Living Threads Judaica: About the Artist
"Art for Beauty, Ritual, Celebrations, Healing and the Soul"                                                                                                 WENDY  A.  RABINOWITZ              

 

"When I first saw the artwork of Judaic artist Wendy A. Rabinowitz, it immediately found a place near the top of my lengthy list of significant contributions to the renewed expression of the Jewish spirit through artistic media that I have seen and heard through the decades.  What first impressd me was the visual originality and fidelity to the scriptual text.  Endowed with spiritual sensitivity coupled with fresh images and suggestive insights into feelings and reactions, her dedicated artistic skills and talents stir us at depths not so easily reached."  

Rabbi Everett Gendler, spiritual leader

 

"Do you see the magic of the earth? Can you tell it was created with passion? All the colors, the aromas, the scenery, the details... Know therefore that when God created, God created with passion..  Sacred Wellspring God endowed with passion all trees and all grasses and all living things that are upon the earth."  

SEFER HA'ZOHAR<, Vol. 1, folio 251a; Isaiah 6:3; Jeremiah 23:24; SEFER HA'BAHIR, Ch. 10; & Midrash D'Varim Rabbah 2:26

 

Photo by Susan Geller

 

 

 

 

"Shalom alechim" (Heb), peace be with you, and thank you, "todah rabah" (Heb.) for taking the time to view my Judaic artwork.  I invite you to view my  entire website at: www.LivingThreadsJudaica1.com  , or at my e-mail: wrshalom@aol.com , or call at : 413.281.2399 for any inquires on pricing, commissioning artwork, exhibits, presentations, or studio visits.

ABOUT MY ART:

"I will weave sweet psalms to You whom my soul yearns..."

(from Song of Glory att.R. Judah HeHassid  d. 1217)

I create with passion and in partnership with the Great Creator, one-of-a-kind, weaving/mixed-media assemblages that are deeply rooted in the power of Judaism, nature, and the sacred responses of the spirit. I returned to Judaism, a 'ba'al teshuvah', through the act of creating art to reflect and embody God's oneness, "echad". Especially in these times of darkness and turmoil, the world's as well as my own, my artwork is my way of praising God and reconnecting to an ancient tradition which hallows and sanctifies life and creation. Descendent of a line of Sephardic Rabbis and Polish weavers, I was city-born and city-raised on the south-side of Chicago. I am currently living in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts where I work out of my Living Threads Judaica studio. I have been a professional Judaic weaver/mixed-media artist craftswoman for over thirty years. My work is exhibited and in galleries, synagogues, organizations and homes throughout the United States and Israel including the United Nations, The National Museum of Women In the Arts, and the Spertus Jewish Museum. My visual artwork expresses themes concerned with the earth, peace, healing and women's issues. I draw from the Torah and other Jewish mystical wisdom texts. In addtion,  I am a workshop leader and presenter on the power of Judaic art, the creative process, and Judaic rituals and themes. I believe "All art is a healing, a "tikun olam" to Creation.

 

 MY PROCESS: 

 As I enter my Living Threads Judaica studio, I begin the co-creative process with God by chanting Psalm 90. It asks G-d to "bless the work of our hands, our healing hands" Then I wait until the images overflow through me, what I call the "SHEFA" experience. Another way the artworks appear is what I call  my "HAD'MIDBAR experience: it is as though I am wandering in the desert and I slowly uncover the artworks from beneath the sand. A third way I call the "SHEMA"  process of "LISTENING/HEARING" to words and phrases that come to me to guide me to images to bring forth. As I seek to bring these images forth, they are connected to my committment to the earth, peace, interfaith dialogue, women's experiences, ritual and healing.My intention "kavannah" is that these artworks will be a visual pathway of connection and spiritual renewal.

 

MY ARTWORK:

In addition to my exhibit series, I create "VESSELS OF LIGHT", that celebrate Jewish life cycle events  I  incorporate  Hebrew  lettering from Psalms,Torah, blessings and prayers to  illuminate my artworks, using archivally-tested materials that are strong, luminous and extremely durable.

