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December 1, 2015 / 19 Kislev, 5776
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Spiritual Cafe: Jacob Returns to the Promise Land
Supreme Court Cancels Terrorist Home Demolition

December 1, 2015 - 12:41 PM
Chassidic New Year’s Celebrations Cheer Up Israel, Cities Around the World

December 1, 2015 - 12:06 PM
Security Passes Being Scrutinized in Paris Airport

December 1, 2015 - 10:48 AM
Rabbinic Court Permits Wedding 2nd Wife over 1st Wife’s Dementia

December 1, 2015 - 10:44 AM
Arab with Knife Caught Near Efrat, Attempted Stabbing Near Einav, Terrorist Killed

December 1, 2015 - 10:26 AM
Lebanon-al Nusra Prisoner Exchange Has Begun

December 1, 2015 - 9:33 AM
Jerusalem Light Rail Attacked by Stone-Throwers in Shuafat

December 1, 2015 - 9:29 AM
Stabbing in Jerusalem

December 1, 2015 - 8:14 AM
UPDATE: Terror Attack at Tzomet HaGush

December 1, 2015 - 8:04 AM
In the Contest Between Victimized Expellees, Jewish Refugees of Arab Lands Have Proof

December 1, 2015 - 4:20 AM
See the World’s Largest Menorah on Fifth Avenue (Sunday Night)

December 1, 2015 - 2:07 AM
‘Kosher Russia’ Party Ready to Hit Parliamentary Elections

November 30, 2015 - 10:59 PM
Jewish Genome Event Explores Tracing our Jewish Identity to our DNA

November 30, 2015 - 9:50 PM
Police, Shin Bet, Promise Dramatic Development in ‘Jewish Terror’ Case

November 30, 2015 - 9:29 PM
Abbas Shakes Hands with Netanyahu in Paris, Blames Israel for PA’s Environmental Failures

November 30, 2015 - 9:22 PM
DM Ya’alon Says Israel is Prepared for Escalation in Terror Attacks

November 30, 2015 - 7:21 PM
France Demands Details From IAEA On Iranian Nuclear Activities

November 30, 2015 - 6:00 PM
ISIS and Iran: A New Era Ignites in Israel, America and the World

November 30, 2015 - 6:00 PM
Some Ultra-Orthodox Troubled by Bazooka’s New Kosher Certification

November 30, 2015 - 5:29 PM
Terrorists Sentenced for Plotting to Kill Jews on Temple Mount, Police on Patrol

November 30, 2015 - 5:14 PM
Speed Limit Raised to 80 Miles an Hour on Highway 6

November 30, 2015 - 3:29 PM
Media Go Haywire over Abbas-Netanyahu Handshake

November 30, 2015 - 3:15 PM
Ban Ki-Moon Condemns Terror around the World – Except in Israel [video]

November 30, 2015 - 2:17 PM
Foreign Ministry Recruiting Former Unit 8200 Soldiers for Social Media Battles

November 30, 2015 - 1:31 PM
After Surprise Visit to Jordan, Ben Carson Wants No Refugees in America

November 30, 2015 - 1:24 PM
Committee Expected to Approve Kotel Plaza 2-Story Beit Haliba Project

November 30, 2015 - 1:20 PM
Israeli Start-Up Finds Parking Places for Drivers

November 30, 2015 - 1:08 PM
World Leaders Gather for ‘COP-21 Paris 2015’ Climate Change Conference

November 30, 2015 - 12:47 PM
Bayit Yehudi’s Yinon Magal Announces Resignation from Knesset

November 30, 2015 - 11:27 AM
Israeli Court Convicts Jewish Murderers of Arab Teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir

November 30, 2015 - 11:04 AM
More Arab Media Incitement After Clashes in Jerusalem Neighborhood

November 30, 2015 - 10:00 AM
Israeli Paramedic Reflects on Treating Wounded Syrians

November 30, 2015 - 1:24 AM
Document Reveals IDF Collaboration with B’Tselem in Investigating Soldiers

