CONSTRUCTING AND DECONSTRUCTING JEWISH ART is a three day conference covering many aspects of Jewish Visual Art from September 7th – 10th, 2015.

Sessions include: “Expanding the Methodological Toolbox: Modern and Contemporary Contexts”, “The “Artless Jew” Discourse” and more.
Get more information and view the full program at

With fundamental shifts in culture, art history, and Jewish studies during the recent decades, it has become increasingly crucial for the custodians of higher education to carefully re-examine their approach to the history and interpretation of what is referred to as ‘Jewish’ art in both traditionalist scholarship and in the practice of art making, curatorship, and connoisseurship. Responding to developments in the humanities, communication studies, social studies and psychology, contemporary art history commonly embraces investigations of any image or object created for the sake of communicating meanings or emotions, and thus often replaces the term ‘art’ with a semantically broader term ‘visual culture.’ Contemporary scholarly research and the academic teaching of ‘Jewish’ art—like postmodern Jewish history and historiography —are increasingly distancing themselves from the search for any single exhaustive definition of the adjective ‘Jewish’ as applied to art, culture, and history. Instead, they tend to focus upon the variety and flexibility of both individual and collective Jewish self-identification throughout the ages. Scholarly discourse steadily moves away from the oft-repeated questions “Does Jewish art exist?” and “What is Jewish art?” to the inquiry “What is Jewish in ‘Jewish’ art?”—attempting to investigate Jewish visual cultures and their messages in their multiple contexts and interactions with the surroundings. This notwithstanding, even though the signifier ‘Jewish’ in the phrase ‘Jewish art’ is conventional and only loosely describes its object, it still relates to its signified in a fashion no less significant than the strict meaning of ‘middle’ does to ‘ages’ in the historical sciences, or the definition ‘charm’ does to quarks in particle physics. Thus the term ‘Jewish art’ can be instrumental in our discussion of visual culture, artistic expression, and appreciation of the plastic arts.

Register for the conference by emailing [email protected]

Indian-American Jewish Painter Siona Benjamin just posted a time lapse of the tile floor she designed being installed at the Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis, Missouri. Benjamin had worked for a year on a painting that would be transferred to ceramic tile and installed. The fifteen foot in diameter artwork takes us through the holidays in an imaginative way, including hidden faces, moons and other symbols. The inner circles are based on a teaching from the Talmud that connect the zodiac signs, Hebrew months and tribes. The innermost section evokes both Dina, the daughter of Jacob and Leah who did not get a tribe, and the Shechinah itself.

View the full painting below:
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Calendar Cover

Time moves in circles, not only in lines.

The Hebrew Circle Calendar offers a new old path for the Jewish year–new in its contemporary design.

Download a sample of the month of Elul here.

When we remember that every month is a full cycle of the moon, every year is a full cycle of the sun, and the holidays and seasons are fully intertwined, the symmetries and correspondences in our lives dance into vision. We return to the same place on the calendar, the same place in the Torah, and we remember–but we are changed. The miraculous spiral that we have been handed intact from our ancestors now invites us, with the vision of its 13 contributing artists, to walk with it in time, and reconnect to the spiral journey of the soul.

We strongly recommend this lovely calendar, published just on time for the High Holidays.

See more samples and Order it now at

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Jewish Art Now founders Elke and Saul Sudin presented “Jewish Art Now: Unifying Efforts For A Global Community” at the Conney Conference on Jewish Art 2015. In this presentation, they describe their journey in the contemporary arts scene, claiming what they call a Diverse Unapologetic Identity as their approach to being Jewish and Artists.

The Conney Conference is part of the Conney Project on Jewish Arts at the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Their tenth conference year took place for the first time in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California. The theme was “Jewish/American/Israeli: Intertwined Identities in the Contemporary Arts and Humanities.”

Dorit Jordan Dotan, Fallow Fruit , mixed media, 2013.

Dorit Jordan Dotan, Fallow Fruit , mixed media, 2013.

Now open at the YU Museum, a new gallery show based around Shmita, the seven year cycle for allowing agriculture to lay fallow. “Fields of Dreams: Living Shmita in the Modern World” is open June 21, 2015 – January 3, 2016.

