Photo Credit: Christian Hansen for The New York Times

Photo Credit: Christian Hansen for The New York Times

Godfather of the contemporary visual Jewish art movement Archie Rand finished his 613 paintings, one for every commandment, in 2008. But on November 10th, a new book called “The 613″ is being published allowing viewers to experience them all in one space for the very first time.

You can read all about the project in features from The NY Times, Religious News Service, and elsewhere.

Additionally, Brooklyn institution BookCourt will host the artist in conversation with Rabbi Dan Ain. The very special event will feature Rand and Ain discussing art, religion and their convergence.

Event details:
163 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Friday, December 4th @7pm


Date: Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM – 7 PM
Location: 55 Lexington Avenue, Room 14-270, New York, NY

A native of Jerusalem, Yehuda Levy Aldema has been working as an artist in a variety of media since 1982. A graduate from Bezalel Academy of Fine Arts, his first commissions were public murals in Samaria, Tirat Carmel, Petah Tikva, and Jerusalem. At the same time, he was producing work in oil on canvas and other media and exhibited in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. He has visited, lectured and worked in Europe and the United States, most recently completing a residency in the Ukraine, at the Odessa Jewish Community Center, which produced a community art project focused on community identity. His current work explores the interpenetration of Biblical texts and reality through constructions that include found objects, carvings, drawings, and photography. He lives in Modi’in near Jerusalem with his wife of thirty-five years, Shirley Levy-Aldema.

By Beth Sarafraz for the Jewish PressCBX3OdVUcAAUE9r

Ani ma’amin b’emuna shelema be’viat hamashiach, Vi’af al pi sheyit’mame’ha im kol zeh achakeh lo bechol yom sheyavo.

I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah; and even though he may delay, I will await him every day.

–12th Principle of Faith, from Rambam’s Shloshah-Asar Ikkarim

One could wonder how the Rambam would react to the Anshie Kagan sculpture, “IN CASE OF MOSHIACH BREAK GLASS,” scheduled to be auctioned December 16 at Kestenbaum & Company.

Would the author of Guide for the Perplexed (Moreh Nevuchim) be, himself, perplexed?

Anshie (who prefers to be known by his first name), is a young Boston-born Orthodox Jewish artist currently residing in Brooklyn, who attended Lakewood Cheder, Mesivta Pe’er Hatorah and Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology. He renders a unique take on a traditional principle of faith: a sculpture – a wooden box 36” x 12” x 12”, painted red, with a classic metal hammer on a chain attached and a glass front with the lettering: IN CASE OF MOSHIACH BREAK GLASS. Behind the glass is a full-sized shofar, because, says Anshie, “Moshiach will use a shofar to announce his arrival.”

The piece screams for attention, much like the old style fire alarm boxes we used to see on street corners.

It certainly got the attention of Daniel Kestenbaum, founder and president of Kestenbaum & Company, an upscale boutique auction house in Manhattan featuring fine Judaica, rare books, manuscripts, autographed letters, graphic art and ceremonial objects.

When asked what attracted him to this artist and this particular work of modern Judaica, Kestenbaum said:

“Anshie Kagan – living and worshipping within the religious world – has about him a most witty and original energy. No, his artworks are definitely not going to match the dining room drapes. It’s edgy and it stops the viewer short — exactly what good art is supposed to do, and just what the thinking Jew should be doing — stopping short and reflecting about his life and his Judaism. For that reason, I support Anshie’s work and seek to gain for it a wider audience.”
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British-born, Israeli-based photographer Toby Cohen is fundraising for his new project MosesTen, which seeks to recreate major moments from the life of the biblical leader Moses and the Jewish people’s desert journey.

He recently told The Jerusalem Post, “There are large numbers of people in Israel who study the words of the Torah all day long, but many people find it difficult to interpret those words, or don’t find the text interesting. “If I can turn those words into pictures, if I can bring the Bible to life and bring these stories to life then that’s a very positive thing, and maybe my picture will serve as a starting point for people to explore the Torah.”

The inspiration for the project says Cohen is his “obsession” with the varied landscapes of Israel.

“I’m always looking for the connection to our land, today, and the stories that tie us to it,” he said. “By creating these images in the Land of Israel today, and tying them to the stories that make up our cultural identity, I’m trying to reaffirm that bond between the Israelite people and the Land of Israel in a visual manner.”

View a behind-the-scenes video about the entire project below and help support his Indiegogo campaign here.


ABOUT THE EXHIBITION | Rooted explores the dual role of art embedded in the environment and in Jewish identity. Co-sponsored by the Jewish Art Salon and Manny Cantor Center, Rooted highlights the complex and deeply rooted relationships featured artists have to the changing natural environment and to Jewish culture. This group exhibition invites art enthusiasts, environmental activists, and the wider community to experience the artwork in the galleries and contemplate their own roots.

