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17 Shevat 5779 -
? Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Does Daniel Levin Know the Location of the Second Temple Menorah?

There is no denying that Dan Brown has become one of the most successful contemporary writers on religious art. The Lost Symbol recently sold a million copies on its first day of release, and it would only take 81 such days to surpass total sales of The Da Vinci Code. Perhaps because of his success, many are less than impressed with Brown's writings. "Usually we read the script, but in this case it wasn't necessary," a spokesman for the Roman archdiocese told The Telegraph (UK), explaining why a permit was denied for filming "Angels and Demons" at one of its churches. "Just the name Dan Brown was enough."

Laura Kruger At The Hebrew Union College Museum

"We are living in a Golden Age of Jewish Art, but don't know it."

Hungry For Literature And For More Heaven

The opening sentence of Saul Bellow's 1953 novel, The Adventures of Augie March, which begins, "I am an American, Chicago born - Chicago, that somber city - and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style," arguably did as much as any novel to put Chicago on this century's literary map.

Interfaith Medieval Artistic Collaborations Shed Light on Spanish Jewish-Christian Relations

In 1393, two years after the worst pogroms in Spanish history, the Jewish artist Abraham de Salinas accepted a commission to paint a New Testament-themed retablo, a work placed behind a church altar, for the cathedral of San Salvador. Another Jewish artist, the silversmith Bonaf?s Abenxueu (sometimes referred to as Bonaf?s Abenxueu), created the frame for the retablo.

Amnesia In Color And Line: Inez Storer’s Identity Paintings

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.

Two Irish Bands Succumb to Cultural Terrorism

Two Irish bands scheduled to play highly-publicized concerts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Nahalal in June have cancelled, citing an overwhelming international uproar over...

Shalom Y’All: The Southern Jewish Experience

Imagining the tempting aroma of pecan pie and fresh challah, the age-old rhythms of Southern Jewry unfold before our eyes in the seductively handsome exhibition of photographs, Shalom Y'all, currently at the Jewish Museum of Florida in Miami Beach.

Max Miller’s Kaddish: A Year’s Journey In 50 Shuls

To make a pilgrimage is to travel far and participate in something holy, singular and transformative. Upon the death of a parent, Jews make a pilgrimage thrice daily to a synagogue to participate in the same ritual, the Kaddish said over and over. It doesn't have to be far or near. It simply must be a place that Jews have decided is holy.

Kishinev To Kovno: Witnesses To History

When G-d hid His face in the last century, a ruthless history unfolded as tragedy after tragedy descended upon the Jewish people.

A Jewish Art Primer (Part V) – After The Catastrophe

The Holocaust, dominating Jewish Art for much of the late 20th century, is arguably the first form of Jewish Art to penetrate the mainstream cultural dialogue.

Divine Silence

The problem with G-d is His holiness.

Flying To The Moon: Michael Gleizer’s Paintings At The Chassidic Art Institute

Michael Gleizer's work is unfortunately all too easy to pigeonhole. You are not likely to ever encounter it in the Whitney Biennial, and you had better not expect to see it selling for hundreds of millions alongside Damien Hirst's works at auction.

Majzner’s Illuminated Torah

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.

Jewish Women Artists Talk About Their Work (Part One)

On Sunday, February 18, I attended an opening at the Kraft Center for Jewish Life (also known as the Columbia/Barnard Hillel) for the exhibit Words Within.

In the Dog House: Gabriel Metsu’s Dismissal of Hagar

Hagar and Ishmael, as imagined by the 17th century Dutch Catholic painter Gabriel Metsu, are literally in the doghouse.

Podwal’s Lamentations

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.

Sing Unto Him A Song: Blue Fringe And Soulfarm

There is Hassidic story about a young boy who attended Yom Kippur services at his local synagogue, and yet could not participate in the High Holiday service because he was illiterate.

Terna’s Touch

Frederick Terna has a soft touch. His images are neither strident nor angry.

Toby Cohen’s Hovering Hassidim

One of my favorite characters in all of literature is the senile patriarch José Arcadio Buendía, of Gabriel García Márquez's novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, who, before getting tied to a tree for his own protection, decides he would like to capture God in a daguerreotype. José's ultimately unsuccessful design solution is to jump out from around a corner hoping to catch the deity unawares.

Chagall’s Bible Images

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.

Letter From Tel Aviv

A new generation of Sabra artists have come to the fore, creating imaginative and attractive pieces of arts.

Hebrew Bible From Lisbon At The MET

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.

Siona Benjamin’s Megillas Esther

There is nothing funny about Siona Benjamin's Megillas Esther (2010). Unlike some contemporary illuminated megillas that emphasize the absurd and outlandish nature of the corrupt Persian court and the buffoonish character of the king, Benjamin takes the Book of Esther quite seriously. She is obviously deeply sensitive to the terrible consequences of God's hester panim (hidden face) in our own time.

Saying Hello Once Again, To Sholom Aleichem: Theodore Bikel Revives Tevye

Generally, sequels are best avoided. It should not have taken three remakes to prove that the first "Planet of the Apes" was more than enough, and the movie-going public would have been far better off without repeats of films like "Legally Blonde" and "Weekend at Bernie's."

What If Abraham Sacrificed Isaac Anyway?

Behold! It came to pass, after those things occurred, that Abraham was tested.

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