web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Tikun Olam’

NGOs to Promote Social Change in Israel through ‘Forgotten Mitzvahs’

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Last Thursday, at the modest offices of the Likud’s Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction, representatives of several organizations got together to develop common strategies for applying Jewish laws and principles in Israel, including, possibly, future Knesset legislation.

Manhigut Yehudit, established more than 12 years ago by now MK Moshe Feiglin, is pushing a policy of taking Orthodox Jewish political power away from the sectarian, religious parties, to the general, preferably larger Israeli parties.

According to Michael Puah, formerly the director of Feiglin’s movement, and until recently special advisor to Social Affairs Minister Moshe Kahlon, the fact that religious Jews are so influential in Israel and in the new Knesset, presents new challenges in promoting change in Israel through core Torah values.

The informal assembly drew a couple dozen representatives of existing NGOs who are already engaged in active promotion of a variety of issues. Anthropologically speaking, the room was about half knitted yarmulkes and a couple settler-sheitels (headscarves), and half Haredim in the black and white uniform. But if you closed your eyes and just listened to what they were saying, it was difficult, often, to tell them apart. In language and in their complete embrace of the idea of the Jewish state, they all shared a deep, well thought out view of the modern miracle of Jewish rule in Eretz Israel.

“Our joint goal is to have the Torah guide our agenda in all areas of life,” said Puah. “The ideal of ‘Tikun olam b’Malkhut Shadai’ (setting up the world in light of God’s kingdom) requires us to create and innovate from within the Torah, which is the task that each organization participating in this conference has taken on, in each particular field of involvement.”

Rabbi Yehuda Amichai, head of the Torah and Eretz Institute, gave a comprehensive overview of the efforts being made to promote proper Shmita year observance in Israel, during which the land will truly lay fallow.

Rabbi Amichai noted that the Knesset Shmita Committee was supposed to begin its preparations for the year 5775 (2015), the next sabbatical year in which Jewish farmers may not work their land. Except that the current political reality does not allow for assembling it and for allocating a budget for its activities—seeing as the freshly elected 19th Knesset is still in the process of getting its act together, and coalition talks are yet to reach their results.

Amichai complained that these conditions cause uncertainty and a lack of preparedness on the part of farmers about the concrete aspects of observing the Shmita, most crucially creating a fund to support them through the sabbatical year.

“It is urgent that we start applying political pressure to set up the Shmita committee and to allocate the needed resources for its operation,” said Amichai.

Rabbi Amichai also stressed a more common problem—since it applies once a week, every week—Shabbat observance in Israel. “The economic and business reality force people to work on Shabbat, which is a form of slavery. These people are just slaves, they have no choice. We express first and foremost a social message: we can change it.”

“Regarding Shmita legislation for the year 5775, our top agenta issue is supporting a bill proposed by MK Uri Ariel, which aims to regulate through legislation the tax deductible savings by farmers in the six years between Shmitot. These savings will allow farmers to survive through the seventh year without government support.”

A group called Jewish Banking, represented by Rabbi Eliyahu Soloveitchik and writer Ehud Tokatly, introduced the project of creating the legislative conditions that would permit the foundation of a kosher bank, which would provide most banking services without transgressing the severe prohibitions against usury, and without resorting to the so-called Heter Iska, which was created in the diaspora, in times of duress.

Tokatly told the conference that in the West there are several credit union and Islamic banks which have survived the economic crisis while many commercial banks crashed a few years ago.

“They learned from us how to live without charging interest, and now we have to learn back from them what we originally taught them,” lamented Tokatly.

The Jewish Banking group has also built banking models that facilitate kosher financial liquidity in a global economy.

Cartoon Rehab: It’s Miller Time, Sort Of

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Today’s cartoon is from Al-Watan (Qatar), from way back in May 13, 2003. The U.S. and Israel are shown eating from two sides of an apple that represents “the Arab states.” According to the middle-east-info.org, where we found it, this cartoon is noteworthy because it was published in Qatar, home to the Al Jazeera TV network. Qatar is considered by many in the U.S. State Department to be a U.S. ally and a relatively moderate state.

The first thing I had to do was remove the Israeli hat on the right and make this a contest between two Uncle Sam lookalikes. That took out the anti-Jewish bite, making the cartoon just a depiction of two ugly guys trying to get at something delicious.

Then I tried different objects they could fight over, including all manner of fruit and several different ice cream cones, with and without hot fudge pouring over it. But the beer was clearly the best option, especially since it came with the ready-made Miller’s commercial lines from the 1980s.

