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Arts
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Posted on: May 6th, 2009

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Jewish Art is a grass-roots movement whose time has come. It has evolved precisely because there are those who are moved by their Jewish heritage and wish to share this experience with the art world, the general public and the Jewish community. There has never been such an exciting time.

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Posted on: April 29th, 2009

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When on April 5th, First Lady Michelle Obama visited Prague's Pinkas Synagogue with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and David Axelrod, a senior White House advisor, she expressed particular interest in the synagogue's collection of drawings by children from the concentration camp of Terez?n, which they created under the tutelage of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis (1898-1944).

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Posted on: April 29th, 2009

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When on April 5th, First Lady Michelle Obama visited Prague's Pinkas Synagogue with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and David Axelrod, a senior White House advisor, she expressed particular interest in the synagogue's collection of drawings by children from the concentration camp of Terezín, which they created under the tutelage of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis (1898-1944).

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Posted on: April 22nd, 2009

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To make a pilgrimage is to travel far and participate in something holy, singular and transformative. Upon the death of a parent, Jews make a pilgrimage thrice daily to a synagogue to participate in the same ritual, the Kaddish said over and over. It doesn't have to be far or near. It simply must be a place that Jews have decided is holy.

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Posted on: April 14th, 2009

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The title page to a 1610 edition of 12th-century poet and legal scholar, Eliezer ben Nathan's "Even Ha'ezer" ("Stone of Salvation," per I Samuel 7:12) features a woodcut that looks fairly standard at first glance. Two pillars flank the central alignment of the Hebrew text, and two birds perch atop the columns. Beneath the pillars are two lions and two hands, configured in the manner of the priestly blessing, with a gap between the joined index and middle fingers and the ring and small fingers. This combination of hands and lions constitutes the printing mark of Moses ben Bezalel Katz of Prague, who was a Kohen.

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Posted on: April 7th, 2009

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We are taught: "In every generation one is obligated to regard himself as though he had gone out from Egypt." How difficult, what a leap of imagination for us in a free America, surrounded by friends and family, secure in our past and future yiddishkeit, to feel the terrors of long ago. Indeed we might forget, we might wish not to remember events in our own time and the time of our parents that were remarkably similar to the Egyptian horror. David Wander's Holocaust Haggadah reminds us with a somber art that is defiantly infused with hope and compassion.

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Posted on: April 1st, 2009

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If Iranian-Israeli relations are ever to improve, will the miracle originate amongst policymakers and trickle down to the masses, or will civilians grow so tired of the conflicts that they insist upon crafting their leadership in their own pacifistic image? This question is of course well above the pay grade of a column on Jewish arts, but it is central to Motti Lerner's "Benedictus," in a limited run at Theater J at the Washington DC JCC.

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Posted on: March 18th, 2009

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When Ephron the Hittite discussed a real estate transaction with Abraham in Genesis 23:10 that would secure the late Sarah a burial plot beside Adam and Eve, what was he wearing? How had Hittite art and interior design changed by the time David secretly sent Uriah the Hittite, husband of Bathsheba, to the front lines to die in 2 Samuel 11? When Achan - the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah - stole from the booty of the decimated city of Jericho in Joshua 7:1, what color was the Shinarite (Babylonian) cloak that he poached?

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Posted on: March 4th, 2009

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A Chassidic prodigy alienates his community by painting nudes. When he dares to crucify his mother in two of his paintings, the Rebbe has no choice but to banish him from Brooklyn and ship him off to Paris. There is no escaping the provocative plot of Chaim Potok's 1972 novel, My Name is Asher Lev.

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Posted on: February 25th, 2009

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The sea of people pouring out of the elevators on the tenth floor of Sotheby's varied greatly in their age, dress, and religious associations. But as they entered the exhibit, they shared a universal expression of awe and reverence. Thirteen thousand rare and ancient books looked down from the shelves and the crowd stared back in fascinated silence.

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Posted on: February 25th, 2009

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The sea of people pouring out of the elevators on the tenth floor of Sotheby's varied greatly in their age, dress, and religious associations. But as they entered the exhibit, they shared a universal expression of awe and reverence. Thirteen thousand rare and ancient books looked down from the shelves and the crowd stared back in fascinated silence.

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Posted on: February 18th, 2009

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The young couple sitting behind me in the small black box theater at the Hirshhorn Museum could not stop giggling at Ori Gersht's film, "The Forest."

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Posted on: February 18th, 2009

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The young couple sitting behind me in the small black box theater at the Hirshhorn Museum could not stop giggling at Ori Gersht's film, "The Forest."

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Posted on: February 4th, 2009

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The other photographers snapped their pictures of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the outgoing president as he boarded his helicopter, Marine One, officially marked "United States of America." But Annie Leibovitz took a different approach to her photo of the 37th president - the only one to resign in office.

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Posted on: January 21st, 2009

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Writing a biography of the biblical Sarah, whether in text or images, is about as easy as hunting tigers in Africa or helping Pooh chase Heffalumps and Woozles.

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Posted on: January 14th, 2009

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While the heart of Israel's democracy is to be found in the Knesset in Jerusalem, just across the road is a quiet but persuasive work of art that sums up the awesome narrative of Jewish history that finally brought us to the Land of Israel.

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Posted on: January 7th, 2009

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Generally, sequels are best avoided. It should not have taken three remakes to prove that the first "Planet of the Apes" was more than enough, and the movie-going public would have been far better off without repeats of films like "Legally Blonde" and "Weekend at Bernie's."

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Posted on: December 31st, 2008

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In 1931 Marc Chagall embarked on a series of etchings of the Bible that would become a pervasive, creative theme for the rest of his life.

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Posted on: December 24th, 2008

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Michael Gleizer's work is unfortunately all too easy to pigeonhole. You are not likely to ever encounter it in the Whitney Biennial, and you had better not expect to see it selling for hundreds of millions alongside Damien Hirst's works at auction.

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Posted on: December 24th, 2008

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Michael Gleizer's work is unfortunately all too easy to pigeonhole. You are not likely to ever encounter it in the Whitney Biennial, and you had better not expect to see it selling for hundreds of millions alongside Damien Hirst's works at auction.

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