Art in the Family at Temple Israel

by | Feb 4, 2019 | Other News

Like many synagogues, Temple Israel possesses art and artifacts that both enrich and inspire. On Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9, the temple’s Art in the Family program offered a trio of experiences centered around its collection of Jewish-themed art, featuring Scholar-in-Residence Professor Michael Duffy, who serves as chair of the Art History Department at East Carolina University.

During services on Saturday morning, Professor Duffy lead congregants and guests through a tour of the art housed within the sanctuary itself. He spoke about the iconic Ascalon windows, the large bronze menorah also created by David Ascalon, and the abstract mahogany sculpture that represents the burning bush created by Frederick Drexler.

The morning service was followed by luncheon in the Evelyn Eisenberg Atrium, itself a virtual museum of Jewish art and artifacts, including the impressive Brenner and Solberg exhibits of ancient coins and Biblical archaeological artifacts. In addition to congregants, Temple Israel hosted residents of Beth Sholom Village at the morning service and lunch.

At a Hanukkah-themed reception on Saturday evening, guests took a tour of the artwork in Brody Auditorium, including Professor Duffy’s slide presentation touching on various artistic media, and featuring the dedication of a set of nine prints by Uruguayan artist Luis Camnitzer, entitled Luis Camnitzer Illustrates Martin Buber, created in 1970. The prints were donated by Patti Zetlin in memory of her father Henry Zetlin, first chairman of Temple Israel’s Endowment Fund committee, and in honor of her mother Betty Zetlin. The tour also included five works of visual art by past winners of the Elie Wiesel Visual Arts Competition, as well as ceramic art pieces created by students from Beit Sefer Shalom under the guidance of Betsy Karotkin. The work of several Temple Israel members, both professional and amateur, were also on display.

The support of a number of individuals and organizations made Art in the Family at Temple Israel possible, including the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Which loaned the five pieces of artworks from the competition, and Tidewater Jewish Foundation, which underwrote a portion of the cost, helping the congregation to continue offering enriching experiences to the community free of charge.

By Bobbie Fisher