit

Drew University in Madison has canceled its public events through March. Visit for more information.

The Spring CraftMorristown scheduled for March 27-29 at the Morristown National Guard Armory has been postponed to a date to be determined. For information, visit or call 845-331-7900.

The Morris Museum in Morristown will be closed to the public until further notice. All upcoming ticketed events have been postponed and will be rescheduled for later dates. For information, call 973-971-3700 or visit

Macculloch Hall Historical Museum in Morristown has canceled programming and will remain closed until March 31. Visit or call 973-538-2404.

The Museum of Early Trades and Crafts has postponed public programs and plans to issue daily updates at

The Folk Project has canceled its April slate of weekly concerts. Visit or call 973-335-9489.

Roxbury Arts Alliance has rescheduled the March 28 The Music of John Denver and the Great American Country concert with Charlie Zahm and Friends at Investors Bank Theater in Roxbury to May 29. Visit or call 862-219-1379.

Morristown National Historical Park in Morristown announced the park visitor center, museum and historic buildings are closed until further notice. Where it is possible to adhere to the latest health guidance, the park grounds, parking lots and restroom facilities in Jockey Hollow remain open. More information and online exhibits can be found at

The Boonton Historical Society and Museum in Boonton is closed until further notice. Visit or email

Brundage Park Playhouse has rescheduled its March 29 Rocking With the Oldies fundraiser to Sept. 20.


The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts on the Ocean County College campus in Toms River has postponed its lineup of shows through April 2, plus it April 4 The Amazing Max show. Visit or call 732-255-0500.

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Coronavirus in New Jersey: What concerts, festivals and shows have been rescheduled, canceled. (3/20/20) -

Letters: Let’s stave off the virus of hate, too – The Advocate

Posted By on March 21, 2020

As we all sock into what could be a lengthy period of self-quarantine and social distancing in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus, we should realize that we need to be vigilant for another type of virus lest it be given room to spread and infect us the virus of hatred, xenophobia and bigotry.

The Anti-Defamation League has been tracking how xenophobia, conspiracy theory and even anti-Semitism have all come into the discussion around COVID-19. This is very troubling at a time when fear and uncertainty are so prevalent, and communities who are vulnerable at the best of times, find themselves more so during this period of isolation.

COVID-19 is a virus that does not discriminate. It impacts humans across the globe, and response to it must be governed by managing the facts on the ground, and the facts of the virus. But fact does not spread as quickly as fear, and ignorance, confusion and mistrust are running rampant. These are the key ingredients fueling an extremely contagious rise of hate and bigotry.

ADL has seen and tracked the increasing expressions of bias and conspiracy theories occurring around this virus. We must resist assigning blame or scapegoating members of our community, through marginalization or even the language choices we use to describe COVID-19. The Asian-American community is facing an outbreak of bias and vilification around a disease that they had nothing to do with. Our leaders at the highest levels are playing into this bias by calling this the Chinese or Wuhan virus.

Throughout history, groups have been blamed and scapegoated in times of crisis. We are in a time of crisis now. As fear and concern turn to frustration and even desperation, we must stand together and resist demonizing or targeting any vulnerable members of our community. We must work to find solutions that benefit all of us and continue building an inclusive response. By standing together (while physically apart), we will come out the other side of this health crisis, and come out with our community, our common humanity, and our commitment to one another intact.


regional director, Anti-Defamation League

New Orleans

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Letters: Let's stave off the virus of hate, too - The Advocate

Why Are ADL, the NEA, and the Hispanic Federation Pressuring the Supreme Court to Strike Down Abortion Safety Regulations? – Capital Research Center

Posted By on March 21, 2020

The debate surrounding abortion has become a bit of a political litmus test in recent years. One side defends the right to abortion as a constitutional guarantee while the other declares there should be no constitutional right to abortion; the right in question, they say, is the right to life, and it extends to the unborn.

