Last night, I attended the wonderful opening reception for the Skirball Artist Beit Midrash Annual Exhibition. As always, the work of the participants was incredible and inspiring. For the last year, the group studied Jewish texts related to the theme of light with Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses and Tobi Kahn. Inspired by these texts and discussions, they then created artwork which is now on display at Temple Emanu-El in NYC through June 13.
Highlights for me included fabulous pieces by artists Rachel Kanter, Susan Kaplow, and Eleni Litt. Kanter’s “Tallit Katan” (right) consists of hand dyed silk slips which contain traditional tzitzit (ritual fringes). Inspired by Rosh Hodesh (the new month), these slips are dark to represent the lack of light during the new moon and the beads on the pieces are in the shapes of the constellations.
Susan Kaplow’s “Hard Blessings: Jewish Ways Through Illness” is a powerful collection of artwork that accompanies stories collected from people who relied on Jewish practice to help them through illness. This collection is now available as a book which can be purchased through Kaplow’s website.
Eleni Litt’s piece “Broken Vessel” is a tribute to her friend Rabbi Jim Diamond who was killed in an accident a couple months ago. Litt cut her painting into pieces and then reassembled this “Broken Vessel” on a new wood base.
There are many more wonderful pieces to see, so take a few minutes to visit the exhibition before June 13!