MY STORY:

 

My journey as a weaver began when a friend of mine took me to the Chicago Historical Society. There I encountered something I did not know,a loom, and was magnetically drawn to it. My friend built me a small, primitive loom in my attic and soon I was gathering grasses, seaweed, found objects for weaving. I have always scavenged, ever since I would awake at dawn starting at age ten and walk one-mile to Lake Michigan and bring home rocks, shells, etc. It was only after I started weaving that I found out my maternal ancestors were members of a large weaving community in Bielsk, Poland that at one time had over two-hundred and fifty guilds of weavers!  In addition, this powerful pull to be at the loom occurred  before I discovered that weaving ( Heb."arag") was prominent in the creation of the "miskan", The Tent of Meeting, in the Wilderness (Exodus 28:32; 35:35; 39:22,27), and sited in nine other places in Torah (Old Testament).  As I was struggling with my identity as a Jew and my relationship with G'd, I was up in the Isle of Mt. Desert in Maine in 1972 and encountered G'd through Nature, what Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel calls the " pathway in Awe" experience that the Matriarchs and Patriarchs of old also walked. I was then approached by a small clan of Jews from Chabad, newly resettled from Brooklyn. They invited me to learn about Judaism which I did in exchange for my teaching them about Feminism!!! I first combined my love of weaving with my love of Judaism in the 1980's when a Catholic friend of mine commissioned me to do a special artwork for her Jewish friends, the Weinsteins, for their fiftieth wedding anniversary. I struggled with what to make for them. As I was wrestling with inertia, a powerful wind came full-blown through my soggy head and with it came a clear and compelling concept, design, colors, materials, and the title !!!!  All I had to do was gather the resources and get to the loom to weave: "BLOW THE SHOFARIM TO PEACE..." which I eagerly did. The Weinsteins and my friend loved the outcome, and I rejoiced in it. And so began the template for my Jewish journey, one of " G'd wrestling" and then transformation into "shalom", peace and "simcha", joy. I am grateful to the many people who have helped me along the way and the many who have admired and supported my work.  I hope you enjoy the fruits of my many years as a Judaic artist.

 

MY STUDIES:

 

My studies were at the Art Institute of Chicago and with the following Rabbis: Zalman Schacter-Shalomi (of blessed memory), Arnold Wolf (of blessed memory), Alan Berg, Debra Zecher, Everett Gendler, Gershon Winkler, Josh Breindel and Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman and with the Kabbalah Centre in Boston, MA. I have a daily, on-going meditation and learning practice which incorporates prayer, chanting and readings of other  Jewish wisdom texts.

 

MY ON GOING WORK:

My art work is represented in gallery, museum, corporate, organization, synagogue, and private collections in the U.S.A. and Israel. I am a frequent lecturer and workshop leader on Jewish art as an ancient and contemporary source of spiritual identity, renewal, healing and peace. My most recent exhibit, "SHALOM: WEAVING THREADS OF PEACE", explores through visual representations, the idea of "shalom", peace as an active imperative in Judaism, reflecting the concept of wholeness as it manifests, spiritually, personally, physically and creatively. My series, "V'I'MO-TEI-NU (And Our Mothers)" has traveled extensively though out the U.S.A., & my seminal work "Women at the Wall : A Sanctuary of Peace" was featured at the United Nations exhibit, "Miracles of Peace" in 2003 and again in 2007, from my series, "VESSELS OF LIGHT: VESSELS OF HEALING...". My artwork is included in the permanent collection of "The Year of the Craftsman" at the White House since 1997.

I am a member of The American Guild of Judaic Artists; Chairperson of the Advisory Board Art Committee of Hadassah-Brandeis Women's Research Institute at Brandeis University; lifetime member of Hadassah International; former and current board member of  WOMEN OF SPIRIT (The Women's Interfaith Institute of the Berkshires); ; member of Jewish Caucus for Women in Art; Seeds of Peace; Bat Shalom; MultiCultural Bridge of the Berkshires, and the Jewish Arts Salon. I am included in the archives of The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., was a featured artist in the ABC-TV special "Embracing Judaism: Looking In, Looking Up, Looking Out", and am included in 'Who's Who of American Women', 2000-2017. 

  In joy and l'shalom, towards peace,

Wendy A. Rabinowitz

 

www.LIVINGTHREADSJUDAICA1.com

405 East New Lenox Road, Pittsfield, MA 01201

413.281.2399    e-mail: wrshalom@aol.com