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The Sexuality Spectrum

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum, New York

Published in conjunction with the exhibition
The Sexuality Spectrum
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum, New York
September 6, 2012 – June 28, 2013

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum, New York
Jean Bloch Rosensaft, Director
Laura Kruger, Curator
Phyllis Freedman, Nancy Mantell, Curatorial Associates
Tomas Aviles, Lisa Benezra, Miriam Cantor-Stone, Nicole Hirschenboim,
Jessica Singh, Shoshana Torn, Caitlyn Wright, Curatorial Interns
huc.edu/museums/ny

Special thanks to Susan Orr, Curator at Morris County Historical
Society, Acorn Hall; Paul Bridgewater; Wayne Snellen, Director of
Collections at Leslie, Lohman Gay Art Foundation; Nelson Santos,
Associate Director of Visual AIDS

This exhibition is presented by the Irma L. and Abram S. Croll
Center for Jewish Learning and Culture at Hebrew Union College-
Jewish Institute of Religion, with the generous support of
George, z”l , and Mildred Weissman.

©2012H ebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without
the prior permission of the publishers.

ISBN: 1-884300-24-3

Printed in the United States of America in 2012 by
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Brookdale Center, One West Fourth Street, New York, NY 10012-1186

Front Cover:
Albert J. Winn, Akedah, 1995
Silver gelatin print; 18" x 22"

Back Cover:
David Wander, Come My Beloved, 2010
Acrylic, ink, paper; 25" x 15"

 

The Sexuality Spectrum

Inclusion and Justice
Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

The Sexuality Spectrum
Laura Kruger, Curator, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum, New York

Created in God’s Image
Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, D.Min., Director, Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling, HUC-JIR/New York

Comfort the Afflicted, and Afflict the Comfortable
Joel L. Kushner, Psy.D., Director, The Institute for Judaism, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity,
HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles

Re-interpreting the Bible
Rabbi Rachel Adler, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish Religious Thought and Feminist Studies, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

Seventy Times Seventy Times Seventy Stories
Nicole Lyn DeBlosi ‘13, Ph.D., Rabbinical Student, HUC-JIR/New York

From Tolerance to Acceptance
Jonathan Krasner, Ph.D., Associate Professor of the American Jewish Experience, HUC-JIR/New York

The Reform Movement: A Model For Inclusion
Jay H. Geller, Chairman, Communications Committee, HUC-JIR Board of Governors

 

Inclusion and Justice

Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Throughout his writings, the great German Jewish neo-Kantian philosopher Hermann Cohen observed that true aesthetics always “subsumes art indirectly but decisively to ethics.” Cohen believed that art at its highest represents ahuman attempt of ethical aspiration – to construct and represent the world as it ought to be.

Many artists would undoubtedly dispute the linkage Cohen draws between art and ethics. However, as one reads the pages of this catalog, there is no doubt that The Sexuality Spectrum at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum, and the artists whose works are includedin this exhibition, surely would not. Their works – disturbing, profound, enlightening, provocative, and beautiful – self-consciously point to and capture the connection between aesthetics and morality that Cohen defines as the essence of great art.

Diverse and changing orientations and attitudes towards sexuality, the family, violence, and illness are represented through the diverse works and themes of the contemporary artists in this exhibition. However, the common thread that unites all these works is a principled intent on the part ofall these artists to employ art as a tool to create a messianicworld of justice for all regardless of sexual orientation, familystatus, gender, or age. Indeed, it is this self-evident ethicalaspiration that marks this exhibition as so powerful, inspi-rational, and unique.

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is most proud to host The Sexuality Spectrum in our Museum. This exhibition is fully consonant with our efforts and those ofour Reform Movement to secure the basic human rights that are the legitimate birthright of every individual – gay or straight, male or female, child or adult. It is a great privilege for these works to appear in our galleries. I hope that those who attend this exhibition as wellas those who read the pages of thiscatalog will be similarly moved tostrive for the messianic dream ofinclusion and justice that animates these artists as well as our Jewish tradition.

 

The Sexuality Spectrum

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

During the spring of 2011, the New York State legislature was engaged in the passage of the Marriage Equality Act. The press and public dialogue were fraught with anger, angst, and vilification against passage as well as passionate supplications in favor of the change. Legal recognition of same-sex relationships already existed in eleven sovereign nations and civil unions and registered partnerships were recognized in an additional twenty-one international countries. Fourteen American state jurisdictions had previously enactedlegislation making same sex marriages legal. Why were somany journalists, television networks, popular pulpits, celebrity spokespersons, and political leaders goading thepublic and legislators to nullify and protest this humane and long overdue legal action?

