The Yom Iyun art exhibit this year is called Texting: From Bondage to Liberation. We recently celebrated Pesach, the holiday when we remember and celebrate our journey from slaves to free men and women. This week, we celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, a holiday marking the establishment of the State of Israel, which allows us to live freely in our own land. Our exhibit takes us, then, from the bondage of the past into the liberation of the present using various forms of text. The first texts we examine are Haggadot, texts we have used to remember our time as slaves in Egypt and our journey to liberation. The AP Art History class at Frisch researched various illuminated Haggadot and have presented you with their findings. The Art History class and Mrs. Wiener have also added their own artistic interpretation of text with a printer they have repurposed into a depiction of the ten plagues. A printer, something we use in contemporary life to create text, seemed like a fitting object to appropriate and use to interpret the part of the text of the Haggadah that marks the time that enabled our release from Egypt and our new life as free people. The Art History class wasn’t the only contributor to the depiction of our liberation. Laura Friedman, a member of the RealSchool Arts team and a curator of the art exhibit, worked all year on a self-directed project about illuminated manuscripts. She created her own illuminated manuscript, just in time for Yom Ha’atzmaut, using the text of Avinu She’bashamayim, the prayer for the welfare of the State of Israel. Her text uses an old art form to celebrate the modern State of Israel and, with its mix of Ashkenazi and Sephardic styles, embodies the freedom we have as Jews to live in Israel and practice our religion in any way we want.

Living in Israel is not without its complexities, of course. Through the art of Kehinde Wiley, Laura and Rebecca Zakheim, another member of the RealSchool Arts team, present us with Ethiopian Israelis, posed by the artist in classical, bold ways even as the quotes the subjects say show us that racism affects their ability to stand as proudly as they should be able to. The backgrounds of the paintings are reminiscent of illuminated manuscripts, tying together our two parts of the exhibit. The RealSchool Fashion team, using textiles, also depicts our passage from slavery to liberation. Melissa Maza dressed five mannequins with outfits that take us from the bondage of the Shoah to the freedom to fight and live in our land of milk and honey. On the TV is a dance performance brought to life by Sharon Lockhart but choreographed by the Israeli artist-mathematician Noa Eshkol. Perhaps more so than any other art form, dance is a medium that is a celebration of freedom, the body’s freedom to move as it wants. In addition, as Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says in A Letter in the Scroll, every Jewish person is a walking Sefer Torah, a living letter in the scroll, so the performance seems an apt way to provide yet another view of liberation and text. Finally, we offer you, our participants, a way to join in the celebration of freedom and the interpretation of text by allowing you to freely choose a text you learned about today and illuminate it in any way you want. Please enjoy our interactive, multi-media art exhibit and happy Yom Ha’atzmaut!

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