Recent news reports indicate some Democrats have begun to realize they may need to expand their thinking on the abortion question and adopt a more welcoming approach to pro-life Democrats. But based on the disparate groups filing amicus briefs in the Louisiana abortion case that recently went before the Supreme Court in March, thats going to be much easier said than done.

Many of those groups are bafflingly disconnected from the abortion issue in general. Others would likely be assumed (incorrectly) to take a neutral position on the issue. Which raises the question: Do pro-life people, whether Democrat or Republican, who might support these groups realize they are using their considerable resources to help sway a Supreme Court decision on an abortion case that has the potential to change the debate entirely?

The case in question is June Medical Services, LLC v. Gee, which arose from a Louisiana state law that requires doctors who perform abortions to also have admission privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. Pro-choice activists argue that the practical effect of this law will reduce the number of abortion providers in Louisiana and create an undue burden on women seeking to exercise their right to abortion.

Amicus curiae briefs (or friend of the court briefs) are filed with the Supreme Court by those who are not party to a case but nevertheless have an interest in the outcome. Collectively, they are known as amici. Arguments presented by amici are often different than those presented by the actual parties, and they can have a persuasive role in how the justices ultimately rule.

In the June Medical Services case, some of the groups filing these briefs would rarely, if ever, be associated with abortion advocacy in the minds of the general public, and possibly in the minds of pro-life supporters of these groups. Obviously, this is problematic for people with deep pro-life convictions who might be completely unaware of their preferred groups stance on one of the most emotionally divisive issues in the country.

Alongside groups well known for supporting abortion, including Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the American Civil Liberties Union, there appear briefs from medical associations that many people could easily assume retain a neutral position on the issue. Those groups include the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and others. Some, according to other statements theyve made, actually tack a fairly radical pro-abortion line: The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine strongly oppose abortion restrictions even well into the second trimestera position that is deeply unpopular with the American public.

A number of prominent nonmedical organizations also filed as amici. Groups such as the Anti-Defamation League, the National Urban League, the National Employment Law Project, the National Consumers League, the Hispanic Federation, and even the American Bar Association. Such groups would likely never be linked to abortion advocacy in the minds of the general public.

Then, there are the religious congregations, including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Union for Reform Judaism, and the United Church of Christ, all of whom also signed on as amici. Do all members or donors to these religious organizations know about the official position on abortion from church leaders?

Among the most entrenched supporters, as they have been with many facets of the progressive lefts platform, are the labor unions. The Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, as well as the two principal American teachers unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. Indeed, both the AFT and the NEA put out explicitly pro-abortion resolutions in 2019. While one might quite reasonably wonder at the link between labor organizing and abortion advocacy, the explanation lies simply in the lock-step alignment of many national unions and the Democratic Partys political platform. It is no coincidence that all four unions have been counted among the top 15 Democratic political spenders since the 1990 election cycle.

Its disturbing enough that supporters of these groups may not realize that their favored non-profits are increasingly willing to wade into controversial issues that are at most tangentially connected to their mission. But even those who do not directly support these groupsyes, the American taxpayermay be unwittingly subsidizing a groups pro-abortion position. Taxpayers have contributed large sums to a number of the amici in June Medical Services. Planned Parenthood is a famously controversial example, but according to several dozen of the amici or their affiliates have been federal grantees since 2008.

Some of the largest include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Bar Association, and the National Urban League, which together collect tens of millions in federal grant money annually.

National Review reporter Alexandra DeSanctis recently wrote, If the National Rifle Association were to suddenly issue a statement declaring its belief that life begins at conception . . . it would be a cause for confusion and surely for immense criticism from the groups opponents. No doubt this same confusion is currently working its effects on some unknowable number of pro-life supporters in the United States.

This article first appeared in the Washington Examiner onMarch 12, 2020.

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Why Are ADL, the NEA, and the Hispanic Federation Pressuring the Supreme Court to Strike Down Abortion Safety Regulations? - Capital Research Center

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