This winter we will be creating works of art, appreciating art by members of our congregation, learning about Jewish artists and their varied experience and expression of Judaism, discussing what “Jewish art” means, and examining Jews’ response to art. Whether you participate in a single program or many, we do encourage you to spend time this January at FJC. True to all that transpires in our community, you might come for the content, but aside from fresh knowledge or perspective, you will likely leave with something more – a new friend, a deepened sense of community, a refreshed spirit.

An important note on registration and participation:

An RSVP is required for participation in all activities. RSVP early, but at least one week early, to help us plan – for room use, materials, etc. This is critical. Please note that activities are open to FJC members only. For complete event descriptions, see the newsletter or FJC website.

Calendar of Events

Chagall’s Grand Canvas of 20th-century Jewish History

A Book Discussion & Illustrated Exploration of Marc Chagall

Based on Marc Chagall, by Jonathan Wilson (Jewish Encounters Series)

Thursday, January 8 at 1:00 P.M. (Brown Bag Lunch at 12:30 P.M.)


Join Pamela Rothstein for a discussion and illustrated presentation about the artist Marc Chagall. We will draw from Jonathan Wilson’s book about Chagall in the Jewish Encounters series as the basis of our discussion and supplement with images of the artist’s work. You do NOT need to have read the book to participate, although you may want to afterwards.

If you think you know Chagall, novelist and critic Jonathan Wilson will challenge you with a portrait of the artist that is altogether more historical, more political, and edgier than conventional wisdom would have us believe–showing us how Chagall is the emblematic Jewish artist of the twentieth century. A copy of this book is available in the Righter Library.


Creating a Congregational Shabbat Table Runner – ALL AGES

Saturday, January 10, 3:00 – 5:00 P.M., ending with Havdallah

Let’s engage in “Hiddur Mitzvah” – enhancing/beautifying a mitzvah by collectively creating a Shabbat table runner to adorn our Shabbat tables in Speen Hall. So many wonderful conversations and memories take place around the Oneg or Kiddush table. As a group we will design a Shabbat tableau that reflects the joy we experience each week. Everyone is invited to participate. Your level of artistic experience or “skill” does not matter. This easy project (akin to the tallitot made by our students) guarantees a beautiful result.


 Jewish Paper Cutting & Hamsa Workshop

with Guest Art Educator Miri Sharon

Thursday, January 15, 10:30 – 2:30 P.M. (with a break for lunch)

Join this talented artist as she teaches about the tradition of paper cutting and guides you to making your very own special, Jewish paper cut art and Hamsa. Jewish paper cutting is a traditional form of Jewish folk art made by cutting figures and sentences in paper or parchment. It is connected with various customs and ceremonies, and associated with holidays and family life, decorating ketubot (marriage contracts), Mizrachs, and ornaments for festive occasions. A Hamsa is an amulet shaped like a hand, with three extended fingers in the middle and a thumb or pinky finger on either side. Thought to protect against the “evil eye,” it is a popular motif in both Jewish and Middle Eastern jewelry. A Hamsa can also be displayed in your home as a decorative element.


Film - Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist (2010)

Tuesday, January 20 at Noon (Bring a Brown Bag Lunch)

Andrew Cook’s award-winning, feature film provides a chance to learn more about Will Eisner, author of this year’s FJC Reads selection, A Contract With God. Eisner was an artist, entrepreneur, innovator, and visual storyteller who enjoyed a career that encompassed comic books from their early beginnings in the 1930s to the rise of graphic novels in recent years. During his sixty-year-plus career, Eisner introduced the now-traditional mode of comic book production; championed mature, sophisticated storytelling (especially through his unforgettable creation "The Spirit" and subsequent books); advocated using comics in education; pioneered the now-popular "graphic novel," and became an inspiration for generations of artists.


 Out-of-the-Box Shabbat: Creating Ceramic Judaica – ALL AGES

Friday, January 23 following a brief Shabbat service and Potluck Dinner

6:00 P.M. (service); 6:30 P.M. Dinner; 7:15 P.M. Creating Judaica

RSVP asap to help us order materials

 Shabbat fun at FJC. Following a brief service, we will gather for a potluck dinner and then set to work creating colorful, ceramic Judaica pieces: Kiddush cups and mezuzot. Come to all or part of the activities, but RSVP for the dinner and/art project, please.


50 Jewish Artists You Should Know And What Defines Their Work as Jewish

Led by Pamela Rothstein

Monday, January 26 at 10:30 A.M.

 Basing our conversation and learning on the book 50 Jewish Artists You Should Know and on the web-based resources of the Jewish Women’s Archive, we will explore the lives and work of select Jewish artists from the nineteenth century to the present. Expand your knowledge and engage in central questions of this winter program: When is art by Jewish artists Jewish? When is it not? A copy of this book can be found in the Righter Library.

 Michelangelo and the Jewish Imagination

Led by Steve Dowden, Professor of German and Comparative Literature, Brandeis University

Based on Dreaming of Michelangelo: Jewish Variations on a Modern Theme (2012), by Asher Biemann

Friday, January 30, 9:30 – 11:00 A.M.

 Join FJC member and Professor Steve Dowden for an introduction to Asher Biemann’s enlightening study of Michelangelo’s influence on German Jewish intellectuals and Jewish imagination. You do NOT need to read the book to participate. Through images of Michelangelo’s work and a review of Biemann’s scholarship, you will explore this fascinating connection between Judaism and art. Biemann explores the intellectual and cultural affinities between modern Judaism and the life and work of Michelangelo, arguing that the phenomenon of Jewish self-recognition in Michelangelo's work offered an alternative to the failed promises of the German enlightenment. Through this unexpected discovery, he rethinks German Jewish history and its connections to Italy, the Mediterranean, and the art of the Renaissance. A copy of this book is available in the Righter Library. You may also acquire your own copy at bookstores or libraries.