HANAN HARCHOL: JEWISH FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Thursday, August 29, 2013

October 3, 2013 – June 27, 2014

Multi-media visual artist Hanan Harchol mines personal family dynamics to illuminate the relevance of Jewish wisdom in contemporary life.  Conversations between the artist and his parents, depicted in animated videos and powerful, expressionist drawings, animated stills, and tapestries, offer unexpected perspectives on the themes of Envy, Repentance, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Love, and Fear, Humility, and Faith.  Humorous and initially touching family interactions gradually reveal a deeper study of the human condition. 

The starkly drawn images, limited in physical action and set in an unchanging, compressed background setting, reflect the artist’s influence by the early 20th-century German expressionist masters who eschewed naturalism to convey a deeper articulation of emotional and psychological experience.  Distraction is banished by the deliberate absence of color and extraneous detail, focusing the viewer’s attention on the verbal exchanges. Harchol’s choice of the animation medium, as in the work of William Kentridge, provides a riveting, experiential integration of subject, style, and format that conveysthe artist’s ultimate message.

Harchol places Judaism at the center of his art, not by illustrating ancient biblical and Talmudic stories, but by finding Jewish teachings in ancient texts that he then applies to everyday life.  Harchol is at pains to make the conversations non-judgmental. These animations exert an ecumenical outreach and are intellectually and spiritually available to all.  

Harchol’s works offer a uniquely accessible yet rich exploration of centuries of Jewish wisdom, which can be put to practical use and universally appreciated.   Hanan Harchol seeks to help repair the world by sharing insights that can enhance the fulfillment and meaning of our own lives.

Laura Kruger
Curator, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum


Opening Program: October 3, 6:15 pm

RSVP and Photo ID required: hucjirmuseum@huc.edu; 212-824-2298

World premiere of two new animated videos by Hanan Harchol – “Humility” and “Faith”
Panel discussion: Artist Hanan Harchol, Art Historian Matthew Baigell, Jewish Law Scholar Maoz Kahana, Psychologist Tali Kahana, moderated by Rabbi Leon Morris


Jewish Food For Thought: The Animated Series was created with generous funding by The Covenant Foundation, with fiscal sponsorship by The Foundation for Jewish Culture.

This exhibition and catalogue/study accompaniment were produced with the generous support of The Covenant Foundation.

This exhibition is presented by the Irma L. and Abram S. Croll Center for Jewish Learning and Culture, with the support of George, z’l, and Mildred Weissman.


Learn more about the HUC-JIR Museum in New York.

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