Beyond Bagels and Matzah ball Soup – Support for our Jewish Culture and its creative arts
Section 2 0f 3 parts
So how do we turn this direction around to help us and our American Jewish community stimulate interest, appreciation and even love what the creative Judaic artist does to enhance and beautify the many aspects of Jewish living? All those who have experienced this present state of Jewish cultural arts frustrations need to roll up our smock sleeves and start down the road of being shlichim, emissaries, teachers, promoters, speakers wherever possible within our Jewish community institutions. We need to connect to our synagogues who don’t have Judaic art galleries (not permanent art displays that never change), to Jewish day schools who also don’t have Judaic art galleries, Jewish organizational facilities as in Federations, Hadassah, B’nai Brith, university Hillel facilities that can not only serve the need to display the latest in quality Judaic art/craft but also serve as extra needed educational tools to their Jewish studies teachers, a fine source to generate extra needed revenue and an opportunity to invite the many Judaic creators to be guest speakers on their lecture series besides authors and political personalities. There will be a need to encourage our many Jewish educators to use our Judaic art as serious academic tools for learning in the same mind set as the work on Gemarah, Talmud and Jewish history. Often the Judaic arts is overlooked as an academic teaching tool in many Jewish educational institutions, except for using crayons and coloring paper.
I have found that Judaic art can be very effective teaching tools to our non-Jewish friends and churches in cultivating understanding and respect, again rarely used by our leadership.
In my community alone- The Washington, DC metro area (The District, Virginia and Maryland), where we have 94 congregations, 5 Jewish day schools, 3 JCCs and a few national Jewish organization facilities, I count 3 JCC art galleries with no priority for Judaic themes, 2 large congregations that do have wonderful exhibit space but don’t care to use the space for Judaic art exhibits and one large congregation near me who had a Judaic art gallery 6 years ago after I showed them how to set one up. Recently, a congregational leader called me after hearing one of my lectures on this topic, He asked me to help him convince his fine arts committee to return back to Judaic art exhibits from the secular shows they have been showing the last 4 years. He felt a known Judaic artist would convince them sooner than he, a physicist, could do. This conversation continues.
Question: Would you be will to be part of this educational outreach movement in your own community? I would think it needs to start with Jewish leadership…Rabbinical, cantorial, educational and lay to open some doors and stimulate and educational change.
Avy Ashery, Rockville, Md. 301-279-0648, Ashery email@example.com