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American Guild of Judaic Art New Vision. New Website. New Year. This new “virtual” home for the Guild was created by dedicated  members from all over the country with different talents and skills, who worked diligently to make the site easy to use, informative and—most importantly—the best venue to display AGJA members’ art.  I stand...

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Neshama Interfaith Center Marian Monahan, a founder of the Neshama Interfaith Center, speaks in the voice of a prophet. She preached these words on Mother's Day at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta, and has graciously allowed me to share them here: Those of you who know me are aware that I'm quite involved in the interfaith...

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Tiferet: Literature, Art & the Creative Spirit Thanks to the encouragement of Tiferet's editors and community of writers, I've taken risks with my writing—submitting poetry to their site and entering their annual writing contest. Tiferet Talk, featuring interviews with authors, has also been a wellspring of inspiration. Here are links to my most recent posts at Tiferet: Gratitude...

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Encountering Angels: Reading Genesis with my Children In this book, my children and I blend traditional Jewish learning and personal experience in our commentary on Genesis, making it unlike any other book written about the biblical text and rabbinic literature related to Genesis.  Like most books of biblical commentary written by rabbis, it examines the text through the...

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Pamela Jay Gottfried is an ordained rabbi, teacher, mother, and self-described wordie. An inveterate Scrabble player and New York Times Crossword Puzzle fanatic, she credits her love of words to her third grade teacher and her parents, who encouraged her to develop her vocabulary through reading and using the dictionary...

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American Guild of Judaic Art

new logoNew Vision. New Website. New Year.

This new “virtual” home for the Guild was created by dedicated  members from all over the country with different talents and skills, who worked diligently to make the site easy to use, informative and—most importantly—the best venue to display AGJA members’ art.  I stand together with the website committee and Guild leadership in awe of the beauty of our art and the accomplishments of our members.

I join my AGJA colleagues as we celebrate this new endeavor and strive to live according to the principle of Hiddur Mitzvah, enhancing the observance of the commandments by adding an aesthetic dimension, that is, using beautiful objects in the performance of ritual acts.

I hope that you will spend time visiting our new home, discovering the work of my fellow artists and educators at AGJA.  Click here to see my work that is featured in the gallery, and please visit and share my member page. Thanks!

Follow the Guild on Twitter at @AGJArt

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Jewish Book Month

rwb_logo196I decided to share a book recommendation on the Rabbis Without Borders blog last week, in honor of Jewish Book Month (November). It’s not really a book review because I didn’t want to risk spoilers, but I hope it’s just enough to entice you to read the book.

bubbe_cover_final web

Here’s the link—in case you missed it when it went live:

#AmReading: Living in a house full of readers, I often find my book—the book that I reserved from the library to read on Shabbat afternoon—sitting on someone else’s nightstand with someone else’s favorite bookmark peeking out from the pages, a clear signal that someone else has staked a claim to my book. I am annoyed, though only until I remember…Read more →

 

Later this week: exciting news about the American Guild of Judaic Art (AGJA) website!

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In the beginning…

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These are Vicki’s prayer beads:

prayer beads by vicki web size

She made them Sunday at the Neshama Interfaith Center’s Prayer Bead Workshop.Vicki told me that she never considered herself to be artistic, yet she created these exquisite beads in less than an hour.  Perhaps her artist’s soul was inspired after learning from friends of different faiths that we all try to connect with God in similar ways: using our hands to direct our hearts and minds toward the divine.

prayer beads workshop at rcm

Roswell Community Masjid (RCM) hosted the event.  Here are some of the other beads we examined and traditions we discussed:

prayer beads rosary

Rosary beads (Catholic & Anglican)

Jews do not use prayer beads, but wear a talit (prayer shawl). Its strings & knots number 613, a reminder of the mitzvot (commandments)

Jews do not use prayer beads, but instead wear a prayer shawl with strings & knots that number 613, a reminder of the mitzvot (commandments)

 

 

 

33 beads, used by Muslims to reflect on the 99 names of God

33 beads, used by Muslims to reflect on the 99 names of God

 

 

 

 

 

 

Variety of beads used by Buddhists in meditation

Variety of beads used by Buddhists in meditation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is just a taste of how my week began, with friends of many faiths engaged in conversation and in creation of art.  Though some Sundays are ordinary beginnings to the week, this past Sunday felt like the first day of something special.

With gratitude to the Neshama team—especially Sue Chase, Executive Director & photographer—our hosts at RCM & everyone who participated in the workshop.

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