I have always had a problem with the Omer. Doing the mitzvah of counting the Omer was of course pretty easy. Remembering to start the second evening of Passover and remembering to stop the day before Shavous took a little concentration but somehow I always managed. No, for me the nagging problem was always why was I doing this in the first place, other than the fact it was a biblical (according to the Rambam) commandment.
The megillahs beg to be illustrated. Each is associated with a notable holiday and each presents an idiosyncratic view of Jewish history and experience. Those that are not overtly narrative cry out to be narrated while the others present the most compelling stories imaginable. Song of Songs is scandalous until tamed by rabbinic interpretation; Koheles equally assaults a pious worldview, Eichah tears our hearts out, while Esther fills us with fear and pride. And finally Ruth causes us to examine the very foundations of the Messiah. Alas, their pictorial history is uneven.
An exquisite collection, across generations.
Michael and Judy Steinhardt are putting their magnificent Judaica collection up for sale at Sotheby’s in New York on April 29. The results of 44 years of diverse collecting will be on view from Wednesday April 24 and simply must be seen by anyone interested in Jewish visual and material culture.
Two masters of modern photography are on view at the International Center of Photography; Chim (Szymin) aka David Seymour and Roman Vishniac. They are both Jewish and just happen to bring astute but radically different visions to Jewish photographic subjects. These brilliant, exhaustive exhibitions help us examine the fundamentals of what it means to create a Jewish Art in photography.
There is a special class of Jewish artists who toil in the rich fields of Tanach and Jewish practice for years and years, quietly establishing a foundation of visual and intellectual markers for generation of artists to come. Ruth Weisberg is clearly one of these founders. Her seminal work articulates an approach to the Jewish narrative deeply informed by a Jewish feminism.
A Documentary Produced and Edited by Avi Angel Based on “Three Mothers for Two Brothers” by Izhak Weinberg 54 minutes: Quad Cinema March 1...
Bezalel, oh Bezalel, what company you keep! Your parsha, Ki Sisa, takes us from humble devotion to God’s commandments to the utter collapse of Israel’s faith. God-inspired creativity morphs into pernicious communal idolatry that expresses gnawing doubt and a desperate need for the mechanics of teshuvah. Yet in the midst of tragedy, drama and redemption, one quiet man and his assistant, Bezalel and Oholiab, were chosen by God to become the alleged ancestors of all Jewish artists.
Through her work "The Divine Within," artist Shira Gabriela highlights a literary parallel that exists between Megillat Esther and the Book of Zechariah.
One way to understand the Biblical is through contemporary eyes, literally. And so artist Elke Reva Sudin has recast biblical figures through contemporary portraits. The juxtaposition is revealing.
John Bradford’s paintings span over 40 years of intensive exploration of the joys of the Biblical narrative. He has explicated its myriad passionate moments from almost every narrative in Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers to stories from Nach such as Ruth and Naomi, David and Bathsheba and Mordechai and Esther.
A panel of experts advised the Dutch government to return only one painting out of 189 claimed by relatives of a Holocaust-era art collector.
Rock music festival Lollapalooza, which was scheduled to take place August 20-22 at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park, has been cancelled.
The Israeli former bodyguard of teen idol Justin Bieber reportedly sued the pop star for assault.
The recent works of David Gelernter, artist, author and professor of computer science at Yale University, compel us to listen and really see. His statements in the gallery video are riveting and his images, especially the Kings of Israel series are revelatory. It is in the dialectic between these two distinct approaches that we can understand his insight into the past and be guided into a present appreciation of Jewish Art.
Jewish law prohibits carrying an object from a private domain to a public domain (or vice versa) or within a public domain on the Sabbath. One who intentionally carries, knowing the prohibition on the Sabbath is libel to the death penalty by a Jewish court. The creation of an eruv establishes, where possible, an extended private domain in which such carrying is permissible.
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.
Formerly Hasidic reggae star Matisyahu participated in a candid interview with CNN, discussing his departure from observant Jewish life and his connection to his religion.
The rather large grasshoppers all have different human faces. The trees have human bodies with branches sprouting out of their heads. The animals in the Peaceable Kingdom garden seated at Isaiah’s feet are painted purple, pink, blue and red. Welcome to the visionary world of Nahum HaLevi’s Latter Prophets.
Silence. There is an overwhelming silence that dominates the Isidor Kaufmann masterpiece, Rabbi with Young Student (catalogue #93) offered for sale at the Sotheby’s December 19th auction. Kaufmann’s most engaging paintings for me are the deeply psychological portraits, usually of Hasidic men, young women and youths. It is noteworthy that Kaufmann (1853 – 1921) and Freud (1856 – 1939) were contemporaries and both lived in Vienna during the same period.
Heeb Magazine Publisher is looking to promote his tribute to his late brother and his fight with cancer.
For most observant Jews, the eruv is invisible. Each week we prepare for Shabbos: ready our food, conclude our mundane affairs, shower, dress and put the house keys in our pocket and check the web that the local eruv is up. Unless there has been a storm or other physical disaster, we can assume everything is okay. Just like the Shabbos calm that descends for 25 hours, the eruv operates for us in the background: essential but unnoticed.
Joel Silverstein is a comrade-in-arms. We share many ideas about the creation and nature of contemporary Jewish Art, as well as a commitment to the growing Jewish Art community, exemplified by the Jewish Art Salon of which we are both founding members and curators. This exhibition of his recent work at the Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life at Columbia/Barnard gives us the crucial opportunity to examine the complex richness of his artwork.
Arthur Szyk (1894; Lodz, Poland – 1951; New Canaan, USA) was a driven man determined to serve his people through his art. A passionate supporter of Jabotinsky’s Revisionist Zionists from at least the mid-1930’s, Szyk’s art almost always had a political edge. As we noted on these pages arch 12 & 19 2010, the Szyk Haggadah (1934 -1936) was originally an explicitly anti-Fascist creation. Therefore the recent publication by Historicana of “Heroes of Ancient Israel: Playing Card Art of Arthur Szyk” is notable for its lack of overt political content. Indeed, its strength lies in a subtler affirmation of Jewish sovereignty and wisdom.
In the eyes of the ram lies the artist’s commentary on the Rosh Hashanah piyyut “The King Girded with Strength.” From the Tripartite Mahzor (German 14th century), this illumination simultaneously echoes the piyyut’s praise of God’s awesome power and expresses the terror of actually being a sacrifice to God. The ram is but a reflection of Isaac. It is all in the eyes.