November 29, 2015 - 10:17 PM
Peace Now Chief’s Attempt to Close Religious-Secular Gap Ripped by Leftists [video]

November 29, 2015 - 8:36 PM
Responding to Product Labeling Netanyahu Suspends Peace Process Negotiations with EU

November 29, 2015 - 8:29 PM
Dozens Arrested in ISIS Bombing of Tunisian Presidential Guard

November 29, 2015 - 7:08 PM
After Paris Attacks, Europe Showing More Interest in Israeli Security Solutions

November 29, 2015 - 7:05 PM
Israel Hunts for Office Space in Abu Dhabi as New Member of UN Agency

November 29, 2015 - 6:10 PM
Ya’alon Confirms: Russian Pilots Do Breach Israeli Airspace, But Are Not Shot Down

November 29, 2015 - 5:28 PM
Israelis Gear up for ‘GivingTuesday’ in the Jewish State

November 29, 2015 - 3:59 PM
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The Activist Lawyer Seminar will be held on March 7 to March 13 in Jerusalem and Northern Israel.

King Saul, King of Spades by Arthur Szyk
Heroes of Ancient Israel: Playing Card Art published by Historicana

Posted on: November 23rd, 2012


Arthur Szyk (1894; Lodz, Poland – 1951; New Canaan, USA) was a driven man determined to serve his people through his art. A passionate supporter of Jabotinsky’s Revisionist Zionists from at least the mid-1930’s, Szyk’s art almost always had a political edge. As we noted on these pages arch 12 & 19 2010, the Szyk Haggadah (1934 -1936) was originally an explicitly anti-Fascist creation. Therefore the recent publication by Historicana of “Heroes of Ancient Israel: Playing Card Art of Arthur Szyk” is notable for its lack of overt political content. Indeed, its strength lies in a subtler affirmation of Jewish sovereignty and wisdom.

Tripartite Mahzor (14th century) “King Girded With Might”
Courtesy Bodleian Library & Jewish Museum

Posted on: November 9th, 2012


In the eyes of the ram lies the artist’s commentary on the Rosh Hashanah piyyut “The King Girded with Strength.” From the Tripartite Mahzor (German 14th century), this illumination simultaneously echoes the piyyut’s praise of God’s awesome power and expresses the terror of actually being a sacrifice to God. The ram is but a reflection of Isaac. It is all in the eyes.

Tripartite Mahzor (14th century) “King Girded With Might”
Courtesy Bodleian Library & Jewish Museum

Posted on: November 9th, 2012


In the eyes of the ram lies the artist’s commentary on the Rosh Hashanah piyyut “The King Girded with Strength.” From the Tripartite Mahzor (German 14th century), this illumination simultaneously echoes the piyyut’s praise of God’s awesome power and expresses the terror of actually being a sacrifice to God. The ram is but a reflection of Isaac. It is all in the eyes.

Dalia Shusterman and Perl Wolfe -- Bulletproof Stockings

Posted on: October 28th, 2012


Rocking custom sheitels and opaque tights, and walking the sidewalks of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Dalia Shusterman and Perl Wolfe have the Hasidic world talking – and singing along to the tunes of their Hasidic alternative rock girl band, Bulletproof Stockings.

King David (1957) hand-colored etching by Marc Chagall
Courtesy Haggerty Museum of Art, Gift of Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty
Marc Chagall © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

Posted on: October 25th, 2012


Chagall’s reputation needs no burnishing and yet refinements are always welcome. Indeed the Nassau County Museum of Art has mounted a wonderfully extensive survey of Chagall’s works with a unique emphasis on his 1957 Bible series of hand-colored etchings that significantly casts many aspects of his work as uniquely Jewish. Amid the complexity of Chagall’s entire oeuvre, this is deeply significant in the exhibition history of non-Jewish institutions.

