by Yehudis Barmatz


Rami Ozeri has a background in economics and philosophy. We can use people like him in the arts. He is a dreamer, a planner and a networker. He has the advantage of providing a stage for a growing scene of Jewish artists who otherwise would remain in shelters and behind closed doors. With his initiative, in 2013 the Jerusalem Biennale was born. When I mentioned the Jerusalem Biennale to my Tel Avivian Great Aunt, she was not sure she heard me correctly. She gave a short laugh for lack of better words. Perhaps from a Tel Aviv perspective, an event called a “biennale” in Jerusalem is cute. Upon taking a few steps backwards, one realizes how significant the Jerusalem Biennale is in the world of Jewish Art. A well-rounded essay written in the Erev Rav by Jewish art critic David Sperber in 2013 presents the fruitful outcome of tackling such an unanswerable topic as Jewish Art by the Jerusalem Biennale.

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Final invitation January 8-page-001

On January 8, the COJECO Blueprint Fellowship will host “Re:Turn”, a joint photography exhibition and literary salon, featuring the photographs of Anna Chana Demidova and the short fiction of Avital Chizhik. The evening is devoted to the narratives of Russian-speaking Orthodox Jews – originally from the Soviet Union who became observant.

“This demographic turned out to be more socially and culturally invisible than I thought,” says Anna Chana Demidova, a Belarusian-born photographer who lives in New York and studies at Columbia University. “My intention was to show the daily lives of my subjects and to tell their stories of reconciling Soviet mentality, immigrant experience, American culture, and Jewish laws. Both secular American and Russian-speaking communities are rarely supportive of Orthodox Jews’ lifestyle choices. I wanted to show the value of that lifestyle.” The exhibition features photographs of Russian-speaking Orthodox Jews in moments of routine and religious rituals, along with interview excerpts about their experience of becoming more observant.

Avital Chizhik, a journalist in New York, whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Tablet and regularly in Haaretz, will be reading from her short story collection, “In The Eighteenth Minute”.

“My stories are set in the Russian-Jewish community, from New York to Moscow to Jerusalem,” Chizhik says. “Becoming observant is, in many ways, an immigration experience, always being an Other in the foreign land of ritual and text study. My work examines that outsider experience, the clashes between generations, cultures and languages. And I think there’s something universal about it, in that search for home: in land, in religion, in culture, and in language.”

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BIENNALE2015 – Open Call

The Jerusalem Biennale will be held for the second time between September 24th and November 5th, 2015 in different locations around the city center of Jerusalem.

jerusalem biennale
The Jerusalem Biennale is dedicated to exploring the places in which the Contemporary Art world and the Jewish world of content meet. It is a stage for professional artists, who create today and refer in their work to Jewish thought, spirit, tradition or experience.

What are we looking for?
The Jerusalem Biennale is seeking Institutions, Artists Groups and independent Curators worldwide to submit proposals for Biennale2015 – The world’s first Biennale dedicated to Contemporary Jewish Art. The proposals should be for an entire exhibition of any discipline or combination of disciplines (painting, photography, sculpture, installation, video, sound and more). Proposals for performance(s) can be included in an additional chapter within the general proposal.

The Biennale encourages collaboration between different organizations and groups to submit a joint proposal. Collaborative submissions will be ranked higher.

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View all the photos on Flickr.

By Saul Sudin Originally published on

Red DotIMG_4798 (1)

It is always an interesting experiment to go to Art Basel in Miami with the intent of discovering contemporary Jewish art. The odds are good that there will simply be nothing to report on. Last year I attended with the same focus, and found not much more than a photograph of Spider-Man praying at the Western Wall (as great as that was).

From my seat in the Brooklyn Jewish creative scene it can seem like every day another artist is popping up full of vim for incorporating religion into their artwork. But the reality is, there are very few people on the professional scale, especially at an internationally renowned art fair, who are actively showing off Jewish-content artwork. And yet, it was there on display if you knew where to look. Across the main show and several other satellite fairs across the city, I found a handful of artists who range in experience and media, united through an interest in exploring Jewish themes.