The tenor of the rhetoric became increasingly inflamed, echoing the worst fears of persecution and discrimination.Having previously born witness to hatred and depredations in the name of intolerance of religion, race, nationality, gender, age, and class, a surge of spirited individuals representing diverse fields, professions, and talents stood forth and gave positive support to the valiant fighters for justice and comprehension. Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is itself a leader in the field of sexual understandingwith the initiative of our Jeff Herman Resource Center,Institute for Judaism, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity, and Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health on our Los Angeles campus; our Blaustein Centers for Pastoral Counseling in New York and Jerusalem; and our Clinical Pastoral Education Program in Cincinnati. The HUC-JIR Museum realized that it too could play a role in making a positive change in public understanding and compassionate support. The Sexuality Spectrum uses the language of fineart to present, celebrate, and mourn individuals whose liveswere and are jeopardized by discrimination and prejudice.

Fear of the “other” has been a root cause of wars, persecutions,slavery, and eradication. In defining sexuality as one of the oppressed categories it is necessary to use the correct definitions. All people have sexuality. The rainbow nuances ofsexuality are often referred to as LGBTQI: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex. Add to that Heterosexual, Pansexual, and re-named variants. Gay is the preferred word for men attracted to men, no longer considered a slur. Queer, once a derogative term that referred to all peo-ple who did not behave along heterosexual lines, is now the accepted umbrella term used to refer to all LGBTQI people.

The HUC-JIR Museum staff held numerous focus groups of artists – both queer and straight – asking them to share their intimate feelings concerning their lives in the community, including their faith-based experiences. We frequently heard incidents of marginalization, isolation, and exclusion.They shared their long years of concealment as well as the wrenching experience of “coming out;”their relationships with family members, employers, and friends that disintegrated; and the search for life-long partners.Through this process we drew up a list of prevailing injustices and subtleemotional adjustments.

The first creative artwork that came to mind was theriveting, emblematic painting, Pansy Crucifixion (1988) by Judy Chicago. A portion of the much larger work, The Holocaust Project, it is a brutal reminder of the persecution, enslavement,and murder of thousands of homosexuals during the Nazi era. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum came forth with a long lost print of a drawing by a camp inmate, Richard Grune, who was persecuted because of his sexual orientation.

Addressing issues of “hiding in full sight,” we selected works that alluded to masks, to mirrors, to eyes looking out from concealment. The plight of transgender teenagers was most troubling to us. Rejected by their own families and local welfare institutions, literally thousands of young people continue to migrate to New York City from other parts of the country for this city’s more liberal, humanistic social welfare network. Even there they are harassed, attacked, molested, and murdered. The renowned photographer,Joshua Lehrer, in what started as a compassionate outreach effort, created individual portrait Cyanotype prints that very clearly restore to these children their robbed dignity and individuality. Dealing with a similar subject, Joan Roth presents a portrait photograph, Joy/Jay Laden (2012), that of a MTF, a transsexual formerly male, now a female. This vibrant, beautiful woman was formerly the father of three and Gottesman Professor of English at Stern College of Yeshiva University, an academic position that she still holds. Lilith Magazine featured thisphotograph as their cover for a groundbreaking issueon transgender issues.

The troubling quotation from the Bible, Leviticus 18:22,“Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is an abomination,” is referenced and refuted in several works. Helene Aylon highlights the phrase with the use of a magnifying lens, and Susan Kaplow, together with Trix Rosen, created an installation expressing anguish aroused by this text. 

In Israel one finds strongly secular Jews and fervent Orthodox believers in public conflict over the issues of perceived homosexuality. Graphic examples of public protest art are included in theworks of Heddy Abramowitz and Dorit Jordan Dotan. Kobi Israel adds poignant, iconic images of Israeli military personnel as commentary.

Seeking additional pivots of change, we turned to the powerful presence of The New Yorker magazine, namely their magazine covers and stable of cartoonists. Their brave and targeted covers have featured artists whose barbed line drawings capture the winds of change with ironic humor. Cartoonist William Haefeli and graphic novelist Alison Bechdale are included for their sophisticated insights.

Paranoia, irrationality, fear, and brutal actions by police forces around the country fueled a smoldering powder keg of repression, which erupted on June 28, 1969, when a Greenwich Village tavern, the Stonewall Inn, became the riot site between the New York City Police and the LGBTQI community. Unquelled, it erupted onto the neighboring streets and was met with harsh repression by the police. This may have been the turning point to organize individuals of diverse opinions and splinter groups into forceful aggregates for social change. A number of our artists were at Stonewall and bear witness to this uprising in their work.