Dancing in the Rain, (30 x 24), Oil on linen by Rosa Katzenelson
Courtesy Hadas Gallery

Posted on: October 25th, 2012


Passion of belief can certainly lead to passion of expression, especially for an artist. Rosa Katzenelson’s paintings and digital artwork, currently at the Hadas Gallery in Brooklyn, could easily define the very essence of religious expressionism. As a Chabad devotee, every aspect of her work exudes a passion for both the chassidic subjects she depicts and the visceral act of making a painting. Nonetheless, upon closer inspection her work yields considerably more complexity.

Abba Hilkiah’s Wife (2012) thread on silk organza by Jacqueline Nicholls
Courtesy JCC Manhattan

Posted on: October 14th, 2012


Jacqueline Nicholls, a Jewish artist from England, presents us with a formidable challenge. Namely, what is the role of a contemporary Jewish Woman artist and how does one confront patriarchal dominance? She presents her response to both queries in her current exhibition at the JCC Manhattan, beautifully curated by Tobi Kahn and organized by Tisch Gallery director Megan Whitman. The results are breathtakingly forceful, subtle and insightful.

Moses at the Red Sea (1320) illumination from Golden Haggadah
Courtesy The British Library, London

Posted on: September 21st, 2012


As the year draws to a close we have the book of Deuteronomy before us week after week, reviewing many of the halachos and reminding us of our harrowing trek through the wilderness. Moshe Rabbeinu is the stern narrator, guiding us to the very edge of the Promised Land, a final step he will never take. He pleads with God to let him enter the Land to no avail. Finally, “Moses, servant of Hashem, died there, in the land of Moab, by the mouth of Hashem. And He buried him in the depression, in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, and no one knows his burial place to this day. (Deut. 34: 5).” We complete our reading of the Torah with tears in our eyes for our faithful teacher, prophet and leader, whose life seems to end in angst and frustration. What was the inner life of our brave and tenacious leader?

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Posted on: September 12th, 2012


The “Red Hot Chili Peppers” performed in Tel Aviv on Monday night, a decade after they canceled their show due to security issues. It was the group’s first visit to Israel, and to make the most of it, the members went to the Western Wall in Jerusalem straight from the airport. The band talked about Hillel Slovak, one of their founding members, who died from a drug overdose in the early 1990s.

Western Wall Plaza at Night (9 ¾ x 40) digital print by Bill Aron
Courtesy 92nd Street Y

Posted on: September 7th, 2012


Photographs seems like cruel slices from the past, frozen images of what will never be again. Since we assume the photographic image is, by and large, a factual view of some reality, it is inherently believed and trusted. But now be forewarned. It ain’t necessarily so. Bill Aron’s new images at the 92nd Street Y betray and beguile so as to force us to reassess the meaning of what we see.

Brothers (1999) 86 x 50, oil on linen and paper by Diana Kurz
Courtesy the artist

Posted on: August 23rd, 2012


Reaching back in time to reclaim a family for herself and, in a yahrzeit moment, to rekindle lives snuffed out, Diana Kurz’s paintings stand as testaments to victims of the Holocaust. After a successful 20 year career as an artist and teacher, (with a strong feminist bent), in 1989 Kurz happened upon a few surviving photos of her own relatives “who disappeared during the war.” Suddenly her past opened up and possessed her. This spring (April 4 – May 2, 2012) a series of these paintings was shown at the Art Gallery at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY.

Plague of Locusts & Plague of Darkness (ca.1330) Tempera, gold, ink on parchment: Rylands Haggadah
Courtesy The John Rylands University Library, University of Manchester, England

Posted on: August 9th, 2012


The Rylands Haggadah, created in Catalonia Spain sometime around 1330, is a towering masterpiece of Jewish Art. In addition to pages of piyutim surrounded by ornate decorative and figurative micrography, richly decorated Haggadah text and blessings, there is a 13 page miniature cycle depicting the Exodus story from Moses at the Burning Bush to the Crossing of the Red Sea.

