More than 35 photographs representing the theme of ‘community’ were displayed at the Yom Ha’atzmaut event on April 29
By ERIN ELLIOTT BRYAN /Â Community News Editor
To conclude the first year of the Jewish Lens program, a community-wide curriculum that encourages participants to connect with their Judaism through photography, six organizations from Minneapolis and St. Paul — Bet Shalom Congregation, Beth Jacob Congregation, the Amos and Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School, St. Paul JCC, Mount Zion Temple and the Talmud Torah of St. Paul — had samples of their work displayed at the Yom Ha’atzmaut event on April 29 in the auditorium at the Sabes JCC.
According to the exhibit program, the Jewish Lens invites participants to focus on their individual communities by taking photographs of their families, neighborhoods and synagogues. The participants then create captions for their work that pair images with traditional Jewish texts and personal commentaries.
Each organization submitted up to seven images and a design team chose the final group of 35 to 37 images to be exhibited. All of the photographs depicted the overall theme of “community,” but they were displayed according to the categories of kehila (community), mishpacha (family), spirit and tradition. Photographers ranged in age from sixth grade to adult.
Hugh Kirsch is the director of EDGE (Enrichment, Development and Growth for Educators), a program of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation. He also directs the Jewish Lens curriculum, a program funded by a grant from the New York-based Covenant Foundation, which is based on the work of photographer Zion Ozeri (11-11-11 AJW).
Kirsch said the curriculum teaches participants how to look at a photograph critically, allowing them to take their own photographs with a critical eye.
“In my opinion, that allows you to match that text or that Jewish value with that photograph and make a very powerful statement,” Kirsch said.
The full exhibit will be displayed at the St. Paul JCC and then brought back to the Sabes JCC in June. Other organizations are planning their own exhibits to highlight the work of their participants.
“My favorite part, from an intellectual point of view, was this ability to combine the artistic world that is a person’s inner vision, which is so personal, with text and values that have been around for a couple of thousand of years,” Kirsch said. “That’s pretty amazing to me.”
(American Jewish World, 5.11.12)