November 2, 1969 marked the first “pride parade,” which birthed two powerful social activist groups in support of gay civil rights and continues to serve as an annual memorial to the victims of the riot and the AIDS epidemic. Joan Roth, a New York photographer and social activist, has covered these parades for the past two decades.

Early in 1981, reports emerged from California and New York of small numbers of gay men who were diagnosed with a rare form of cancer or pneumonia and shared the symptom of severely damaged immune systems. By 1982, HIV/AIDS cases rapidly spread throughout the U.S. and Europe, numbering more than 100,000 persons and including heterosexual men and women who had used intravenous drugs or had received contaminated blood transfusions. Although the medical profession and scientific community responded to the growing epidemic, it was not until 1987 that a significant pattern of treatment evolved.

In November 1985, a long-time gay rights activist, Cleve Jones of San Francisco, conceived the idea of a memorial quilt after participating in several candlelight memorial parades. Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, victims of assassination, as well as hundreds of friends and family members, were included in the original memorial. By 1990, the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt had spread across the country. The quilt currently numbers over 48,000 panels and was exhibited on the Mall in Washington D.C. in July 2012. We are honored to be exhibiting two panels of the quilt, created by John Hirsch, which link the Memorial effort to the continued support of Judaism’s Reform Movement.

In closing, I would like to mention two works that highlight other aspects of this undertaking. Henry Bismuth has painted for this exhibition a powerful image of heterosexual intimacy: Shiva and Macali, two gods of the Hindu pantheon, in close embrace. Representing the universality of passion, love, personal commitment, and enduring support, they expand our recognition of humanity. The other work, a diptych by Archie Rand, reinforces our Jewish heritage of biblical interpretation. In the first panel, a glorious warrior, Deborah, plots to go into battle with General Barak against the Syrianarmy. In the second panel, taking her female place as an equal, she is garbed as an Israeli Sabra warrior.

A word of personal thanks to Rabbi Jerome Davidson, National Coordinator of Leadership Initiatives at HUC-JIR, for his endless support and farsighted actions; to Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, D.Min., Director, Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling at HUC-JIR/New York, for her guidance and commitment to integrate this exhibition into students’ pastoral education; and to my deeply involved curatorial associates, Phyllis Freedman and Nancy Mantell.

 

Created in God’s Image

Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, D.Min., Director, Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling, HUC-JIR/New York

While this exhibition will be seen as groundbreaking forsome in the Jewish and arts communities, it expresses Reform Judaism’s long-held commitments to affirm the dignity and equality of all people. Soon after its inception, at a conference in Breslau in 1846, Reform leaders presenteda report, entitled “For Total Equality,” which stated: “The halakhic position of women must undergo a change….For our religious consciousness, which grants all humans an equal degree of natural holiness, it is a sacred duty to express most emphatically the complete religious equality of thefemale sex.” The “natural holiness” they affirmed found its roots in the biblical story in which humanity was described as created in the image and likeness of God.

While the central issue in 19th-century Reform communities was women’s enfranchisement in religious life, the sentiments those leaders articulated have continued to guide us. Theirs has been the lens through which we have tried to look honestly at the ways we as individuals and as a Movement are translating this belief into practice. Over the last 150 years, we have reworked rites of passage to reflect our commitment to equality: we have created new prayerbooks and educational materials that reflect our inclusive stance; we have opened our doors to many Jews who felt marginalized or rejected from other parts of the Jewish community; we have worked for the civil rights of all peoples – all as an expression of our fundamental belief in the holiness of every human being. The most recent decades have led us to reexamine our understandings of ourselves as sexual and gendered beings.They have challenged us as individuals and as society to consider the ways that our being embodied, gendered, and sexual influence our experience of ourselves and the world.

While Hebrew is a gendered language and its God-language is male, the Hebrew Bible is clear that God, unlike the gods of many other ancient religions, has no body, no gender, no sexual identity, and does not engage in sexual behavior.(Contrast this with the stories of the gods of Ancient Greece and Rome.) The Bible presents countless images of God, from the still small voice to the crashing thunder to the watersthat flow, and on and on. Each image gives us a glimpse at a different aspect of God. Each image gives us another opportunity to relate to God in a different way. From the Holocaust imagery of what blind hatred and rejection wrought to the imagery and texts of artists who challenge some long-held conceptions ,this exhibition presents the struggles, the joys, and the yearnings of the last decades and asks all of us to consider what it means to be created in God’s image.

