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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Destroying the Chametz Within and Truly Preparing for Pesach
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Arts
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Jews and Social Conscience Through Photography

Posted on: March 1st, 2012

SectionsArts

The Jewish Museum’s “Radical Camera” is a thrilling, beautiful exhibition that documents the development of socially conscious photography, primarily in New York City. It was a time of great challenges and great change, uptown, downtown and all around. These intensely creative, sensitive and insightful photographers all had a hand in capturing a time when New York and its people were entering the turbulent heart of the 20th century. Isn’t it interesting that the vast majority of them happened to be Jews?

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The Purim Narrative At The Pardo Palace

Posted on: February 27th, 2012

SectionsArts

Located about nine miles north of Madrid, the Palacio Real de El Pardo (Pardo Palace) dates back to the early 15th century. Devastated by a March 13, 1604 fire that claimed many works from its priceless art collection, the Pardo Palace and its vast gardens were used as a hunting ground by the Spanish monarchs.

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Leah Ashkenazy: Jewish Artist

Posted on: February 17th, 2012

SectionsArts

We live in a wonderful time for Jewish art. The orthodoxy of 20th century High Modernism has given way to a chaotic but liberated postmodernism willing to try anything, even serious “ethnic” art.

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John Logan Approximates Mark Rothko

Posted on: February 10th, 2012

SectionsArts

Red By John Logan; directed by Robert Falls; starring Edward Gero and Patrick Andrews Jan. 20 – March 11, 2012 Arena Stage, 1101 6th Street, SW, Washington, D.C. http://www.arenastage.org   One morning, Ken, Mark Rothko’s studio assistant, comes into the studio to fulfill his daily duties of stretching and priming his employer’s canvases. When he […]

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Making Torah Manifest: Nathan Hilu

Posted on: February 3rd, 2012

SectionsArts

“Man must make the Torah manifest” in every action, speech and creative act. That is clearly the credo of Nathan Hilu, master-artist of the Lower East Side, Torah, Tanach, midrash, Gemara and beyond.

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Hebrew Bible From Lisbon At The MET

Posted on: January 26th, 2012

SectionsArts

Within Shakespeare’s worldview, an assassination like Macbeth’s of King Duncan upset the so-called Great Chain of Being, or the cosmological organizational chart, in which power structures that were clearly articulated could only be disrupted at a cost.

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In Search Of South African Jewish Art

Posted on: January 24th, 2012

SectionsArts

I went to the South African Jewish Museum in Cape Town with high hopes of seeing how South African Jews uniquely approached the fine arts and Jewish ritual objects.

Bar Mitzvah Video, (40 x 30) oil on canvas by Venyamin Zaslavsky. Courtesy Chassidic Art Institute
 

Zaslavsky’s Jews

Posted on: January 12th, 2012

SectionsArts

Jewish artists do the darndest things. The Chassidic Art Institute, expertly directed by Zev Markowitz, is currently showing the works of Venyamin Zaslavsky, a Ukrainian Jewish artist who has devoted the last 20 years to depictions of pious Jewish life in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

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Have Artists Envisioned Nebuchadnezzar As Hero Or Villain?

Posted on: January 4th, 2012

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“Despite the fateful part he played in Judah’s history, Nebuchadrezzar [Nebuchadnezzer is sometimes referred to this way] is seen in Jewish tradition in a predominantly favorable light,” wrote Henry W. F. Saggs, the late Assyriologist, toward the end of his Encyclopedia Britannica entry on Nebuchadrezzar II (c. 630—c. 561).

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Ludwig Blum’s Israel

Posted on: December 29th, 2011

SectionsArts

Ludwig Blum (1891 – 1974) was a deeply complex artist who walked the fine line between pure aesthetics and a radical artistic view of the Zionist enterprise. He clearly loved to paint, make beautiful images and provide aesthetic pleasure.

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Old and New: Podwal’s Altneuschul Paroches

Posted on: December 22nd, 2011

SectionsArts

Mark Podwal is a busy, busy man. When I wrote that in these pages in September 2010 it is now clear I didn’t know the half of it…witness his current exhibition at Yeshiva University Museum.

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The Physics Of Flame Combustion

Posted on: December 15th, 2011

SectionsArts

Just because the miracle of Chanukah defied physics doesn’t mean illustrations and illuminations of the Temple and Tabernacle menorahs haven’t grappled with the physics of flame orientation.

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Jewish Women and Chanukah at Sotheby’s

Posted on: December 8th, 2011

SectionsArts

Something serious is going on here…regarding Jewish women. Sotheby’s current auction of Judaica is a concise offering of 106 items that provides a tantalizing glimpse into Jewish art and image making over the last 500 years.

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Sotheby’s Auctions Three “Long-Forgotten” Chagall Paintings

Posted on: November 30th, 2011

SectionsArts

It’s hard to imagine an authentic Chagall painting or drawing that isn’t important, particularly to people who care about Jewish art.

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Archie Rand: Three Major Works

Posted on: November 24th, 2011

SectionsArts

ense, along with the voluminous Oral Tradition in the Talmud, its commentaries and elaborations, make the Jewish artist the richest creative person imaginable.

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Jewish Depictions Of Hell

Posted on: November 16th, 2011

SectionsArts

Although it’s the Hebrew month of MarCheshvan—known as “mar” or bitter, because it’s devoid of holidays, unlike the preceding month which has the High Holidays and Sukkot, and the next month which ushers in Chanukah—that’s not why I’ve been thinking about hell (gehinnom in Hebrew) a lot lately.

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Shapiro’s Midrash

Posted on: November 12th, 2011

SectionsArts

The midrashic world is a dangerous place to inhabit. It delves into our sacred texts to fathom their deeper meanings, solve vexing textual and conceptual problems and, finally, make sense of the holy words in contemporary terms. Midrash is passionate and deeply creative, like the current midrashic paintings of Brian Shapiro.

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Rain In Biblical Art

Posted on: November 2nd, 2011

SectionsArts

One of the most iconic works of art I have ever seen is Japanese painter and printmaker Katsushika Hokusai’s c. 1831-1834 Cresting Wave Off the Coast of Kanagawa.

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Divine Encounter and the Sacred Doorway

Posted on: October 26th, 2011

SectionsArts

Our encounters with the Divine are precious moments of personal religiosity. We believe that when we pray we are speaking directly to God and that at that moment we are in the Divine presence. And yet we are seldom conscious of the awe and fear we should also feel.

 

An Ancient ‘Obsession’ with Sukkot Iconography

Posted on: October 18th, 2011

SectionsArts

In some ways, Sukkot is the most contemporary of holidays. Many pay good money and invest a lot of time and effort to obtain a beautiful etrog-indeed its biblical name is "fruit of the beautiful tree"-and the most visually appealing lulav, hadasim and aravot. There are various schools of thought on whether to refrigerate or not to refrigerate, to wrap in aluminum foil or wet paper towel, all with the goal of preventing the four species from spoiling and jeopardizing their smell and visual appearance. There is no specific requirement that the schach covering the sukkah be alive-indeed it cannot be made of something still attached to the ground-but the entire atmosphere of Sukkot is one of growth, natural living, and disengaging from our comfort zone. Indeed, it is on the extended Sukkot holiday that a prayer is offered for rain, the source of life.

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