Down-to-Earth Spirituality

Unlike the Torah narrative that begins “In the Beginning,” a blog begins at the end. This "Torah Tweets" blog displays its narrative in reverse chronological order with the most recent post appearing first. The new blog http://bibleblogyourlife.blogspot.com was created to reverse the order of the blog posts in this blog to begin in the beginning. Both the new book http://photographgod.com and blog invite you to explore creative ways to photograph God in all that happens in your everyday life while crafting a vibrant dialogue between your story and the Bible’s story.

Postdigital Narrative on Spiritual Dimensons of Everyday Life ///// "For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp." (Deuteronomy 23:15) ///// "Judaism does not direct its gaze upward but downward ... does not aspire to a heavenly transcendence, nor does it seek to soar upon the wings of some abstract, mysterious spirituality. It fixes its gaze upon concrete, empirical reality permeating every nook and cranny of life. The marketplace, the factory, the street, the house, the mall, the banquet hall, all constitute the backdrop of religious life." (R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik) ///// "It is not enough for the Jew to rest content with his own spiritual ascent, the elevation of his soul in closeness to G-d, he must strive to draw spirituality down into the world and into every part of it - the world of his work and his social life - until not only do they not distract him from his pursuit of G-d, but they become a full part of it." (R. Menachem M. Schneerson) ///// "If there is a religious agency in our lives, it has to appear in the manner of our times. Not from on high, but a revelation that hides itself in our culture, it will be ground-level, on the street, it'll be coming down the avenue in the traffic, hard to tell apart from anything else." (E. L. Doctorow) ///// "The first message that Moses chose to teach the Jewish people as they were about to enter the Land of Israel was to fuse heaven to earth, to enable the mundane to rise up and touch the Divine, the spiritual to vitalize the physical, not only as individuals but as an entire nation." (R. Abraham Y. Kook)


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ki Tisa (When you take) כי תשה

Legacy Thrones
See, I have selected Betzalel son of Uri son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with divine spirit, with wisdom, understanding and knowledge, and with talent for all type of craftsmanship. (Exodus 31:2, 3)
ראה קראתי בשם בצלאל בן אורי בן הור למטה יהודה ואמלא אתו רוח אלהים בחכמה ובתבונה ובדעת ובכל מלאכה
I have assigned to him Oholiav son of Ahisamakh of the tribe of Dan, and I have endowed the hearts of every naturally talented person with wisdom. (Exodus 31:6)
               ואני הנה נתתי אתו את אהליאב בן אחיסמך למטה דן ובלב כל חכם לב נתתי חכמה 


The names of Bezalel and Oholiav, the Tabernacle artists, give us insight into the contemporary transition from modern to postmodern art.    
Bezalel ben Uri ben Hur literally means “In the Divine Shadow son of Fiery Light son of Freedom." 
It symbolizes the modern sensibility of relating art to individual passion and free expression.
Oholiav ben Akhisamach means “My Tent of Reliance on Father, Son, and My Brother."
It symbolizes the postmodern collaborative enterprise of constructing an intergenerational structure shared by a community. 
Bezalel’s name represents the psychology of the creative artist and Oholiav’s name describes the sociology of collective creativity.
Bezalel and Oholiav were not only endowed with artistic talent, but also with talent to teach others to be artistic collaborators. (Exodus 30:34) 
We created the Legacy Thrones project as an exemplary model of intergenerational collaboration and postmodern art education.
Elders representing ethnic communities of Miami and our art students collaborated with us in creating three monumental works of public art.
Talented young people worked with elders from the Jewish, Hispanic and African-American communities to create Legacy Thrones.
Through aesthetic dialogue, valued traditions were transformed into artistic statements of enduring significance.
Together, young and old hands shaped wet clay into colorful ceramic relief elements collaged onto three towering thrones constructed from steel and concrete.
Facing Biscayne Bay, each twenty-foot high, two-ton throne visually conveys the stories of the three largest ethnic communities of Miami.
For images and texts describing all three thrones and the process of creating them, click on artworks and papers at www.melalexenberg.com. 
Our papers about the Thrones were published in Art Education and the book Community Connections: Intergenerational Links in Art Education.  

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