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Destroying the Chametz Within and Truly Preparing for Pesach
 
All in the Family: BDS Protests Zabars; Carole Zabar Promotes BDS

April 20, 2014 - 11:09 PM
 
Prayer Request from HaRav Aharon Bina

April 20, 2014 - 5:39 PM
 
Bennett to Abbas: Go Ahead, Make My Day

April 20, 2014 - 4:46 PM
 
Arab Riots Forced Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Family off Temple Mount

April 20, 2014 - 2:27 PM
 
Ukrainian Synagogue Firebombed (Video)

April 20, 2014 - 2:05 PM
 
Hikers Find Human Skull and Bones in Gush Etzion Cave

April 20, 2014 - 8:28 AM
 
U.S., Israel Teaming to Push Israel into Visa Waiver Program

April 18, 2014 - 5:25 PM
 
Report: Lebanese man admits to targeting Israelis in Thailand

April 18, 2014 - 5:22 PM
 
Syrian Jets Strike Targets on Ramat HaGolan

April 18, 2014 - 4:14 PM
 
Chelsea Clinton Pregnant with Non-Jewish Child

April 18, 2014 - 10:58 AM
 
Police Limit Arab Visitors to Temple Mount

April 18, 2014 - 10:18 AM
 
No Gov’t Majority for Pollard-Talks Deal

April 18, 2014 - 10:11 AM
 
Shas Party Appoints New Spiritual Leader

April 18, 2014 - 9:50 AM
 
‘Jews Must Register’ Flyer in Ukraine an Echo of Babi Yar

April 18, 2014 - 2:19 AM
 
Florida Teen Stabbed in High School Gym

April 17, 2014 - 9:31 PM
 
4 Wounded in Gush Etzion Road Terror Attack

April 17, 2014 - 1:01 PM
 
Arab Violence Closes Temple Mount to Visitors Again

April 17, 2014 - 12:26 PM
 
Jews Ordered to ‘Register’ in Donetsk, Ukraine

April 17, 2014 - 11:41 AM
 
Indyk Returns to Raise the Dead (Israel-PA Talks)

April 17, 2014 - 10:14 AM
 
Funeral of Baruch Mizrachi (Photo Essay)

April 16, 2014 - 11:39 PM
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Arts
 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Leonard Everett Fisher’s Challenge

Posted on: October 16th, 2011

SectionsArts

Just look at the expression on Yonah's face. It combines fear and incomprehension at his terrible punishment of floating in the belly of the great fish. So too Noah peering out of the ark, perched on the edge of understanding that there might be a future for mankind. Both works point to the genius of Leonard Everett Fisher as an artist and interpreter of biblical narrative.

 

Leonard Everett Fisher’s Challenge

Posted on: October 16th, 2011

SectionsArts

Just look at the expression on Yonah's face. It combines fear and incomprehension at his terrible punishment of floating in the belly of the great fish. So too Noah peering out of the ark, perched on the edge of understanding that there might be a future for mankind. Both works point to the genius of Leonard Everett Fisher as an artist and interpreter of biblical narrative.

 

Leonard Everett Fisher’s Challenge

Posted on: October 16th, 2011

SectionsArts

Just look at the expression on Yonah's face. It combines fear and incomprehension at his terrible punishment of floating in the belly of the great fish. So too Noah peering out of the ark, perched on the edge of understanding that there might be a future for mankind. Both works point to the genius of Leonard Everett Fisher as an artist and interpreter of biblical narrative.

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Leonard Everett Fisher’s Challenge

Posted on: October 14th, 2011

SectionsArts

Just look at the expression on Yonah’s face. It combines fear and incomprehension at his terrible punishment of floating in the belly of the great fish.

 

The Blowing Of The Shofar In Sholom Aleichem And The Dybbuk

Posted on: October 5th, 2011

SectionsArts

The blast of the shofar ends one of the most dramatic scenes in "The Dybbuk," directed by Sidney Lumet, in which a rabbinical court excommunicates a dybbuk, while the same sound of the shofar opens the "Sholom Aleichem" story of Bontche Schweig, announcing the Job-like character's arrival in heaven.

 

Why Are Artists So Fascinated By The Branch Over The Prophet Yonah’s Head?

Posted on: September 21st, 2011

SectionsArts

It's easy to understand why artists have painted the navi Yonah early and often. There is no character more interesting than the man who, though blessed with the gift of prophecy, failed to grasp the responsibility he was charged with, literally turned his back on his divine mission and ran away, only to be devoured alive by a fish. After what must have seemed an eternity to the son of Amitai-in reality just three days and three nights-the fish, obeying a Divine commandment, vomited Yonah onto dry land.

 

Artists 4 Israel: Response Art Series & Terror: Artists Respond

Posted on: August 31st, 2011

SectionsArts

There is a short list of things that really matter: family, friends, country and faith the most. For many Jews, our people and Israel occupy an almost sacred place in the order of commitment and passion. Therefore, when either the Jewish people or the legitimacy of the State of Israel are attacked and slandered, we react passionately. In a visceral way these things are crucial to the very core of our identity. How do contemporary Jewish artists respond?

