The installation of Nachamu, Nachamu: "The Heavens Spread Out Like A Prayer Shawl" and an exhibit of additional works by artist Victor Raphael opens in Los Angeles

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Through the generosity of Nancy Berman and Alan Bloch, The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, and an anonymous donor, Dr. Lewis M. Barth and eleven students in his fall 2005 Midrash course were given the opportunity to work with contemporary artist Victor Raphael on an innovative collaboration. Students, teacher, and artist all participated in an "Artist Beit Midrash," where the challenge for the class was to transmit Jewish text and ideas emanating from the course's content to the artist. The challenge for the artist was to create an artwork responsive to the material and the students' desire for an enhanced learning environment. 

Raphael conceived of a sanctuary for learning that is both comforting to the soul and stimulating to the imagination. He created three luminous art works for three walls of the room and embellished both sides of the entry door with designs of precious copper and metal leaf. Consultation on commissioning public artwork was provided by Dean Ruth Weisberg of the USC Gayle Garner Roski School of Fine Arts. Additional material for the embellishment of the door was provided by The Alpert Group, LLC.


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 men and women for service to 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, 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