On View: February 5 – March 8, 2020 at the Dr. Bernard Heller Museum at HUC-JIR/New York
The Regendered Bible or Toratah is an initiative to rewrite the Bible by reversing the genders of all characters. This technical adaptation unsettles habitual thinking of our ancient stories. Toratah enables Divine influence to pass down a female lineage and codifies women’s experience in sacred terms. New matriarchs in central positions come to life, as well as patriarchs who care for their daughters. When both narratives come together, they create a vision for a Torah that is a complete "spiritual body." The joining of both narratives opens possibilities for gender-fluid readings.
For the past three years, artist Yael Kanarek has been rewriting the Torah in Hebrew and English to reveal the feminine divine as a central line in our core narrative. This need emerged after a decade of Kabbalah study and practice, and in response to the astonishing void of women-centered sacred texts. First drafts of Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus have been completed, as well as Megilat Moredecai. She is currently working on BaMidbar (Numbers) with an objective to complete Toratah this year. Additionally, she has been creating Visual Midrashim prints, exploring forms of commentary to illuminate the narratives.
The project has been presented and read at various Jewish spaces: The 14streetY, FTJC, LimmudFest Atlanta and Boston, and in private group readings. She’s currently an artist-in-residence at Romemu Center to further develop the project. During the Jewish Emergent Network (JEN) gathering, in collaboration with Lab/Shul and Romemu, she chanted the first Aliyah for Toratah. The second Aliyah was at Romemu in collaboration with the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute.
Yael Kanarek is a visual artist and jewelry designer whose practice focuses on the relationship between language and form. She works in various media such as internet art, large-scale sculpture, and fine jewelry. Kanarek was born in New York City and raised in Israel. She returned in the early 90s to study and practice art, and became known for her Internet art trilogy, "World of Awe." She exhibited her work at the Jewish Museum, Whitney Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and more. She’s a recipient of fellowships with the Rockefeller New Media grant, Eyebeam, and LABA - The Laboratory for Jewish Culture, where she designed the Hebrew font Gufanit for her fine jewelry collection. In 2018, she installed a large-scale sculpture commissioned by the U.S. Department of State at the new embassy in Zimbabwe.
Instagram & Facebook: @yaelkanarek