Drawing from the Source: Original Miriam's Cups - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Drawing from the Source: Original Miriam's Cups

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Monday, March 3, 1997


                                                      Original Miriam's Cups Created by Women Artists 
                                              on display at the New York Learning Center, March 16-April 30

When Ma'yan: The Jewish Women's Project of The Jewish Community Center on the Upper West Side invited Jewish women artists from all over the world to create original Miriam's Cups, they never expected the response that followed. Eighty artists will be participating in Drawing from the Source: Miriam, Women's Creativity and New Ritual, an exhibition and sale of Miriam's Cups at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, One West 4th Street, from March 16-April 30, 1997.

A Miriam's Cup is a new ritual object developed over the past 10 years by Jewish women who wanted a new way to honor and connect to the spirituality of Jewish women of the past. A Miriam's Cup is a functional piece of Judaica to be placed on the seder table symbolizing the importance of the biblical figure Miriam. This exhibition grew from the realization that as feminist ritual becomes integrated into Jewish life, it manifests the same kind of beauty and meaning that marks traditional ritual. Artists thus become as integral to the process of developing lasting Jewish feminist ritual as are liturgists and rabbis.

Because the guidelines were few and no preconceived ideas existed for how a Miriam's Cup should look or be used, artistic imagination soared. Many of the participants had never before expressed their identities as Jewish women through their art and were excited to discover Miriam, the biblical prophet and diviner of water for the Israelites as they wandered through the desert. Artists who had never created Judaica became involved in a project that led them to study traditional Jewish sources and to explore their own spiritual connections to Jewish feminist innovation. The result is cups of incredible diversity of style, materials, and interpretations. Artists often explored unfamiliar techniques and new mediums. The cups are fabricated from fiber, paper, leather, pomegranate, gourd, jewelry, sand, bobby pins, seashells, stone, bones, wire, beads, buttons, and feathers, as well as clay, metal, glass, and wood. They take the form of fountains, wells, amphorae, baskets, and bowls. Each is unique; their shapes, textures, colors, and words reflect the wide spectrum of women's stories and artistic vision.

Gallery hours and information:

Monday through Thursday, 9 am - 6 pm, andSundays March 16, April 6, 13, and 27 from 1 - 5 pm. 
Admission is free. 
Opening reception:
Sunday, March 16 from 5-7 pm. 
The exhibition catalogue is $15.

A moderated discussion and tour of the exhibition, with Bernice Steinbaum, owner of the Steinbaum Krauss Gallery, and several of the foremost artists of the exhibition will take place on Wednesday, April 16, at 6:15 pm.

For additional information, including slides and/or photos of the pieces in the exhibition, call Ruth Silverman at (212) 580-0099.


Ma'yan: The Jewish Women's Project is a program of The Jewish Community Center on the Upper West Side. Grounded in a love for Jewish tradition and a commitment to an inclusive feminist vision, Ma'yan offers programs of study, ritual and celebration, research, advocacy, community building, and tzedakah (charity).

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu