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The Prayer of the Orchard Street Shul In America it happens all the time.  Immigrant Jews arrive, build a community, more Jews come, and then prosper and move on to a better neighborhood and finally the suburbs. In the old neighborhood non-Jewish immigrants take their…
Singer’s Artists The illustrator stands in an oft-denigrated position, scorned by modernists and traditional purists alike.  For both schools of thought the sublime of art cannot be rendered literal.  On the other hand, illustrators are curiously accepted if not celebrated by those in a postmodern…
Reinventing Ritual at The Jewish Museum Why would one want to reinvent a Jewish ritual when it had been working perfectly well for hundreds if not thousands of years?  Ah ha, perhaps all is not as well as traditionalists would like to think.  There is…
Derfner Judaica Museum and The Art Collection The inaugural exhibition, Tradition and Remembrance: Treasures of the Derfner Judaica Museum, at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale is a stunning presentation of close to 250 objects that sweeps through Jewish art history from the eighteenth century to…
Anette Pier and Michael Hafftka at YUM Two deeply idiosyncratic exhibitions at Yeshiva University Museum warrant close inspection if only to show how the diverse richness of biblical and Judaic subject matter can inspire contemporary artists.  The very eclectic nature of both artist’s works speaks…
Mystical Storytelling at MOBIA: Chagall and the Russian Jewish Theater at Jewish Museum In 1931 Marc Chagall embarked on a series of etchings of the Bible that would become a pervasive creative theme for the rest of his life.  For all of his forays into…
Memory Paintings Shmuel the artist is what they called him back in the Old Country.  At home and in cheder he was always drawing or modeling something.  Born in 1882 in Wolkovisk, Russia he grew up in poverty, his father a Torah scholar and mother…
Ben Schachter’s Eruv Maps In the world of art and culture the rabbis generally get a bad rap.  From time immemorial they have often been thought of as the prototypical zealous guardians, seen as prohibiting all sorts of imagery with righteous abandon, constantly erecting walls…
Envisioning Maps God commands Ezekiel to make a map; “take a brick and put it in front of you, and incise on it a city, Jerusalem.  Set up a siege against it… This shall be an omen for the House of Israel” (Ezekiel 4:1-3). This…
Paintings at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art The Akeidah casts a very long shadow in the lives of all Jews, every day and particularly at this time of year.  The terrifying narrative in Genesis 22, only 19 lines long, and yet recited every morning…
Tanach at the Tel Aviv Museum As an artist when I visit a museum I relish the opportunity to soak up a gamut of aesthetic experiences, the wonderful array of visual and intellectual stimulation that characterizes looking at any kind of art.  Simultaneously I am…
The Roots of Abstraction The road one chooses in Art, much like life, does not necessarily determine the final destination.  A youth can start in yeshiva and paradoxically end up a surgeon, a public school student can still find their way into the rabbinate.

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