Arch of Titus, Rome (81 CE) 
Photo McBee

Posted on: July 27th, 2012


In 1974 Mark Podwal, noted author, illustrator and physician created a spare, illustrated Book of Lamentations. This complete English translation is graced with 28 black and white illustrations, or more correctly, reflections, on the tragic text. Podwal maintains Jeremiah’s alphabetical acrostic of each chapter containing 22 sets of lines, reflecting aleph to tav, denoting each English set with the appropriate Hebrew letter.

Chassidim (1963), Charcoal on paper by Itshak Holtz. 
Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Bentzion Zeitlin

Posted on: July 6th, 2012


Examining a choice selection of drawings done by Itshak Holtz over 30 years ago is a rare pleasure that allows for the appreciation of his unique sensitivity and insights. I was afforded that pleasure at the inaugural exhibition of the Betzalel Gallery in Crown Heights this past May. Although this modest selection of 25 drawings and watercolors of this paradigmatic frum artist ranges from 1963 to 1999, the majority of the works is from the 1970s and reveals a special aspect of his inner artistic soul. The selection of images could easily narrate the fabric of ordinary Jewish life.

Deut 34:4 (2007), digital woodcut by David Holzman. Courtesy the artist.

Posted on: July 6th, 2012


Earlier this year I was presenting my survey of Jewish art, “A Jewish Art Primer,” in a West Hartford, Connecticut synagogue and during the intermission a local artist, David Holzman, introduced himself to me. He relayed his rich and fascinating artistic background and then produced a portfolio of 8 black and white prints that he generously gave to me as a gift. As a tantalizing glimpse into recent work, they are truly amazing and I would like to share them with you.

Edwina Sandys in Jerusalem with her book detailing her artwork and sculptures.

Posted on: June 28th, 2012


Edwina Sandys' planned sculpture for Israel will be comprised of a circle of upright stones, in black and white, cast in the shapes of women, connected by a lintel across the top. Sandys explains that Israel is one of the most suitable places in the world for such a sculpture. “Israel is at the forefront of women being treated equally, relative to other areas of the world.”

Moshe Givati

Posted on: June 26th, 2012


Now, only months after the artist’s death, is no time to be coy. Moshe Givati’s work is a revelation: dynamic, throbbing with life, pulsating with meaning. The exhibition “Equus Ambiguity – The Emergence of Maturity,” is up for only a few more days but I urge you to hurry to the Jadite Gallery and familiarize yourself with this under-recognized artist.

Tunisian Boy (late 1930s), silver cast plaque with filigree silver frame by Moshe Murro Collection of Ira and Brigitte Rezak

Posted on: June 22nd, 2012


Boris Schatz (1866 – 1932) had a revolutionary vision. He believed that the creation of a new modern Jewish visual culture would become a major force to both articulate a Jewish national identity and sustain the Zionist enterprise. In 1904 he approached Zionist leader Theodor Herzl with the proposal to establish a national arts and crafts school in Palestine and got his blessing. Tragically Herzl died later that year, but the Zionist leadership in Vienna assumed responsibility for the project and its funding.

Sacrifice of Isaac (20th century) gouache on paper by Shalom of Safed Courtesy Kestenbaum & Company

Posted on: June 8th, 2012


The exhibitions that precede Judaic auctions are rather special events for anyone who has a feeling for the fabric of Jewish life as it has been lived for the last 500 years. Not only is one afforded the opportunity to see a wide variety of Judaica, books, manuscripts and Jewish art of considerable historic importance, but if something strikes your fancy; intellectually or acquisitively, you can actually handle the objects. For most artwork the thrill is in seeing it up close and judging the brushstrokes and details of a painting or watercolor. One stands in the exact proximity as the creator did.

The Chosen (detail 1), 2008, ink on paper by Ariel Schrag Courtesy Yeshiva University Museum

Posted on: June 1st, 2012


Everybody reads comics. From the New York Times to the Post there is hardly any periodical published that doesn’t sometimes feature a cartoon or comic; some kind of drawn image with text to entertain or provide commentary. Even the Jewish Press. When most people think of comics they immediately think of fictional comic books that kids read or the comic strips in the daily newspapers for adults.

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