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The Asylum International Jewish Artist Retreat is entering its third year, and applications are now open for 2015. Once again, it will be hosted in Garrison, NY, north of New York City and this time it will be taking place MAY 3-6, 2015. Jewish Art Now’s Creative Director/ filmmaker Saul Sudin was a participant in the 2014 retreat and it was a life-changing experience, highly recommended to those who are eligible. To be eligible to apply, you must be:

·Between 22 and 39 years of age by time of application.
·Actively working in an artistic discipline, with at least two years of professional experience producing and disseminating your art, and have demonstrated a significant commitment to your artistic discipline.
·The creator of work, not an interpreter of the work of others.
·Able to travel to the United States for the retreat. Unfortunately, Asylum Arts cannot apply for visas on behalf of artists.
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Members of the Tribe, aka, M.o.T.s is now having a clearance sale on all their innovative and clever apparel. All T-shirts are now priced at $10 and they make excellent gifts.

The Los Angeles-based company pledges that 10% of all proceeds are given to tzedakah in accordance with Jewish tradition.

Choose from classics like “Did You Bench?”, “Kosher Giraffe”, “Meat to Dairy Timer” and more. Buy now at


Lacey Schwartz, National Outreach Director / New York Regional Director for Be’Chol Lashon, an organization committed to raising awareness of the global diversity of Judaism, has just released her film ‘Little White Lie‘ to broader theaters after many successful festival appearances. The documentary tells Lacey’s own story of growing up in a typical upper-middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity — despite the open questions from those around her about how a white girl could have such dark skin. She believes her family’s explanation that her looks were inherited from her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather. But when her parents abruptly split, her gut starts to tell her something different, leading to a startling discovery that changes everything.

In the tradition of ‘Capturing the Friedmans‘ and ‘Stories We Tell‘, ‘Little White Lie‘ is a true life story with twists and betrayals that grabs you and doesn’t let go.

Beginning today, the film is rolling out to select theaters for week-long runs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Click here for further details and additional screenings. See the trailer below.

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What if Jacob’s sons were replaced with a tribe of pop culture stars.
Did Jacob’s sons walk the ancient paths of Canaan and Egypt trailed by tribesmen and women hoping to get a glimpse? Did their friends and family hit them up for extra livestock? Would they be living in Hollywood today?

"Benjamin" Digital print on canvas + original art, 12" x 18" Benjamin is left-handed and associated with the wolf. Dave is sexy like the wolf. He is James Franco’s baby brother.

“Benjamin” Digital print on canvas + original art, 12″ x 18″ Benjamin is left-handed and associated with the wolf. Dave is sexy like the wolf. He is James Franco’s baby brother.

The concept that Jacob’s sons are forms (similar to archetypes) and are still with us, is part of the exploration. As a culture we are familiar with the archetype of the Fool, the Gambler, the Orphan etc. They surface in different manifestations appropriate to their time. These forms, are less prominent yet shape the dynamics of culture recurring throughout each generation.

A 12 Tribe Project + New Works in Mixed Media
Opening December 9th
at the JEP
520 8th Ave, Suite 1500, NYC
RSVP to: [email protected]

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Light Is My Voice: Images, Legends, and Abstractions
Photographs by Todd Weinstein

Now on view until Dec. 22
The Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus
28123 Orchard Lake Road
Farmington Hills, Michigan

“Weinstein’s most recent exhibition, Light Is My Voice, currently on view at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, MI, through December 22nd, represents the culmination of three thematic bodies of work: Re-emergence of Jewish life in Modern day Germany, The 36 Unknown, and Faces of the Prophets.

In his remarks at the opening on September 20th, Executive Director Stephen M. Goldman stated, “This may be the best one person exhibition we have had to date.” Mr. Weinstein had previously exhibited The Re-Emergence of Jewish Culture in Germany at Janice Charach Epstein Gallery in 1996 and the 36 Unknown portfolio in 2004 at the then newly opened Holocaust Memorial Center. This is the first exhibition of The Prophets. I sat down with Todd Weinstein with a few questions.”

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