For most of the poets and essayists at Lulu's Beehive coffeehouse on Wed., May 16, this was their first public reading of their work. But every one of the readers was already a published author, thanks to Ohmanut, a new Jewish student arts magazine published by Hillel at Pierce and Valley Colleges with a grant from The Jewish Federation/Valley Alliance.
It was standing room only at the Studio City coffeehouse as magazine contributors, friends and family, and other interested patrons listened to the students read their work. Pierce College journalism major Reina Slutske, who read her poem "Where Are They Now?" to the crowd, explained her involvement with the magazine: "[Ohmanut] proves that people are interested in the arts and accepting of many different messages." Having her work published in the magazine, she said, "validates me as an artist and as a member of the Jewish community."
Also contributing to the event was Nomi Gordon, director of Hillel at Pierce and Valley Colleges, who read a poetic essay of her own. Program Director Rick Lupert, who designed, edited and laid out the magazine with student editor Emily Gardner, read from one of his own previously published volumes of poetry, titled "I'm a Jew, Are You?" As Gordon expressed her hope that the Jewish student publication would become a "model for the nation," the crowd engaged in some model behavior of its own. Audience members clapped and cheered and shouted out their support for Jewish students and their creative expression.