Source: middle-east-info.org

 

——————————————————————————-

Welcome to the Jewish Press Online Cartoon Rehabilitation Project (JPOCRP), or, in short (suggested by our colleague Rafi Harkham) Cartoon Rehab. We collect the most obscene, terrifying, anti-Semitic cartoons from the Arab world, and make them nice. It’s a harsh process, requiring long sessions of Photoshop treatment and a minimum of 90 meetings in 90 days at Antisemitic Anonymous, but in the end it is well worth the effort. Cartoons come in with the obvious effects of the Antisemitism scourge, unshaven, bleary eyed, fangs exposed, noses hooked, and they come out clean and fluffy.

Please send us your own Photoshop efforts in rehabilitating Arab cartoons. We’ll publish those we deem appropriate enough (don’t worry, our standards are not so high). You can also send us wayward cartoons you found lurking online – as long as they come from the Arab world.

We have a special interest in beautifying this region which has so long been suffering from rampant addiction to Antisemitism. Help us do our little bit for Tikun Olam.

Cartoon Rehab: Toon Gets Tattooed

Friday, April 27th, 2012

This one took the Photoshop equivalent of plastic surgery. The depiction of both the vampire-like Jewish person and the dead child in his arms is so vile, I had to fix every little aspect of the image.

The man required a hair do, new lips, a smaller ear and a thorough nail clipping. The boy received new eyes and a huge, new smile.

I hope you got the joke (boy comes home from tattoo shop). I’m a bit concerned that so far I’ve only been able to turn these toons into innocuous, relatively boring “Family Circus” type drawings. I’d like to be able to go a little crazier with them, and I would appreciate your suggestions.

By the way, the more I get into these cartoons, the more I appreciate the talent of the Arab artists who create them, and wonder how much beauty and fun they could have brought into the world, if they didn’t devote their lives to hating me. It’s a little like those criminal masterminds who could do so well if only they applied their remarkable skills to positive work.

Of course, some criminal masterminds do apply their skills in conventional ways and go work on Wall Street, but that’s an entirely different discussion.

The rehabilitated cartoon

 

Source: middle-east-info.org

————————————————————–

 

Welcome to the Jewish Press Online Cartoon Rehabilitation Project (JPOCRP), or, in short (suggested by our colleague Rafi Harkham) Cartoon Rehab.

We collect the most obscene, terrifying, anti-Semitic cartoons from the Arab world, and make them nice. It’s a harsh process, requiring long sessions of Photoshop treatment and a minimum of 90 meetings in 90 days at Antisemitic Anonymous, but in the end it is well worth the effort. Cartoons come in with the obvious effects of the Antisemitism scourge, unshaven, bleary eyed, fangs exposed, noses hooked, and they come out clean and fluffy.

Please send us your own Photoshop efforts in rehabilitating Arab cartoons. We’ll publish those we deem appropriate enough (don’t worry, our standards are not so high). You can also send us wayward cartoons you found lurking online – as long as they come from the Arab world.

We have a special interest in beautifying this region which has so long been suffering from rampant addiction to Antisemitism. Help us do our little bit for Tikun Olam.

Cartoon Rehab: The Cleansing Power of Baseball

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

The trick with this nasty but very well drawn cartoon, in which the Jews are depicted as a creature reminiscent of Sigourney Weaver’s Alien, speaking to a wise, old Muslim sage, was to remove both religious symbols. Once those were out of the way, it became a cute setup for some sort of vaudeville-style sketch (“Who’s on first” comes to mind).

As soon as I started thinking Baseball, I went looking for helmets online, and the best fitting one had a nice Red Sox “B” on it – and then one thing led to another.

As usual, I would welcome different solutions, but for now, I believe this toon is ready to start its 90 meetings in 90 days at the nearest ASA (Anti-Semitic Anonymous) room.

Before: Anti-Semitic Cartoon in Akhbar Al-Arab, a UAE Paper, November 18, 2008, on "The Dialogue Between Judaism And Islam." The cartoonist is Aamer Al-Zo'abi.

Before: Anti-Semitic Cartoon in Akhbar Al-Arab, a UAE Paper, November 18, 2008, on "The Dialogue Between Judaism And Islam." The cartoonist is Aamer Al-Zo'abi.

Source: MEMRI

————————————————————————————–

Welcome to the Jewish Press Online Cartoon Rehabilitation Project (JPOCRP), or, in short (suggested by our colleague Rafi Harkham) Cartoon Rehab.

We collect the most obscene, terrifying, anti-Semitic cartoons from the Arab world, and make them nice. It’s a harsh process, requiring long sessions of Photoshop treatment and a minimum of 90 meetings in 90 days at Antisemitic Anonymous, but in the end it is well worth the effort. Cartoons come in with the obvious effects of the Antisemitism scourge, unshaven, bleary eyed, fangs exposed, noses hooked, and they come out clean and fluffy.

