Tag Archives: Art

What makes one’s home Jewish?

An essay in progress….

What do we have in our homes that define them as a Jewish space, for a Jewish person?

A mezuzah

Jewish art and music – We live in Western civilization, and our artwork, paintings, murals and music reflect this great heritage. But we also have our own Jewish heritage, and if we are both educated in and proud of our heritage, this should be reflected in some of our artwork on our walls, and in our music choices.

Jewish books – Certainly a Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) – but what about other books on Jewish history, and on the rich heritage of rabbinic Judaism?

Ritual Judaica for the weekly observance of Shabbat, including Havdalah

Ritual Judaica for tefila (prayer) – kippot, tallitot, tefillin

A kosher kitchen – The laws of kashrut have expanded over the last millenia. In order to keep kosher by these increasingly strict rules, Orthodox Jews purchase books about with literally hundreds of pages of rules. Yet when we study Judaism historically, we see that our ancestors never had this amazingly complexity. As such, I understand why many modern Jews rebel against kashrut. But we can still keep kosher without necessarily following the strictest rules: The basics of a kosher kitchen are easy – and while details are best covered elsewhere, I’m suggesting that Jewish homes have kosher kitchens.

What else should be mentioned here?

The art of Arthur Szyk

Arthur Szyk (1894 – 1951) was an artist who worked as a book illustrator and political commentator. Arthur Szyk was born into a Jewish family in Łódź, a part of Poland then under Russian rule. From 1921, he lived in France and Poland, and in 1937 he moved to the United Kingdom. In 1940, he settled permanently in the United States.

Arthur Szyk became a renowned artist and book illustrator …Szyk’s work is characterized by social and political commitment, and its rejection of modernism; instead he draws on the traditions of medieval and renaissance painting, especially illuminated manuscripts. Many of his works about Judaism are famous in the Jewish community.

(text adapted from Wikipedia)

The artwork of Arthur Zzyk

Hillel The Elder