Founded in 1991 in New York City, the American Guild of Judaic Art’s continuing mission is to promote awareness of fine art and craft objects created in the Jewish spirit.
From the beginning, the goal of the organization has been to serve the needs of Jewish artists, and those who sell and promote Jewish art. Our membership includes artists, artisans, architects, collectors, galleryists, and anyone interested in the role of Judaica and Judaic art as it relates to home, family, and community. Current members include individuals, companies and organizations in the United States, Israel, Italy, and Canada.
In 1993, the organization created Jewish Arts Week. That tradition evolved, and in 2013 became Jewish Arts Month – an educational event held in March (to coincide with the artistic achievements of Bezalel and others described in Torah). During the event, there are online and brick-and-mortar member shows, a national event calendar, an essay contest for adults and youth, and local programs given by members in their communities. At the launch of the first Jewish Arts week in 1993, Rabbi Avi Magid commented, “It may fairly be said that Jewish Art is a spiritual growth industry.”
The AGJA website was launched in 1999, providing a central location for some of the most talented artists and artisans in the world to display their Judaica and Judaic art, and offer an educational and networking forum for those who appreciate, study, and collect their work.
Other notable activities by our members:
• Judaic art programs led by our members, year round.
• Educational panels at national Jewish organization meetings, like the URJ (Union of Reform Judaism) Biennial.
• Member forums on the website which allow members to discuss issues like intellectual property, and what differentiates Jewish art.
• Member get-togethers and celebrations, mostly in New York City, but we hope these will spread to other areas as membership grows.
• The Judaic Visual Arts On-Line Mentoring Program for Students in Grades 7-12. The program matches young artists and artisans with Guild members to expand their involvement in Judaic art.
Presidents of the AGJA
1991 – co-presidents: Michael Berkowicz and Laura Kruger
1992 – co-presidents: Michael Berkowicz and Laura Kruger
1993 – Michael Berkowicz
1994 – Michael Berkowicz
1995 – Michael Berkowiicz
1996 – Michael Berkowicz
1997 – Mark D. Levin, AIA
1998 – Mark D. Levin, AIA
1999 – Mark D. Levin, AIA
2000 – Mark D. Levin, AIA
2001 – Steve Medwin
2002 – Steve Medwin
2003 – David Klass
2004 – David Klass
2005 – David Ascalon
2006 – David Ascalon
2007 – David Ascalon
2008 – David Ascalon
2009 – David Ascalon
2010 – Flora Rosefsky
2011 – Flora Rosefsky
2012 – Flora Rosefsky
2013 – Jim Cohen
2014 – Jim Cohen
2015 – Karen Walanka