I will be participating in the Salon ha Cubia exhibit opening October 28, 2017, at 8 pm in Nayot in Jerusalem, as part of the city-wide Manofim project. Closing January 25, 2018. Hope to see you there. Invitation

Pleased to be participating in the exhibition HOME(less) at HUC-JIR Museum NY. Running through the end of June 2018. For details see post

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Gallery Talk at Kol HaOt Invitation

Invitation to Kol HaOt Gallery Talk

Hope to see you at my  upcoming Gallery Talk. I will be discussing new work created during my month as Artist-in-Residence at Kol HaOt. Please note the time is 8 pm and not as previously posted. 

A separation from my Nachlaot studio in Jerusalem a mere 20 minutes away, using the beautiful  space  at the Kol HaOt gallery made it possible for me to switch mental gears and create works that had been percolating for a long time. The great northern-facing picture window and large walls also helped me see the works together as one led to the other. 

I granted myself the mental space alongside the physical space to explore personal topics of loss and commemoration. Interacting with the public and taking advantage of the opportunity to learn in hevruta (studying Jewish text in a pair) with Director Alyssa Moss-Rabinowitz all combined for a particularly fruitful time. 

Looking forward to sharing my process and new paintings and drawings with you.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Invitation to Salon ha Cubia

I am pleased to be participating in the second biannual Salon ha Cubia. There will be 80 artists exhibiting from all over Israel showing paintings hung in the cheek by jowl Academy style. The works are not identified with labels, so less experienced and senior artists are hung together in a range of styles and subject matter.

Opening on Saturday night October 28, 2017 at 8 pm as part of the Manofim project, which opens the art season for 2017-18. Continuing through January 25, 2018.
Looking forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A 102 Years Young: Tova Berlinski at Artspace Gallery

Tova Berlinski, courtesy of Artspace Gallery

Jerusalem's art scene at Sukkot is running on steroids; there is so much going on at the same time. The Jerusalem Biennale is gearing up with rolling openings almost daily, the Manofim Festival is ready to take off. Every artist group and gallery has a special event during this festival when so many Israelis take off for vacation abroad just as so many visitors fill up the hotels and the otherwise vacant pied-à-terre apartments city-wide.

In this context, I've invited accomplished painter/artist Anne Sassoon to offer her viewpoint on Tova Berlinski, one of the generation who straddled the Second World War and Israel's founding and was in the circle of post-Independence Israeli artists. A rare woman in Israel's early art scene to have gained recognition, she was a teacher of  generations, a winner of the Jerusalem Prize, awarded the Ish Shalom Prize for lifetime achievement, her work has spanned decades and a world of changes in Jerusalem.

A tribute exhibit in honor of Berlinski's 102-nd birthday starts on Friday, October 13 at Linda Zisquit's Artspace Gallery in Jerusalem, a not-to-be-missed opportunity to know the work of this special artist. On a personal note, in my early years in Israel, her solo exhibit of black flowers at the Israel Museum left an indelible impression on me.

The gallery itself has recently been renewed and for fans of this special space it will be interesting to see the changes.

Tova Berlinski, courtesy of Artspace Gallery
From guest blogger Anne Sasoon:

It is deeply moving to walk into the exhibition of Tova Berlinski, Jerusalem’s iconic 102 year-old artist, at Artspace Gallery, and see how her vision and style developed during a wonderfully long lifetime of painting. This mini-retrospective shows that light and movement have always been Berlinski’s real subject, starting with the colorful abstractions of the 1960s, and leading through works which carry emotional content – like ‘Leaving Yamit’, portraits of her family (all, except for one sister, died in Auschwitz), and the two empty chairs painted after the loss of her husband.

But it is in the much later Black Flower paintings - some of them so dark that at first you can hardly make them out - that the importance of light and movement for Berlinski really shows itself.  In these works she hones in on plants as if putting them under a magnifying glass to explore the way they grow; and the light that glimmers around the edges of the writhing leaves, or glows in the quieter background areas, reveals the image like the light in an x-ray. These dark paintings have minimal colour but they are not as simply black and grey as they first appear, and the subtle browns and blues seem even richer for their rareness, a good example of how less can be more.

Berlinski’s paintings have a youthful quality that she has never lost – a fresh, open outlook and lack of artifice. Her delight in making these works is visible, and communicates itself to the viewer. You can see it in the light brushstrokes that seem to search out the forms that she creates: a handwriting of small gestures that can build up something huge. And because of the bare canvas left between the separate brushstrokes, these big forms – whether a row of cypress trees, a landscape, or the larger than life-size figure of a man – are never heavy, but seem to be made up of air and light.  This is not to minimize the strength and forcefulness of Berlinski, who can turn even the close-up of a pansy into a monumental presence.

