Jewish Culture

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

Tree of Life -- Or L’Simcha is a conservative Jewish congregation, and Calvary Episcopal Church is mainline Protestant. But both Pittsburgh congregations trace their origins to the mid-19th century. And both have long inhabited houses of worship accented by stained glass on tree-lined Shady Avenue, albeit a mile apart. 

Photo by Heather Mull / Courtesy of off the WALL productions

Moriah Ella Mason grew up as a queer Jew in a conservative, Christian town in Westmoreland County. She felt, needless to say, isolated in Trafford -- and for a long time she simply denied her queerness.

As an adult artist, however, Mason found inspiration in places that some might find surprising: Jewish folklore and sacred texts, like the Torah. Her new dance work, “Queer, Jewish: Dancing in Diaspora,” explores the way Jewish and queer identities can intersect in such sources.