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Title: Dance to the Music
Ushpizen to honor the female lineage that links the Ba’al Shem Tov to Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
Dimensions: 24 inches x 36 inches,
Year Completed: 2016
Medium: Acrylic Print with Polished Vinyl Finish

ushpizot: Welcoming Guests into the sukkah

Dance to the music”
ushpizot: Welcoming Guests into the sukkah


When I travelled to the Ukraine in 2008, I visited the pilgrimage sites of the Baal Shem Tov (1700-1760), the founder of Hasidism, in Medzhybizh and of his great grandson, Rebbe Nachman (1772-1810), in Uman.  The Rebbe believed in the need to speak directly to God, and continues to have hundreds of thousands of followers. He is always written about in relationship to his Davidic lineage and family history. However, it is very rare to read anything about the female line that joins these two great sages.

The Baal Shem Tov was married to Hannah (or Leah Rohal), and they had a daughter, Adel (or Adelah as the Baal Shem Tov called her), who was said to be a disciple of her father. She was known as a healer and herbalist, and a true tzaddeket.  Adel’s daughter, Feiga, the mother of Rebbe Nachman, was also considered a holy person, and was called ha-Nevah (the prophetess).

The Rebbe encouraged his followers to clap, sing and dance during or after their prayers, bringing them into a closer relationship with God. He believed in living with faith, simplicity and joy. The center image in “DANCE TO THE MUSIC” is from an embroidery with a joyous, folk-style theme that was designed and hand-stitched by my mother and which acknowledges my own female heritage. I collaged that image with the sky and sunset as viewed through the window of my NYC studio, with images of seasonal flowers and with a symbolic detail from a female gravestone, photographed in Chernevtsi, the Ukraine, as there are no stones to mark the women’s graves from this historic family.

This "Ushpizot Wall Plaque" was created to parallel the traditional "Ushpizin Charts" and wall decorations used to welcome guests and as an invitation to the patriarchs to join the sukkah.  It is dedicated to honoring the legacy of the biblical matriarchs who are our foremothers and linking them to the female lineage of the Baal Shem Tov and Rebbe Nachman.  I am welcoming the seven prophetesses -- Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Avigail, Huldah, Esther and Hannah -- to our Sukkah and stitching their names along with Hannah, Adel and Feiga.

Ushpizin Wall Hanging” created for 2012 installation (designed by artist/curator Tobi Kahn) at the Jewish Theological Seminary NYC, to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and to invite special guests to enter the sukkah.
Dimensions: 36H x 24W inches
Medium: Vellum Paper with Archival Pigmented Inks and Plexiglas

Ushpizin Installation
   

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