Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jewish art

For the past year I've been learning with my two Rabbis, Yossi Sirote and Yehoshua Lewis. These men compose two-thirds of the Rutgers Jewish Experience trifecta (the third being the one and only Rabbi Meir Goldberg), an organization which lives and breathes through their indefatigable efforts in the Rutgers community. They give shiurim (classes) and learn one-on-one with the students weekly.

It was a long and productive year filled with much growth. I'm now leaving for Israel in two days to continue what we started a little more than a year ago. I will take up residence in Har Nof, Jerusalem to learn at the prestigious Machon Shlomo Yeshiva; something I could not have achieved without their help.

Had I immediately resigned myself to graduate school, I'm sure I would have found much happiness. Mathematics is really one of the most fulfilling disciplines; but it would have been at the cost of neglecting many potentially life-changing questions and unbounded personal and spiritual growth.

In any case, I wanted to show my appreciation. So I made some drawings. I took a lot of "work-in-progress" pictures, but for both I forgot to take pictures of the final products before I gave them to Rabbis Sirote and Lewis.

Anyway, here they are:

This first one is of Ethiopian Jews, it is fairly complete as shown here.
I've always been fascinated by the story of the Falashas, a small community of Jews in Ethiopia who kept the Torah for thousands of years unbeknownst to the rest of the world.

The second picture comes from a picture from the cemetary of Josefov, the Jewish quarter of Prague. The cemetary has gravestones dating back to the 13th century and is the resting place of the Maharal. This is still a far from complete version but the best I have:

These were my first forays into Jewish art. It feels oddly satisfying to enter my own small memes into the vast and vibrant culture. If you want to see the finished copies, visit Rabbi Lewis & Rabbi Sirote in Highland Park.


  1. "Falashas" is a derogratory term...did you know that?

    Ps. Like the blog :-)

  2. Jordan,

    Your beautiful picture is hanging in my dining room, and it reminds me and Esther of you while you're not around.
    I hope everything is well, it sounds like you're having a blast.
    When you get a chance send me your number over there.

    All the best,