A good selection of Berlinski’s best work is to be seen in this show. It’s the first exhibition to be shown in Linda Zisquit’s refurbished gallery, an acknowledgment of a long friendship and mutual respect. The artist will be present at the opening on Friday between 12 and 1pm. 
- Anne Sassoon
Tova Berlinski, courtesy of Artspace Gallery

Friday October 1310-2pm
Saturday October 148-10pm
Sunday October 155-10pm

Gallery: +972-2-5662423
5 Hazefira, Jerusalem

Friday, September 29, 2017

Graffiti Your Yom Kippur

"God is Watching" © 2017 Heddy Abramowitz

Jerusalem walls don't leave you alone. They are in your face, much like this city.

It is a self-selecting communication.

There is a passive conversation between strangers, the graffiti writers and artists and the random observers out in public, some paying attention, some just oblivious. Like religious belief itself.

For those tuned in they are purported to be on the same wavelength, for others, the reception on the weaker ends of the range is spotty, breaking up at times. For others, they are tuned into a different station or even staying off the radio or internet. Not present.

This message written on the fence surrounding yet another new building site in the Rehavia neighborhood of Jerusalem lets us know that even when we feel ourselves in control of the dial, the mouse, or the remote (shlatter in our familyspeak), we are a secondary actor, and there is something bigger than ourselves, whether in our acknowledgement or not.

With this in mind, Yom Kippur, Judaism's holiest day of the calendar year, comes in a few hours here in Jerusalem. It is referred to as the Shabbat of Shabbatot - the greatest of all the sabbath days. This is believed to be the Judgement Day when God determines and finalizes the fates of us all for the coming year.

Those who observe spend the day fasting, in prayer and in self-reflection. Others enjoy the carless streets and the pleasure of bike-riding, skate-boarding and hoverboarding on the only carless day of the year.

Why carless in a largely secular country? Because even the secular refrain from driving on such a holy day. This in itself is an act of identity. Even if your relationship to this day is national Bike Day somewhere in that tag is the understanding that it is a special day and set apart.

As part of prayer, Jews focus on repentance and giving charity as ways to redeem a harsh judgement as God seals our individual fates.

It is common to find charity boxes built into the walls of older Jerusalem neighborhoods - your pocket change can find many opportunities to help out the needy as you do your daily errands.

"Charity Saves from Death" © 2017 Heddy Abramowitz

And in case you miss the point, many boxes spell the deal right out: Charity Saves from Death, Charity is a Deposit Against Death. Others use a more upbeat message: For Blessings, Luck, Health and  similar positive encouragement.

Another custom is Kapara (Redemption) to symbolically give a life for a life - buying a chicken with a charitable donation and using it to make the pre-fast meal or donating to a poor family's meal. More commonly people use money as an alternative to "buy" their soul's redemption with the intent to use it for charity. The pre-holiday markets with chickens giving their all to redeem a person's soul are rapidly disappearing in the more animal rights-conscious world we live in.

"Kapara Chickens" © 2017 Heddy Abramowitz

"Redeeming a Soul" © 2017 Heddy Abramowitz

For those who wear a uniform and serve in the Israeli army, this symbolic redemption carries more immediacy.

"Soldier's Redemption" © 2017 Heddy Abramowitz
With hope that the introspection which comes with this day will bring a good result to all.

Monday, September 4, 2017

HUC-JIR Museum NY invitation

I am very pleased to invite you to the opening of HOME(less) at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum  in New York.

Please note that registration is requested for the opening: here.

You can have a sneak preview of my work on the exhibition page here, but with 70 varied artists from all over, it will surely be an interesting show and worth visiting. Opening this week September 7 at 1 West Fourth Street, 5:30-7:30 p.m. and closing late June, 2018.

To my regret I won't be at the the opening, but would love to hear from anyone who gets there.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Jerusalem: City of Miracles of All Sizes

Neighborhood playground (Ir Ganim- Kiryat Menachem facebook page)

Not a dry eye in the hall. Bet you’ve heard that phrase before, but how often do you really see a room full of guests sniveling collectively to keep composure at a seemingly routine family event?