Please send us your own Photoshop efforts in rehabilitating Arab cartoons. We’ll publish those we deem appropriate enough (don’t worry, our standards are not so high). You can also send us wayward cartoons you found lurking online – as long as they come from the Arab world.

We have a special interest in beautifying this region which has so long been suffering from rampant addiction to Antisemitism. Help us do our little bit for Tikun Olam.

Cartoon Rehab: Fixing the Crucifix

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

This cartoon, by Syrian artist Tishrin, was published September 22, 2011, and, to be fair, as anti-Israeli cartoons go it is relatively tame. The writing on the guy on the letter T-turned-cross says: “The Palestinian State.” Message: the Palestinians are being tortured by the Zionist-inspired US veto against their statehood.

But I was delighted by the opportunity to turn Tishrin’s clever (albeit kinda trite) use of the letter T as cross, into the letter T as clothesline.

Credit for finding this treasure goes to the ADL, which included it in their “Arab Cartoons Demonize the U.S.-Israel Relationship in Commenting on Palestinian Efforts to Gain U.N. Recognition.”

Before

Before

———————————————————————————————-

Welcome to the Jewish Press Online Cartoon Rehabilitation Project (JPOCRP), or, in short (suggested by our colleague Rafi Harkham) Cartoon Rehab.

We collect the most obscene, terrifying, anti-Semitic cartoons from the Arab world, and make them nice. It’s a harsh process, requiring long sessions of Photoshop treatment and a minimum of 90 meetings in 90 days at Antisemitic Anonymous, but in the end it is well worth the effort. Cartoons come in with the obvious effects of the Antisemitism scourge, unshaven, bleary eyed, fangs exposed, noses hooked, and they come out clean and fluffy.

Please send us your own Photoshop efforts in rehabilitating Arab cartoons. We’ll publish those we deem appropriate enough (don’t worry, our standards are not so high). You can also send us wayward cartoons you found lurking online – as long as they come from the Arab world.

We have a special interest in beautifying this region which has so long been suffering from rampant addiction to Antisemitism. Help us do our little bit for Tikun Olam.

Cartoon Rehab: Oh, Go Ahead, Surrender, You Know You Want To…

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

We found this cartoon on the ADL website. They say it was originally published in Oman, April 12, 2012, and the original text, written in blood, says: “We Will Never Surrender.”

Before

Before

Welcome to the Jewish Press Online Cartoon Rehabilitation Project (JPOCRP), or, in short (suggested by our colleague Rafi Harkham) Cartoon Rehab.

We collect the most obscene, terrifying, anti-Semitic cartoons from the Arab world, and make them nice. It’s a harsh process, requiring long sessions of Photoshop treatment and a minimum of 90 meetings in 90 days at Antisemitic Anonymous, but in the end it is well worth the effort. Cartoons come in with the obvious effects of the Antisemitism scourge, unshaven, bleary eyed, fangs exposed, noses hooked, and they come out clean and fluffy.

Please send us your own Photoshop efforts in rehabilitating Arab cartoons. We’ll publish those we deem appropriate enough (don’t worry, our standards are not so high). You can also send us wayward cartoons you found lurking online – as long as they come from the Arab world.

We have a special interest in beautifying this region which has so long been suffering from rampant addiction to Antisemitism. Help us do our little bit for Tikun Olam.

Tikun Olam

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Tikun Olam, “repairing the world” has become a modern day catch phrase. It appears to be everywhere from the yeshiva world, to Christian groups, used by even certifiable cult leaders and Kabbalah enthusiasts – both the respected ones and the phony ones. I have seen the term used in the mission statements of youth organizations and support groups from every range of the religious and not so religious spectrum. It has been used as the basis for shiurim on self improvement and devotion to community and G-d. The “holy” work of righting the wrongs of today’s society and finding ways to balance injustice seems endless and overwhelming on a personal level and as a public concern. Sometimes it is referred to as “paying it forward,” “random acts of kindness” or “one good deed begets another,” and although from a Torah prospective these are all considered different types of deeds, they all have the power to make the world a better place for you and me.

One thought that keeps coming to mind when I hear the term used, is the connection between the seemingly ever present “tikun olam” and the focal point of this column which is the blended family. For me, as I am sure for others in similar situations, my second marriage is proving to be the tikun for my personal world; it is setting right what had been wrong.

