- Christina Mattison Ebert – www.cmattison.com
- Shraga Landesman – http://www.landesman-shraga.israel.net
- Susie Lubell – www.susielubell.com
- Darius Gilmont – www.darius-art.com
Featured musicians: Rick Recht, Danny Maseng
Featured musicians: Rick Recht, Danny Maseng
Darius Gilmont’s painting “Parshat Balak” is all about perspective. We get to share Balaam’s view of the Israelite camp, and wonder if such a sight would also lead us to pronounce the words of “Ma Tovu“. Are the people aware that Balaam stands above them? Can they hear his blessing? With bright colors and simple shapes, Gilmont focuses on Balaam and provides a sense of order and intention to the text.
Darius Gilmont is a painter based in Ra’anana, Israel who connects his work to the “naive art” and “symbolist art” genres. To see more of his paintings, including others that depict Torah texts, please visit his website at www.darius-art.com.
Books and Blintzes thanks the artist for his permission to use this image. Please do not share, copy, distribute, etc. without his consent.
Artist Susie Lubell’s colorful image of the Ma Tovu text highlights the vibrancy of the Israelite community. The words of the blessing embrace the diverse buildings and trees, uniting them within a common vision of peace and faith. Each home and plant is different, yet they stand close together, overlapping and connecting with each other to make the whole. The image’s brightness creates an atmosphere of celebration, security, and vitality. It is a blessing for the community and all who are included in its shelter.
Susie Lubell is a self-trained artist now living in Israel. She originally created this image with watercolor paint. To see more of her fine art work, please visit her website at www.susielubell.com. You can also visit www.milkandhoneyartshop.etsy.com to view prints of her watercolor paintings.
Shraga Landesman is a Haifa-based artist who invites you to link your home to the ancient Israelite camp. He crafted this mezuzah case as “a moving tribute to the strength of the Jewish home”. Hanging a mezuzah on the doorpost is a clearly visible sign of Jewish ownership, demonstrating the willingness to be recognized as part of the community. The words from the blessing Ma Tovu express the hope that this connection will support peace and tranquility in the home.
For more information about the artist and his work, please see http://www.landesman-shraga.israel.net/ Thank you for giving us permission to share your image and your words.
Artist Christina Mattison Ebert began the “D’rash Design Project” in 2012, creating pieces that expressed her interpretation of Jewish texts. Drawing on the weekly Torah portion, haftara (selection from the Prophets) and holidays, she ultimately crafted over 60 works of art. This is one of her images for the portion Balak.
“How fair are your tents, oh Jacob, your dwelling places, oh people Israel!” is one of my favorite verses in the Torah. Spoken by a non-Jewish prophet (Bilam) upon seeing the Israelite encampments in the wilderness, this line is unique because Bilam had originally come to curse the Israelites so that the Moabites could defeat them in war. Bilam recites a full poem in praise of the Israelite encampment, which you can read in Numbers 24:5-9.
Thank you to Christina Mattison Ebert for her permission to share this image and description. You can learn more about her work as an artist and illustrator at http://www.cmattison.com/. More about the D’rash Design project including other images, is available at https://www.etsy.com/shop/drashdesigns.
At the beginning of each month I like to drop the Jewish Text Art Challenge verse into Notegraphy.com and see how the different styles make the words pop for me. With this month’s selection, “Ma Tovu – How Goodly Are Your Tents” from the Book of Numbers 24:5, this geometric and colorful style really made them explode off the screen. I love the idea of looking down at the Israelite’s camp and seeing the diversity of the tents. There’s texture and color in the triangles but a unity in the diamond as a whole. For me this text is all about perspective, and what you will see when encountering something new.
It’s a first look at Ma Tovu – I can’t wait to share more! Join the conversation and tell us your impression. What does this text mean to you? Sing it, paint it, dance it, make it yours! Happy creating time!
The Torah portion “Balak“, which comes from the Book of Numbers and is read during the Hebrew month of Tammuz includes Balaam’s blessing of the Israelites. Although he had been hired to curse the people, his “eyes were opened” and at the moment, was moved to praise, rather than censure. The rabbis incorporated this verse into the daily morning prayer service, when at the time that people enter the synagogue, they recognize the value of coming together as a community.
מַה-טֹּבוּ אֹהָלֶיךָ, יַעֲקֹב; מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶיךָ, יִשְׂרָאֵל
“How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, thy dwellings, O Israel”
This month’s Jewish Text Art Challenge Gallery will feature media that represent artistic understandings of this blessing. Join the conversation by sharing which ones speak to you, and your own creations that praise the values of community and klal Yisrael.