Eleven years of waiting, hoping, praying for a child came to an apex at a recent brit milah in an obscure Jerusalem neighborhood synagogue.
Ir Ganim-Kiryat Menachem is best known for the culture clash between the old-timers and the newcomers. The older residents are comprised of Jewish families from Arab countries which had been forced out after centuries of living in thriving communities. In Israel’s infancy they were settled in quickly-constructed shikun (cheap public housing) buildings in the 50’s and 60’s and have since been joined by Russian immigrants who came in the big waves of aliya from the former Soviet Union. They have carefully guarded their secular lifestyles. Add into the mix immigrant families from Ethiopia with their own culture and traditions. The new faces on the blocks are the young, sincerely observant families lacking the means to choose more established religious neighborhoods. Together this makes for a tasty Salat Yisraeli with a touch of pilpel harif (hot pepper).

Both mother and father came from strongly devoted Jewish families. They married young, the click between them was fast and strong and, as their beliefs and education would presume, they expected to raise a family, much like their own large, warm, loving families.
But it just didn’t happen for them. Year after year went by, they watched as siblings gave birth to baby after blessed baby. Cousins, friends, colleagues delivered newborns one after the other, endless family gatherings centered on strollers, toys, discussions of maternity departments, then kindergartens, then schools, and they remained on the sidelines as it seemed everyone else was living their own dream but they themselves.
It is assumed that married religious couples are trying to conceive, and part of the cultural norm in religious circles is not to ask about such intimate private matters. In some circles one does not even comment on heavily pregnant bellies, to avoid any reference which may be immodest.  It is also assumed that the couple is seeking medical help to help achieve fertility, but beyond the technical treatments to conceive, what is not obvious to the outsider is the anguish they are going through as individuals, as a couple, as adult children in their respective families, and as part of their wider communities.
They felt ever more isolated, while each family event became a painful reminder and seemed to shine a spotlight on their disappointment, causing those who most loved them to be at a loss for how to help them cope. . . 

Relief came through a careful reading one Shabbat of a sheet that gets distributed in synagogues. The ad brought them to seek out Adva,  an organization started three years ago by a couple who had experienced long infertility and eventually succeeded in conceiving. Sara and Doron Befler have since devoted themselves to helping others through the difficult emotionally and physically taxing process of starting a family when the conventional ways fail.

The father credits the Beflers, saying, “They were our light in the dark. We met with other people going through the same process and discovered that we were not alone, we found people that we could share our experiences with. Other people from the neighborhood were scared to make contact with us because they did not how to handle us.”
Improving the social network for the couples is just one way Adva helps. Despite having limited resources, they are reaching out and developing projects to meet the needs of these couples.
Religious communities are accustomed to helping each other when a mother brings home a newborn.
Unlike when bringing home a baby that most realize is a stressful time, the struggles of the infertile are often privately carried and unknown to others. These couples need to expose their needs and the gaps can be closed – but only by letting people into their private pain. When exhaustion and hormones make cooking for Shabbat (or any other time) seem insurmountable, Adva finds volunteers to bring meals. They involve the parents and families in getting to know the ways that unintentional hurts can be rectified, in both directions.
Joining the Cousins Club, 11-year wait for baby on the far left. (Photo: Heddy Abramowitz)
So one bright and beautiful spring morning we gathered to share in a piece of the miracle we witnessed. And how we gathered! So many well-wishers came to welcome this long-awaited first-born son to the world, to his place in the Jerusalem sun.
A framed picture of the father’s family displayed the portraits of the now 8 generations of Jewish men that stretched back before this 8-day-old infant’s arrival, to his father, grandfather, and recently- deceased great-grandfather and so on, many in the rabbinical garb of their times as an indication of their piety.
Of the 8 Jewish men in the frame only the infant was born in Israel, the first Yerushalmi after generations of men who fervently prayed ‘Next Year in Jerusalem’ as had just been repeated at the Passover seder the week of his birth.
And when the proud dad completed his first words of Torah given as a father, he turned to his wife, still uncomfortable from the C-section delivery, and said “This is the song I sang to you at our chuppah (wedding ceremony) eleven years ago and I will sing it for you again now.” The somewhat less-young chatan  (groom) sang out Chapter 128 of psalms  a capella, including the poignant words:
Your wife will be as a fruitful vine in the innermost parts of your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. 

(see clip here for a rendition of this from a different wedding).

Even the most stoic faces in the room were wet with fresh tears.
And so it was to be. This year in Jerusalem.
This was first published on Times of Israel here and

and was re-published on Rachel Sharansky Danziger's collection Jerusalem Moments.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Jerusalem Exhibition Invitation

Very pleased to be participating in this exhibition opening tomorrow. Please do come.