People who know me often wonder how it could be that throughout the entire eleven years of my first marriage I never fully grasped that I was in an abusive relationship. Certainly I recognized that there were “instances” that may be “viewed” as leaning towards abuse, but there always seemed to be an explanation, an excuse or an apology. It is something I find I am not fully comfortable discussing even today, sixteen plus years after the breakup of my marriage. My situation was one of those “gray areas” where there was not full blown physical or emotional abuse, nor was there extensive arguing or fighting, but there were manipulations, secrets, deceit, and occasional fits of anger that on more than one occasion became destructive.

It has taken me years to process that the words “abusive relationship” could even remotely describe a marriage I thought was loving, passionate and truthful. Even post-divorce I was singing the praises of my marriage that was; we were high-school sweethearts, we married young with only thoughts of a long and happy life together, we completed each other’s sentences and practically read each other’s minds. For all intents and purposes we were a perfect match.

It was only after my divorce that my eyes began to open. Hashem was good to me; He did not allow me to feel my own suffering until it was over. Only after receiving my get, my Jewish divorce, and without a husband to care for, did I have the time and wherewithal to educate myself and take a good look at my situation – with my blinders off – as I began my investigation into finding the truth. What I eventually uncovered is not really important, except suffice to say it helped me to find closure and to move on from what was and to try to establish a life with a spiritually healthier partner.

Although I feel I “got over” my ex before I met my husband, my personal healing only came about well after we were married. I believe the actually steps towards repairing or tikun occurred as our relationship matured and strengthened within our shared experiences.

Although I try not to compare the husband I had before to the one I have now, I cannot avoid seeing the glaring differences in my life; differences that have brought about my personal tikun.

Where I once had a husband who was explosive; I now have a husband who is calm.

Where I once had a husband who was abusive; I now have a husband who is protective.

Where I once had a husband who was a taker; I now have a husband who is a giver.

Where I once had a husband who was selfish; I now have a husband who is selfless.

Where I once had a husband who used his G-d given talents for evil and ill gains; I now have a husband who uses those same talents for good and to benefit others.

Where I once had a husband who was dishonest; I now have a husband who is truthful.

Where I once had a husband who served himself; I now have a husband who serves Hashem.

My second marriage, which I truly view as a gift from Hashem, has had the power to be a personal tikun for me. And I feel privileged knowing that our relationship has played a healing role for my husband in many ways as well.

Self Portrait Of The Artist As A Jew, With A Los Angeles Dodgers Cap. Kitaj At The Marlborough Gallery

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

R. B. Kitaj

How to Reach 72 in Jewish Art

March 1-April 2, 2005

Marlborough Gallery

40 West 57th Street, New York

www.marlboroughgallery.com


There is something very Jewish about R. B. Kitaj’s work. His exhibit at the Marlborough Gallery hails as “How to Reach 72 in Jewish Art,” a reference to the artist’s age and Jewish identity. Many of his portraits depict Jews, while many of his narrative scenes depict the Bible. The accompanying notes in the exhibit catalog are stuffed with Jewish references. He even writes Diasporist Manifestos, the second volume of which he begins, “I’ve got Jew on the Brain.” Kitaj is the paradigm of the Jewish artist who comes up big, even in a secular gallery scene that generally has little use for, or interest in Jewish work.

Adam Phillips puts it brilliantly, describing Kitaj’s paintings in his introduction to the catalog, “Something is going on, and there is something shocking about it.” If Kitaj’s paintings are opaque – intense, thick paintings that evoke Matisse’s pink and green coloration at times, Kokoschka’s thick, expressionist lines at other times and even occasionally, Bearden’s collage-like forms – his writing relies on cliché and generalization as its literary currency. “My art experiments are Taboo in many quarters because a new Jewish Art is too avant-garde for the gardists,” he writes. “And so my strange Jewish delirium, its Diasporism, became very unusual for art and sometimes other-worldly and threatening to friend and foe,” he continues. If these don’t quite make sense and seem to epitomize most artists’ inability to put their art into words, don’t worry, because phrases of this sort – and of “a Modernist Golem, called Jewish Art, at this scary time before World War IV” – reveal more of an energetic, emotive trajectory of Kitaj’s, rather than a linear, concrete meditation on Jewish aesthetics.

