Judaica Auctions and the exhibition that precede them at Kestenbaum & Company are always a cornucopia of aesthetic delights. The sheer variety and overall quality of the ceremonial objects and works of art make the exhibition and catalogue a museum-like experience. The current exhibition is no exception.
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.
Swastikas have been popping up lately in the most unusual places.
Levine attributes the success of the song to the optimistic and hopeful message it carries.
The viewer/listener is treated to a mix of older, beloved soloists as well as some new voices. Since this is a Gerstner production, it of course has a 2020 flash and modern sound.
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."
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.
Behold! It came to pass, after those things occurred, that Abraham was tested.
Had Gadya, the playful, threatening and ultimately reassuring song that ends many Seder evenings among Ashkenazi Jews, has a long history in the Haggada.
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 North American and English aliyah organization Nefesh B’Nefesh, the Jewish Agency, and the Jewish National Fund have teamed up with the Ort Braude Academic College of Engineering in Karmiel to feature the artwork of immigrants from English-speaking countries to northern Israel.
The most uplifting aspect of the film was the footage from the displaced persons camps.
In his autobiography, My Life, Marc Chagall (1887-1985) recounts a pogrom he witnessed in Russia in 1917.
Amid the rising action in Disney's "The Lion King," Simba - already a dashing mature lion - follows the monkey, Rafiki, through marshland, until arriving at a loch.
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.
Marilyn Banner's encaustic painting "Listening" (2008) at first appears to be ironically titled.
True genius is a rare commodity. Five years ago, 26-year-old Moshe Hammer, z"l, a Lubavitch artist who frequently worked through the night, stepped outside for a walk in Los Angeles, to clear his head and recharge his creative batteries. As was his custom, Moshe rambled miles from his apartment in the Fairfax district.
Autour du Coq Rouge (Around the Red Rooster), painted in 1982 by a 95-year-old Marc Chagall (1887-1985), the most famous Jewish artist of the 20th Century, puzzles us with its mysterious loveliness and grace. The Chagall bursts upon us in a passionate torrent, scintillating our visual sensibilities with pinks, hot violets and lush greens that are only partially soothed by the flickering blues of distant skies.
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.
Two Jewish holidays particularly command us to be connected with our vast history. Most notably Passover demands that we feel as if we too went out of Egypt with the Jewish masses. Less obvious is Tisha b’Av.
Mark Podwal is a busy, busy man. He has spent the last 38 years making every conceivable kind of art: innumerable paintings, 28 illustrated books written by him and Elie Wiesel, Harold Bloom and Francine Prose, children's books, haggadot, ceramics and graphic works. Dubbed the "Master of the True Line" by author Cynthia Ozick, his pro-Israel cartoons and drawings have been featured on the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times since 1972.
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.
As a matter of principle, I must begin this column by stating bluntly that in my opinion the column's subject, Mayer Kirshenblatt, though he is a very talented storyteller, is not a very good painter by any means. Normally, that would present the end of the story. There are more than enough great artists who grapple with Jewish subject matter and themes that this column does not need to address work that is anything but first rate.
The Jewish Museum occupies a singular position in the Jewish universe, acting as a two way mirror.
For the Jewish artist the desire to illuminate a Torah is an irresistible act of devotion, an offering to Hashem as precious as any sacrifice imaginable. Each parsha is etched into the Jewish consciousness as a calendar for the year, changing weekly, subject, tone and atmosphere. From the primal drama of Lech Lecha to the national transformation of Yisro, and beyond to Moshe's tragic death on the eve of our long sought homecoming, the weekly portion celebrates and delineates God's complex relationship to His beloved. Illuminating the Torah parsha by parsha is the artist's ultimate amidah.
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.
Trying to summarize the plot of "Jacob and Jack," currently in its world premier at Victory Gardens in Chicago, is a bit like, well, trying to understand a Yiddish play if you don't speak Yiddish. The viewer quickly gets the sense that something really interesting is happening in the play's myriad flashbacks - which are simultaneously redundant and singular - but even after skimming the Jacob and Jack script, I'm still having trouble keeping the narrative and chronology straight.
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.
Why should we bother with art? A waste of time, bitul Torah, perhaps even a lure into apikoresviewing art, not to mention making it, could be viewed as a can of worms best left unopened.
Permission to Use Hebrew Letters, Healing the World, and the Pull of Judaism