Jewish Text Art Challenge Galleries, Kislev - Not By Might

Not By Might and Not By Power – Kislev 5779

We welcome the new Hebrew month of Kislev with the words of the prophet Zechariah:

“Not by might and not by power; but by My spirit! declared Adonai, God of Hosts” (Z 4:6)

This verse comes from haftara portion that we read the Shabbat that occurs during Chanukah, and celebrates the faith that allows us to reach our goals. Whether we are working towards an independent objective or a greater communal goal, this text reminds us to consider the spiritual impact of our accomplishments, both for ourselves and for our communities.

Force and sheer will can only move us so far forward. During this month, BooksAndBlintzes will feature art that is inspired by and showcases the relationship between creativity and faith. How does it drive us? And what does it empower us to achieve?

We look forward to sharing with you!

Chodesh Tov!

Cheshvan - Et Kashti Natati BeAnan, Jewish Text Art Challenge Galleries

A Covenant of Hospitality

Shuchat

The covenant between God and creation acts a sign of welcome in this piece by textile artist Paula Shuchat Miller.

BooksandBlintzes thanks the artist for allowing us to share this image of her work. To protect her legal and creative rights, please do not copy or distribute this image without the express consent of the artist.

Book Reviews, Jewish Text Art Challenge Galleries, Literature

Spinning Silver – Naomi Novick

Spinning Silver

Naomi Novick’s most recent book, Spinning Silver, immerses her readers in a world of fairy tales and magic. As she re-tells a hybrid of Rumplestiltskin and other classic stories, she creates an irresistible world, filled with the greatest promises for redemption, and the greatest terrors of defeat.

Miryem Mandelstam, the moneylender’s teen-aged daughter, commands the book’s central plot, as her unusual powers make her an ally and an enemy to the fabled Staryk forest creatures. As she struggles to hold her ground between her world and the Staryk kingdom, Miryem’s personal fate is inseparable from the destiny of the empire. From her family to the Czar, everyone in the kingdom needs her protection, and it takes a complex network of supporting characters for Miryem to reach her fullest potential.

It is a great pleasure to read a book that features such an incredibly strong young female protagonist as Miryem, and that Novick’s book features a whole cast of them underlines some of the darker questions beneath the narrative. Like the best fairy tales, Spinning Silver is not about getting to the “happily ever after”, and readers who expect such simplicity are going to be disappointed. Readers who are unafraid to engage with issues surrounding gender roles, anti-Semitism, political intrigue, and justice will find themselves thinking about the book long after they turn the last page. Novick’s ability to balance beautiful storytelling with a study of deeper human conflicts, without becoming preachy or dismissively flighty, makes Spinning Silver a book that readers will enjoy returning to over and over again.