A photographic exhibition from the book Jewish Mothers: Strength, Wisdom, Compassion on view at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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A photographic exhibition from the book Jewish Mothers: Strength, Wisdom, Compassion on view at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

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Thursday, March 1, 2001

April 2-June 29, 2001
Artist's Reception: Thursday, May 3, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Dr. Rachel Birtha Eitches

A comedian, a rabbi, a Holocaust survivor, a Yiddish stage star, a mother of triplets, a judge, a filmmaker, a U.S. Congresswoman....What do they have in common?

All are Jewish mothers celebrated in the exhibitionJewish Mothers: Strength, Wisdom, Compassion. Photographer Lloyd Wolf and interviewer Paula E. Wolfson present the diversity of contemporary American Jewish mothers in this exhibition of black and white photographs and personal stories. On view at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (One West 4th Street, between Broadway and Mercer Street) from April 2 through June 29, the exhibition, and the book with the same title, highlight the accomplishments, religious traditions, family heritage, values, challenges, and triumphs of Jewish mothers.

Each woman was asked to share her life experiences and her memories of her own mother, as well as her relationship with her children and the personal meaning she finds in being Jewish. Women in their 20's to those more than 100-years-old told their stories to illuminate what is unique about being a Jewish mother today. Wolf and Wolfson aimed to represent the multiplicity of Jewish mothers today, who are portrayed as "successful, capable, caring, and wise."

Congresswoman Nita Lowey

"...filled with arresting black-and-white photographs and personal accounts from fascinating women... Jewish Mothers is a celebration of the power of women, of motherhood, and most of all, the human spirit." 
The Washington Post

"Jewish Mothers get the last word... With candor, they speak about the meaning of family, their connection to Judaism, the challenges of raising children, careers, community, dreams, their own mothers, and grandmothers... Wolf's photographs are... intimate soulful portraits." 
New York Jewish Week

Laura Kruger, Curator of the Museum at HUC-JIR, noted: "Guidance, grace, and compassion defines Jewish motherhood and is at the core of Jewish continuity. The diverse professional life choices of the women depicted in the exhibition Jewish Mothers are connected by irrefutable love, pride, and warm affection. The photographer has captured the very moment in which these values are transmitted from generation to generation."

Lloyd Wolf is an award-winning photographer whose work is in major public and private collections (The Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the B'nai B'rith Klutznick Museum, and the National Museum of Fine Arts in Hanoi, Vietnam), and has appeared in The Washington Post Magazine, Jewish Monthly, The Forward, Elle, People, Vogue, and many other publications. He received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1980. His documentary projects include a prison drug-rehab clinic, the Moroccan Jewish community, the March of the Living, Operation Understanding (on Black-Jewish relations), and "Grandma's House" (about a program that cares for HIV-positive babies). He collaborated with Paula Wolfson on the book Jewish Mothers: Strength, Wisdom, Compassion(published by Chronicle in 2000). His first book, Facing the Wall. Americans at the Vietnam Memorial (in collaboration with Duncan Spenser) was published by Macmillan in 1986.

Paula Ethel Wolfson, author of the book Jewish Mothers: Strength, Wisdom, Compassion, is a licensed clinical social worker and former staff photographer for the Washington Jewish Week. She has written for Jewish Monthly and The Forward.


For interviews: Call the museum at 212-824-2205 or the authors at 703-998-5328. 
Museum Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.; 
Selected Sundays (April 22; May 6, 20; June 3, 10), 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Artist's Reception: Thursday, May 3, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Information/group tours: 212-824-2205
Admission: Free


This exhibition is part of the Celebration of Jewish Women's Studies at
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Other events include:

The Inaugural Blanche and Irving Laurie Lecture in Jewish Women's Studies
"Poetry as Prayer" with Dr. Marcia Falk
Monday, April 23 at 7:00 p.m.
Lecture and dramatic reading in which the poetic process revisions Jewish liturgy from a gender-inclusive, non-hierarchical perspective. 
Dr. Falk is the Rabbi Sally J. Priesand Visiting Professor of Jewish Women's Studies at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati.
This lecture has been made possible by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.

A Celebration of Jewish Daughters
"Welcoming Jewish Daughters into the Covenant" with Debra Nussbaum Cohen
Thursday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m.
An exploration of the history, traditions, and new rituals for the Simchat Bat : celebration of a Jewish daughter.
Debra Nussbaum Cohen is the author of Celebrating Your New Jewish Daughter (Jewish Lights) and writes for the New York Jewish Week.

Rosh Hodesh Celebration
"Lunar Performances: Creating an Architecture of Text in Time" with Barbara Rose Haum
Thursday, June 21 at 7:00 p.m.
An interactive performance with audience participation, in which text, ritual, time, movement, and space celebrate the new moon and the arrival of the Jewish month of Tammuz.
Barbara Rose Haum's work is on view at Ma'yan and in "Living in the Moment: Contemporary Artists Celebrate Jewish Time" at HUC-JIR.


Admission to these events is free.



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