 

Janet Shafner’s Biblical Women

Posted on: August 24th, 2011

SectionsArts

By the Bible's own admission, the laws and procedures pertaining to the red heifer constitute some of the greatest chukot, or mysteries, of the entire scriptures. Per Numbers 19, an unblemished, never-been-harnessed red heifer, if slaughtered by a priest outside of the camp in the proper way - which includes the following ingredients: a piece of cedar wood, hyssop and crimson wool - can purify someone who has touched something unholy. The great mystery of the red heifer, the para adumah, though, is that the very object that purifies the ritually unclean also makes all the priests who come in contact with it unclean. It is the original double-edged sword.

 

Alan Falk’s Lessons

Posted on: August 17th, 2011

SectionsArts

Two of Alan Falk's biblical paintings immediately assault us aesthetically and thematically. Isaac Blessing Jacob (2009) and The Cry of Esau (2010) document the famous stolen blessing of Beraishis 27 and its consequences. The ancient Isaac is clad in a white nightshirt, raising his bony hands in blessing over his two sons. In one, Jacob has donned a curly-haired brown Afro deceitfully offering his blind father food, while in the other, Isaac's trembling hands attempt to bless the hysterical Esau at his feet. The cartoonish figures are caught in a melodrama of high-keyed color and exaggerated gesture that casts the biblical tale into an unfamiliar and strange realm.

 

Alan Falk’s Lessons

Posted on: August 17th, 2011

SectionsArts

Two of Alan Falk's biblical paintings immediately assault us aesthetically and thematically. Isaac Blessing Jacob (2009) and The Cry of Esau (2010) document the famous stolen blessing of Beraishis 27 and its consequences. The ancient Isaac is clad in a white nightshirt, raising his bony hands in blessing over his two sons. In one, Jacob has donned a curly-haired brown Afro deceitfully offering his blind father food, while in the other, Isaac's trembling hands attempt to bless the hysterical Esau at his feet. The cartoonish figures are caught in a melodrama of high-keyed color and exaggerated gesture that casts the biblical tale into an unfamiliar and strange realm.

 

The Politics Of Jewish Calendars

Posted on: August 10th, 2011

SectionsArts

Although jokes abound about how punctual German Jews (Yekes) are, the concept of "Jewish Standard Time," presumably mocking the non-Germanic segments of the Jewish population, has earned an entry in Urban Dictionary for "15 minutes late to everything" or "being late to an important event."

 

Meer Akselrod: Painting His People

Posted on: August 3rd, 2011

SectionsArts

Empathy and memory meet in the work of Meer Akselrod (1902-1970), the Jewish Russian artist who defied aesthetic convention and totalitarian dictates to relentlessly pursue his personal artistic vision of painting the Jewish people. His quiet courage in the face of epochal changes that convulsed his Russian homeland cannot be overestimated. They are amply attested to by his artwork, not the least of which are two pen and ink drawings, Pogrom, from 1927 - 1928, currently at the Chassidic Art Institute.

 

Lilith by Siona Benjamin

Posted on: July 13th, 2011

SectionsArts

Siona Benjamin's exhibition "Finding Home: The Art of Siona Benjamin" is simply beautiful. Set in the spacious lobby gallery of the JCC Manhattan, it allows for a peaceful (when the kids, nannies and crowds subside) contemplation of this complex artist's meditations on biblical women, war, exoticism and contemporary society.

 

Philadelphia Museum Exhibit Showcases Chagall’s Jewish Circle

Posted on: July 7th, 2011

SectionsArts

Although the subject matter of Marc Chagall's 1910 painting Resurrection of Lazarus clearly comes from Christian scripture, the artist put his decidedly Jewish mark on the image twice over. Chagall depicted both a Star of David and two hands - signifying the priestly blessing - on the tomb from which the haloed Lazarus has emerged. Although Jewish burial traditions tended to represent the priestly hands with the index and middle fingers touching and the ring and small fingers touching and a gap in between, Chagall, perhaps forgetting the convention, elected to spread all the fingers out evenly.

 

Echoing Vishniak: Ahron Weiner’s Photographic Pilgrimages to Uman

Posted on: June 22nd, 2011

SectionsArts

At first glance, the chassid in Ahron Weiner's "In Memorial" looks like he may be wearing an earring on his right ear, which is framed by his dark brown side curl. Further inspection reveals the ear is in silhouette, and the "earring" is indeed white light cast by one of the many memorial candles he contemplates - tributes to the tens of thousands of Jews of Uman murdered in the 18th century and nearly two centuries later by the Nazis.

 

What We Can Glean From Ruth’s Posture

Posted on: June 7th, 2011

SectionsArts

Until one examines the Book of Ruth - which is read on the holiday of Shavuot - artistically and mines the text for visual fodder that would lend itself to dynamic subjects to paint, one is unlikely to realize how passive the book actually is. The overwhelming majority of action verbs have to do with speech, and there is virtually no violence or conflict. Save a spitting in a shoe here or uncovering an ankle there, the book is much more about states of mind and identity than it is about action.

 

Chagall’s Bible Images

Posted on: June 1st, 2011

SectionsArts

Ironically the same quote by art critic Robert Hughes cited in my May 20th review "Chagall and the Cross" namely that Marc Chagall was the "quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century," is applicable in our consideration of Chagall's images for his graphic masterpiece, The Bible. Except here it illuminates the truth: his greatness as a Jewish artist is founded on his lifelong obsession with the Torah. No matter how far he strayed from his Jewish roots, even his late-in-life dalliance with Judeo-Christian universalism as surveyed in that review, nothing could compromise his amazing insights and comprehension of the Torah narratives.

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