This exhibition explores the dynamic process through which the Biblical concept of Shmita was revived, debated and engaged by early settlers of the Land of Israel. The exhibition features rare, original documents and letters by the most significant rabbinic voices of the late 19th and 20th century, as well as by contemporary photographs, artifacts and works of art that demonstrate the resonance and impact of this ancient custom today.

More info at

Ken Goldman , Shmitta Mitta (Shmita Bed), photograph of performance, 2007-2008.

Ken Goldman , Shmitta Mitta (Shmita Bed), photograph of performance, 2007-2008.



Los Angeles-based graphic designer Hillel Smith is creating GIFs to count the Omer, the 49 day cycle between the Passover and Shavuot holidays.

Continue to count every night with Hillel as he updates each day at his Tumblr here.


THE ART SPRINTER Emerging Jewish Artist Awards is a global art competition specifically targeting talented contemporary Jewish artists from all over the world. The project was created with the vision to recognize exceptional early and mid career artists and present their talent to a global audience through online promotion and a gallery exhibition.

While submissions are accepted in digital format, the actual artworks of ten finalists will be featured in a group exhibition that culminates with an awards ceremony in a New York City based gallery.

Since the concept of emergence in the arts does not necessarily correlate to a specific age, or other quantifiable terms, Jewish artists of all ages and working with all mediums of expression are encouraged to submit their artworks.

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1405229686Art Kibbutz Summer Residency
Governor’s Island, New York City
May 26 – September 10, 2015

Art Kibbutz’s Summer Residency will take place in a former army officer’s mansion embedded in the midst of Governor’s Island’s picturesque landscapes, waterfront views, and unique historic architecture. With studios for visual artists, writers, poets, composers, performing artists and a presentation/exhibition space, the building is a welcome place for artists and the public alike.

From May 26 to September 10, Art Kibbutz’s Summer Residency will offer a shared, multidisciplinary space where artists can experience a retreat-style residency just a short ferry ride from the frenetic buzz of New York City. While on Governor’s Island, artists can create new works and develop their practice, drawing inspiration from the unique location, as well as the community of fellow artists-in-residence. Art Kibbutz and artists-in-residence welcomes visitors on Sundays to enjoy the Governor’s Island Open Studios events, lectures, artist talks, meet the artists and learn about their work.

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Jewish Art Now Creative Director Saul Sudin with "Illuminated Streets" artists Hillel Smith and Itamar Paloge

Jewish Art Now Creative Director Saul Sudin with “Illuminated Streets” artists Hillel Smith and Itamar Paloge

by Avishay Artsy, for the Jewish Journal

Over the past week, two graffiti artists have been applying layers of bright orange and blue paint to an outdoor wall of the Silverlake Independent JCC. Hillel Smith, a native Angeleno, and Itamar Paloge, a Tel Aviv-based artist, met a year ago through their shared interest in street art. Now they’re creating Jewish-themed murals across Los Angeles.

The JCC mural features a massive orange Hebrew letter, alef, which fills the wall space. Surrounding the letter are blue calligraphic lines that reference the forms of the Hebrew alphabet but are not actual letters.

“It does incorporate the styles that both of us work in,” Smith said. “My work tends to be a lot more geometric and angular, and Itamar’s is a lot more free-flowing. This layering effect really brings the two things together.”

This is just one in a series of works the artists are making incorporating the Hebrew alphabet as a design element. Their current project, “Illuminated Streets,” references illuminated manuscripts, beautifully decorated handwritten books that are part of a rich history of Jewish typographic art.
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It’s become a tradition: every year, a group of more than 40 Israeli artists comes together and creates a new haggadah. They follow only two rules:

1) Each artist creates only a single page
2) The artists must use the standard Haggadah text

The result? A volume that entertains and surprises every time you turn the page, no matter how late your Seder goes. The Asufa Haggadah is a great conversation starter and a perfect gift for you or your host.

Now, for the first time, that haggadah is available in North America, exclusively through Print-O-Craft for only $25.00 (Free shipping on all orders $45+).

For large orders, email [email protected] for special pricing.

Check out some sample pages below:
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