This aesthetic energy draws much inspiration from psychoanalysis. In “The Psychoanalyst (Freud), 2004,” a small charcoal drawing on paper, Kitaj writes, “The last few years I’ve been reading Freud again – especially the Jewish Freud and his amazing early circle of 17 psychoanalysts. All 17 were Jews.” Here, we see Kitaj talk of his “Jewish brushstrokes” relating to Freud’s “Free Association.” The artist captures Freud in loose marks, rendering a few white whiskers, here, and Freud’s trademark nose-moustache alignment, there. All the strokes are energetic and free, to mimic Freud’s notion of free association – or letting the mind wander so as to arrive at lurking truths. An ambiguous form above Freud’s nose weighs down on the face. Kitaj appropriates Freud – certainly one of the most historically controversial Jews – as a Jewish symbol of his art, and by implementing a Freudian technique in his drawing of Freud, he turns Freud into a Jewish symbol of his own, as a paradigm of his Jewish experience.

If the Freud portrait is theoretical and intellectual, “Arabs and Jews (After Ensor), 2004″ carries more of a pragmatic aura to it. Two figures wrestle. One bears a knife in one hand and pushes the other’s forehead with his second hand, while the second man bearing a hat (kippa?) strangles his antagonist with his two hands. The composition is simple, the coloration unremarkable and the lines are rough and generalized. Kitaj writes, “This is my third painting called ‘Arabs and Jews,’ a fight I expect will never end. This picture is based on Ensor’s painting ‘The Fight.’ You may choose which is Arab and which is Jew.”

This notion of the interchangeability of the players, the notion of a hopeless struggle where the identities of the wrestlers are trumped by the struggle itself, also carries the duality of the hug that Jacob and Esau share. Just as the Midrash records Esau’s attempt to strangle Jacob, only to find himself hugging his brother instead, the Arabs and Jews in Kitaj’s painting seem also stuck somewhere between an embrace and a struggle, eerily reflecting current Israeli politics. The hopelessness of the movement and the loss of identity in the struggle, capture an aspect of the conflict that is uniquely Kitaj, especially with his extensive citation of Derrida and his deconstructionist notions of dualities and paradoxes.

Kitaj does not take the never-ending aspect of the fight lightly, and neither should his viewers. He “ends” his discourse with “Work in progress to be continued (No end in sight),” and he often leaves his painting unfinished to suggest that there is still much work to be done. Kitaj cites heavily from Kabbalah: Scholem, Dvekut, the BeSHT (Bal Shem Tov), and Rabbi Nachman, and he knows the ideas of Tikun Olam and of completing G-d’s creation.

He tries to complete some of his narratives, as in “K Enters the Castle at Last, 2004,” a painting which employs bright yellows juxtaposed with deep blues, a red and an orange, rallied to depict the white bearded K coming through the castle door. K is from Kafka’s “Castle” – Kitaj calls Kafka “my favorite Jewish artist” and K “my favorite Jew” – and Kitaj records how K never quite makes it to the castle in Kafka’s work. Here, Kitaj invents a Midrash to get K into the castle, as it were, by means of a “secret (Kabbalistic?) color recipe”. The red form in the bottom left corner represents a critic who hates K and Kitaj (the first letter in K, Kitaj and Kafka seems more than coincidental) and has managed to cut off the tail of the lizard on the stage, right. “I’d like to know if any other painter or writer got K into the Castle these last 80 years. If so, please write me – Kitaj c/o Marlborough Gallery,” Kitaj writes in the catalog.

Even as K enters the castle (finally!), he steps cautiously, ready to leap back out the door, if necessity calls. The piece is finished, but it seems too concerned with its identity as completed, and wants to return itself to chaos.

In these three works, and the rest of the Kitaj blizzard of artwork at Marlborough, we see an assertive artist who declares “I believe my art is Jewish if I say it is.” He carves out a difficult path for himself: “to draw as well as any Jew ever did or better,” to “paint the opposite of anti-Semitism,” and “to learn to paint against the grain of Art Assimilation.” Not surprisingly, the same bohemian, esoteric painter also sets out to “try to study a Torah portion every day,” to read Jewish books, as a landscape painter reads trees, and to read Steinsaltz’s English Talmud, though “I’m too old to study Talmud seriously.”

Kitaj’s unique process of trying to pin down his Jewishness and his artistic identity by using a diverse canon of secular and religious iconography, is his most Jewish aspect. Famed cartoonist David Levine related that he once told a critic that he painted in Yiddish, and R. B. Kitaj certainly paints in Judaism. And yet, the viewer can just picture Kitaj painstakingly pacing rapidly about his studio telling himself time and again, “I am Jewish Art in my pictures. Repeat this so I don’t forget!”

Menachem Wecker edits the Arts and Culture Section of the Yeshiva University Commentator. As an artist, he has trained at the Massachusetts College of Art. Menachem may be contacted at: mwecker@gmail.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/self-portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-jew-with-a-los-angeles-dodgers-cap-kitaj-at-the-marlborough-gallery/2005/04/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: