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The Barbara C. Freedman Artists’ Beit Midrash

Hosted By: Streicker Center Temple Emanu-El NYC

Every seventh year, Jews are commanded to let the land lie fallow, to take down fences and boundaries and allow everyone to harvest what they need. While Jews living outside of Israel cannot obey this commandment literally, we can adopt its lessons spiritually and artistically. So during this Shmita year, we will grapple with what it means to live out those principles in our own lives, our communities and beyond. By considering that the word shmita derives from the Hebrew root lishmot, “to drop or let fall,” we will identify what we most cling to and practice letting go. We will deepen our perception that nothing belongs to us, that whatever we have or achieve is a gift. And we will celebrate artists who seek to embody these perceptions in their own practice.

The first hour of each session will involve an examination of a diverse range of Jewish texts, both biblical and rabbinic, to see how, as artists, we can interpret these narratives visually. In the second, we will critique art created by the participants.

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