HEBREW UNION COLLEGE - JEWISH
INSTITUTE OF RELIGION
The Academic, Spiritual and Professional Development Center for Reform Judaism
Original Miriam's Cups Created by Women Artists
on display at the New York Learning Center, March 16-April 30
A Miriam's Cup is a new ritual object developed over the past 10 years by Jewish women who wanted a new way to honor and connect to the spirituality of Jewish women of the past. A Miriam's Cup is a functional piece of Judaica to be placed on the seder table symbolizing the importance of the biblical figure Miriam. This exhibition grew from the realization that as feminist ritual becomes integrated into Jewish life, it manifests the same kind of beauty and meaning that marks traditional ritual. Artists thus become as integral to the process of developing lasting Jewish feminist ritual as are liturgists and rabbis.
Because the guidelines were few and no preconceived ideas existed for how a Miriam's Cup should look or be used, artistic imagination soared. Many of the participants had never before expressed their identities as Jewish women through their art and were excited to discover Miriam, the biblical prophet and diviner of water for the Israelites as they wandered through the desert. Artists who had never created Judaica became involved in a project that led them to study traditional Jewish sources and to explore their own spiritual connections to Jewish feminist innovation. The result is cups of incredible diversity of style, materials, and interpretations. Artists often explored unfamiliar techniques and new mediums. The cups are fabricated from fiber, paper, leather, pomegranate, gourd, jewelry, sand, bobby pins, seashells, stone, bones, wire, beads, buttons, and feathers, as well as clay, metal, glass, and wood. They take the form of fountains, wells, amphorae, baskets, and bowls. Each is unique; their shapes, textures, colors, and words reflect the wide spectrum of women's stories and artistic vision.
Gallery hours and information:
A moderated discussion and tour of the exhibition, with Bernice Steinbaum, owner of the Steinbaum Krauss Gallery, and several of the foremost artists of the exhibition will take place on Wednesday, April 16, at 6:15 pm.
For additional information, including slides and/or photos of the pieces in the exhibition, call Ruth Silverman at (212) 580-0099.
Ma'yan: The Jewish Women's Project is a program of The Jewish Community Center on the Upper West Side. Grounded in a love for Jewish tradition and a commitment to an inclusive feminist vision, Ma'yan offers programs of study, ritual and celebration, research, advocacy, community building, and tzedakah (charity).