Torah Study, Feminism and Spiritual Quest in the Work of Five American Jewish Women Artists
- Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues
- Indiana University Press
- Number 14, Fall 5768/2007
- pp. 97-130
- Additional Information
While most contemporary American Jewish women artists (of the "second wave") have expressed their Jewish identity in art by engaging with historical and social issues (anti-semitism, the Holocaust, assimilation, immigration, ethnicity, etc.) this article focuses on the works of two groups of Jewish women artists who have an advanced knowledge of Torah and Hebrew, and whose works engage profoundly with Jewish texts. Helene Aylon, Bruria Finkel and Gilah Yelin Hirsch have been immersed in Jewish studies since childhood whereas Ruth Weisberg and Cheselyn Amato pursued their learning somewhat later in life, as Jewish teachings became more available to women. All of these artists are feminist creators and activists and have been participating in various aspects of the feminist movement and the women's art movement in the U.S. This article explores the differences in their expressions of Jewish identity, and, primarily, the ways in which the teachings of Torah and knowledge of Hebrew (including the study of Kabbalah) have produced innovative Jewish insights in the work of feminist artists who are steeped in the Jewish canon.