Providing in-depth Jewish learning, community engagement, and artist studio experience, Art Kibbutz’s residency programs helped participating artists deepen their own complex relationship to the environment and their Jewish heritage.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS | Photography by Helène Aylon, Shay Arick (Israel), Leah Caroline, Larry Frankel, Ken Goldman (Israel), Gil Lavi (Israel), Paul R. Solomon; digital mixed media with augmented reality by Cynthia Beth Rubin; paintings by Tobi Kahn and Shira Toren (Israel); and sculptural and site-specific installations by Hila Amram (Israel), Jackie Brookner, Stephanie Osin Cohen, Filipe Cortez (Portugal), Susan Hoffman Fishman and Elena Kalman, Elisa Pritzker, Deanna Sirlin, and Renata Stein

Curated by Aimee Rubensteen with Curatorial Assistant Yona Verwer.


The second Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art (September 24 – November 5) will showcase the work of nearly 200 Israeli and international professional artists in 10 exhibitions hosted in seven city-center venues.

Following the success of the inaugural Jerusalem Biennale in 2013, Biennale2015 will continue to explore the places where contemporary art meets the Jewish world of content. Curators and artists with different approaches, who span the continuum of Jewish identity from secular to ultra-Orthodox and include non-Jewish artists, come together within the Biennale framework to give their own interpretation of contemporary Jewish art.

Biennale2015 hosts four exhibitions from overseas – New York, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires and Barcelona and, for the first time, the Jerusalem Biennale extends its reach with three simultaneous exhibitions in L.A. The vision of the Biennale is to create the right conditions for the artists to display their work in Jerusalem, engage in the current discourse about the Jewish world and help establish Jerusalem as the global center for contemporary Jewish Art.

For updated exhibition information and ticket purchase:

View a gallery of just some of the exhibitions below.

By Sarah Friedland, for Laba Journal


During her recent residency at the MacDowell Colony, filmmaker Sarah Friedland engaged in a deep visual meditation of Ecclesiastes (Koheleth in Hebrew). Her tools were the text, a camera and a couple of packets of articulating paper that she found outside a dentist office back in New York City. (These are the little sheets you grind between your teeth so the dentist can determine whether or not everything is lining up correctly.) The resulting interactive film, which is stunning, can be explored by clicking here. Please note, it is best viewed on a computer and may not function correctly on a tablet or smart phone.


After over a year of work, animator Nina Paley has finished the stunning “embroidermotion” of Chad Gadya as an intermission piece for her still in production feature length Seder-Masochism project. The exhaustive process used newly developed software by Theodore Gray to bring it to life, which you can read about in detail here.

Every frame is made up of real stitched designs on identical matzoh covers, and they are all on sale! It’s like owning an original animation cel but way more unique. The artists have also made their stitching files to produce the embroidery available for free download on

Watch the completed video below:

CHAD GADYA from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

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The JTS Arts Advisory Board Presents
Traversing Tradition: Transformation in and of Contemporary Jewish Life

Exhibition Curator: Rebecca Pristoop
Participating Artists: Tamar Ettun | Jake Levin | Angela Strassheim | Silvio Wolf | Gil Yefman | Sarah Zell Young

September 10, 2015, through May 19, 2016
3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street)
New York City

Traversing Tradition: Transformation in and of Contemporary Jewish Life explores the possibility of transformation as it intersects with Judaism. Prompted by a period of change and reflection—as JTS begins a major renovation and expansion of its campus facilities, creating a centralized and modernized residence hall, a prominent auditorium and conference center, and a state-of-the-art library— this exhibition emerges in two stages. On view beginning in fall 2015, installations by Tamar Ettun, Jake Levin, Angela Strassheim, and Sarah Zell Young make use of JTS’s historic campus with works that consider the possibility of transformation in one’s personal life as well as in contemporary Jewish culture. Using a wide range of media, including video, photography, and neon, the artists witness, question, respond to, and reinterpret Jewish communities, texts, and traditions. Their artworks reflect upon the transformations intrinsic to the rituals, customs, and observances associated with Jewish dietary laws, prayer, birth, and death.
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Israeli based Jewish Art Salon fellows, including Dorit Jordan Dotan, Ruth Schreiber, Ken Goldman, Judith Margolis, Yehudis Barmatz, and Gidon Levin, are participating in “Ima Iyla’a: the Art of Motherhood,” a bold, breakthrough art exhibit on the divine and earthly Mother taking part in the Jerusalem Biennale 2015.

American Participating Artists include Joan Roth and Doni Silver Simons.

“How does the Kabbalistic concept of Mother (Ima Iyla’a) find expression in our world through human wisdom, empathy, and nurturing?” Internationally acclaimed artists ask existential questions that expand the conversation on art and motherhood, and explore the yearning, pain, and loss that accompanies the quest of mother and child.

Help support the artists’ installations and promotion of the exhibit in the orthodox community by contributing to the exhibit’s indiegogo campaign. Every Contribution brings the exhibit closer to their goal!

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