Traversing Tradition: Transformation in and of Contemporary Jewish Life
The Jewish Theological Seminary
September 10, 2015 - May 19, 2016
Traversing Tradition: Transformation in and of Contemporary Jewish Life invites six contemporary artists to explore the possibility of transformation as it intersects with Judaism. Installations by Tamar Ettun, Jake Levin, Angela Strassheim, and Sarah Zell Young 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. Works by Silvio Wolf and Gil Yefman join the exhibition in spring 2016. Wolf transforms JTS's public entrance into an experiential threshold of Jewish study and spirituality, while Yefman's work pays tribute to JTS's monumental 2006 decision to ordain gay and lesbian rabbis with an installation that engages the complexity of gender and sexual identities. Installed in different parts of the campus, these site-specific works allow the JTS community to pause amid everyday activities to reflect upon the practices addressed by each artist and to consider their own moral, ethical, and spiritual choices.
Tamar Ettun, Jake Levin, Angela Strassheim, Silvio Wolf, Gil Yefman, Sarah Zell Young
Mashiach's Pig Seder
What are the "four animals"?
Why is the pig called hazir?
Are we like the hazir?
Artist Jake Levin conducts a "Mashiach's Pig Seder" to consider the symbolism of the pig within Jewish culture and dietary laws. Why is the pig called hazir (return) and mentioned in commentaries that discuss the return of the messiah? What metaphorical lessons can we take from these commentaries and how can we apply the concept of return to food production, our bodies, and our environment?
April 5, 2016
Art/Gender/Judaism: Transforming Identities
What strategies do artists use to explore gender fluidity? How have Jewish artists advanced the current conversation around gender and sexual identity, which at times has included contronting their religious and cultural tradition?
Panelists: Danielle Abrams, Amichai Lau-Lavie, Gil Yefman
Moderator: Norman Kleeblatt
April 11, 2016