Tag Archives: Jewish art

Glass Half Full

Now on view at The Art Center, Highland Park, through Jan. 31, 2015.

Glass Half Full, egg tempera and gold leaf on panel, 16" x 20", 2014, by Judith Joseph.

Glass Half Full, egg tempera and gold leaf on panel, 16″ x 20″, 2014, by Judith Joseph.

Artists’ Beit Midrash Exhibit Opening Nov. 12

Artist as Kohen:

Transmitting Holiness

Art by participants in Artists’ Beit Midrash

Judith Joseph and Jane Shapiro, co-facilitators

Curated by Judith Joseph

Choshen, by Linda Sonin

Choshen, by Linda Sonin

North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, 1175 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park, Illinois Through January 2015

Opening Reception:
Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 6:45pm
Exhibiting Artists:
Lois Barr ▪ Sam Bernstein ▪ Sylvia Dresser ▪ Nessia Frank ▪ Judith Joseph ▪ Ruti Modlin ▪ Lilach Schrag ▪ Judy Solomon ▪ Linda Carol Sonin
Leah Sosewitz ▪ Sandy Starkman

Join us for a wine & cheese reception and study session with Jane Shapiro.
Reservations are requested to Marcie Eskin at meskin@nssbethel.org or 847/432-8900×234.

To view exhibit at other times, please call NSSBE  847/432-8900 for open hours.

Ibis Ketubah

Ibis Ketubah, by Judith Joseph

Ibis Ketubah, by Judith Joseph

I love my job!  This commission gave me the challenge of creating a ketubah which had similar imagery to a previous work from 2008, which the couple really liked. (See below.)  The brides are cousins, so I wanted to be sure that, although the overall colors and imagery were similar, they were still distinctly different.  How did I do?

Doves/ Moon Ketubah, by Judith Joseph

Doves/ Moon Ketubah, by Judith Joseph

I had the privilege of making a ketubah for the sister of the Doves/ Moon Ketubah bride in 2009 (see below.)  I love it when my ketubahs become a family tradition, it is truly an honor, and fun to get to know various members of the tribe.

Mediterranean Islands Ketubah, by Judith Joseph

Mediterranean Islands Ketubah, by Judith Joseph

Sunrise Ketubah

Sunrise Ketubah; 18" x 24", acrylic on paper.  Simpler custom ketubah, digitally printed text, hand-painted decoration.

Sunrise Ketubah; 18″ x 24″, acrylic on paper. Simpler custom ketubah, digitally printed text, hand-painted decoration.

Casting Love Ketubah

Casting Love Ketubah, sumi ink and egg tempera on ragboard, 18" square, 2014

Casting Love Ketubah, sumi ink and egg tempera on ragboard, 18″ square, 2014

I enjoyed transforming the story of a couple, Anna and Andrew, into visual motives for this ketubah (Jewish illustrated marriage contract).  Andrew works in his family’s steel business.   Casting steel is a wonderful metaphor for creating a new, strong relationship.  Thus, the foundation of this design is the glowing forge, where a steelworker is pouring molten metal into the mold of a heart.  The forge also symbolizes the hearth, source of warmth and sustenance in the home.

Extending the “building” metaphor, reading counter-clockwise from the bottom, there are steel girders, followed by a pair of bower birds.  The male of this species creates an elaborate nest, which he decorates with colorful bits of paper and plastic, in hopes of wooing a mate.  So romantic!

Above the birds is a huppah, symbol of the home Anna and Andrew will create together.  Flying above the jasmine and hibiscus flowers is a hawk, a personal symbol for them.  Chicago’s majestic skyline at sunset surmounts the circle.  Continuing the circular motif are golden rings:  wedding bands, symbols of eternal love. Here they double as microscope lenses, through which we see slides of healthy breast and cervical tissue.  This represents Anna’s profession as a medical doctor, specializing in women’s health.

Returning to the personal narrative of Anna and Andrew, the circle is completed with a Lake Michigan sunset, as seen from the eastern shore, where they go to relax and unwind.

Finding a way to incorporate such disparate elements as the steel industry and gynecology was a wonderful challenge!  Anna and Andrew gave me free rein, which helped me fulfill the commission while allowing my creative stream to flow, unimpeded.

Sunrise Ketubah

Sunrise Ketubah

I just finished this ketubah.  It makes me yearn for little spring buds and new green leaves.

Happy Hanukah!

Sailing Ketubah

Sailing Anniversary Ketubah

I just finished this ketubah for an anniversary celebration.  (See my preliminary sketch here.  The original sketch included their Briard dogs, but we decided to leave them out. )  It was commissioned by a couple who spend much of their time sailing on Lake Michigan.

Working on it brought me back to my sailing days.  I learned to sail at Camp Ramah in Canada, and worked there as a sailing instructor.  I went on to teach sailing lessons at the Hoofers Sailing  Club at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  I tried to capture the power of the wind in the sails, the rhythm and rocking of the waves and the freshness and energy of being out on the lake on a sail-boat.  (See more of my ketubahs here.)

“Knittivists” Repairing The World

There is a wonderful project called “Tikkun Tree”, which is organizing fiber artists to contribute knitted, crocheted, embroidered and sewn leaves and doves to a fiber olive tree.  The tree will be a symbol of peace and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.  It is inspired by  “the courageous and remarkable efforts of Jewish and Palestinian citizens and activists in Israel and Diaspora who have been working toward peaceful coexistence” and also by “the many recent knittivist community needlework projects, including the pink tank, knitnotwar 1,0o0 Project , Knit a River, and the Red Sweater Project“.

I can embroider and sew, I think it will be fun to foliate!  If you want to participate, send your leaves to:

The TikkunTree Project
P.O. Box 2088
Philadelphia, PA 19103

I love to paint olive trees.  Here are some works which include olive trees from my portfolio:

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Glorious Summer

the view from my studio

the view from my studio

Most of my time is spent at my drafting table, where I am working on ketubot.  This is my view, through a sliding glass door.  Willow, my golden retriever, is my pal.  She has learned to open the sliding screen door by herself, so I keep a yardstick handy to slide it shut so I don’t have to quit painting and get up to close it.

Blue Hamsa Ketubah

I just finished this ketubah.  Blue sky outside and inside.