Scripture as Sculpture: The Sculptures of Moshe Zabari - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Scripture as Sculpture: The Sculptures of Moshe Zabari

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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

HUC-JIR Museum
One West 4th Street
New York, New York

  • On View: September 4, 2007 - January 27, 2008
  • Artist's Reception: Tuesday, September 4, 2007, 5:30-7:30 PM 

Israeli artist Moshe Zabari's 2003-2004 series "Scripture as Sculpture" is on display at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion Museum this fall. Zabari's series in marble is inspired by the Torah - the Five Books of Moses, the "foundation stone" of Jewish culture. Zabari carved the five sculptures in Torano Carrara, Italy, and each one depicts a book of the Torah. 

"Genesis" represents the moment when the divine light fused with unformed matter to begin the creation of the world, and is the theological understanding of the origin of the process of creation. "Exodus" shows an outstretched arm and fist, representing slavery and deliverance. "Leviticus," which, in the Torah, primarily addresses priests, depicts an altar. "Numbers" shows clouds and fire, inspired by the 40 years the Hebrews spent wandering in the desert. Finally, "Deuteronomy" has the passage Ha'azinu, recited by Moses who called for the heavens and the earth to act as eternal witnesses to God's words, carved in a cylindrical shape, resembling a Torah scroll. 

Zabari says that throughout his career, he has "made numerous ornaments for the Torah, beautifying and enhancing its outer appearance." However, "by carving and chiseling away the external parts of the marble, I tried to reach the internal words and meaning of the Torah." 

The HUC-JIR Museum exhibit also features several of Zabari's silver Judaica pieces, inspired by women of the Bible, as well as sculptures in mixed media (metals, stone, and wood), based on the Book of Revelations. 

Zabari was born in Israel in 1935 and graduated from the Bezalel School of Arts in Jerusalem. He worked at the Jewish Museum in New York as the Tobe Pascher Workshop artist-in-residence. He currently lives and works in Jerusalem.

  • Exhibition Catalog: Foreword by Rabbi David Ellenson, Essays by Rabbi Norman J. Cohen, and Laura Kruger, 20 pages; 11 illustrations.
  • Museum Hours:
    - Monday-Thursday, 9 PM - 5 PM; Friday, 9 AM - 3 PM
    - Selected Sundays, 10 PM - 2 PM on September 30; October 14, 28; November 11; December 2, 16; January 13, 27
  • Admission: Free. Photo ID Required.
  • Tours/Information: Contact Elizabeth Mueller at (212) 824-2205 or

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.