 

Comfort the Afflicted, and Afflict the Comfortable

Joel L. Kushner, Psy.D., Director, The Institute for Judaism, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity,
HUC-JIR/Jack H. Skirball Campus/Los Angeles

This often misattributed quotation by Finley Peter Dunne – comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable – was originally meant to describe the power of newspapers at the turn of the century. Frequently co-opted, we now hear it as the goal of religion. There is a bitter irony in this for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) people as the Tanach and the New Testament have been the largest sources of religious-based bigotry, hatred, and violence against them. Fortunately, there is some balm in knowing that we now have progressive religious voices inJ udaism and elsewhere that support and champion LGBTQI equality and inclusion. Given this, perhaps LGBTQI people and their allies are in a moment to reclaim Dunne’s aphorism and help it live up to its true potential for klal yisrael.

The current zeitgeist around LGBTQI issues is in flux.There has been enormous change from a time when homosexuality was a mental illness and being “out” could get you arrested or killed, to the present with “out” role models in politics, sports, media, the military, and religion; a growing marriage equality movement; and the ability tol ive our lives more openly than any other time in history. Yet, homosexuality is still illegal in certain states, and LGBTQI people are nowhere close to having equal protection in employment, access to healthcare, or full rights to marry. This says nothing of the high rates of violence against LGBTQI people, suicide, and mental health issues. Clearly, we have a ways to go.

The Institute for Judaism, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the first and only institute of its kind in the Jewish world. The Institute was founded in 2000 to educate HUC-JIR students on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues; to help them challenge and eliminate homophobia and heterosexism; and to learn tools to transform the communities they encounter into ones that are inclusive and welcoming of queer Jews. Over time, this mission of education and the creation of welcoming spaces has expanded to the larger community outside the walls of our four campuses in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles,and New York. The Institute offers consultation to individual professionals, synagogues, and organizations as well as seminars and workshops at HUC-JIR and at local, national, and international conferences. We also maintain the Jeff Herman Resource Center, the largest online collection of information and resources at the intersection of Judaism, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

We have many diverse constituents. For LGBTQI Jews and their families, friends, and allies, we are a comforting symbol of pride and hope in a mainstream organization that has a history with lesbian and gay Jews that is mixed with both periods of darkness – like expelling seminary students who were gay – and of light – championing the nascent birth of the first gay and lesbian synagogue in the world that was accepted into the Union for Reform Judaism (then Union of American Hebrew Congregations) in 1974. We try to provide comfort by creating spaces where LGBTQI Jews can be fully embraced for who they are, not merely tolerated in whatever space in which they wish to participate, whether it be a gay synagogue or a mainstream synagogue. By increasing an environment’s ability to embrace one specific “othered” group, everyone in that space who has some type of difference will benefit.

To make this a reality, the Institute is pioneering the Welcoming Synagogues Project to develop an LGBT Welcoming Movement across Jewish denominations thatwill support congregations and communal organizations to actively become welcoming to LGBTQI people. The Welcoming Synagogues Project began in 2007 with dialogue, research, and exploration of what was happening on the ground in synagogues across the United States and Canada. It included face to face interviews with rabbis and congregants, as well as a survey of every synagogue in the U.S. and Canada across all Jewish denominations. The most recent aspect of this work has been the piloting of a year-long curriculum designed to take congregations through a structured reflection, education, and action process to develop a plan and to become more LGBT welcoming and inclusive.

Our work is challenging. We are the gadfly afflicting the comfortable institutions that say, “We welcome everyone. What more do you want from us?” The earlier period of active progress on LGBTQI issues in the Jewish community has moved into a more complex stage. Overall, there are more liberal spaces and many people and communities whoare engaging in creative and exciting work to embrace inclusion. At the same time, a malaise of well-intentioned complacency has descended. What many think of as “inclusion” of LGBTQI Jews is really a lesser “tolerance.” Come, be present, but don’t demand too much, stick out too much, or expect us to equally value your causes. There is still much afflicting to do, and the Institute for Judaism, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity is here to do it.

Art has many jobs and serves many purposes and I believe that two of them include Dunne’s exhortation to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable. There is a unique power in the visual, auditory, and tactile mediums of art. Art says: “Look at this! Think about this! Do something about this!” Sexuality has the same power, which is why queer sexuality,a double portion of the brew, has always been so potent and so threatening. Queer sexuality is a catalyst for creativity and growth and has the ability to effect change. I am excited to see how the artists in this show have captured and reflected back the joys, the pain, the marginalization, the anger, the exclusion, the hurt, the persecution, and the pride of LGBTQI people and of the world. It is a sacred responsibility to both administer a toch’aha (constructive criticism) when needed, afflicting those in power, and to simultaneously participate in the healing of the world, comforting the afflicted. I am honored with the privilege of sharing this responsibility with these artists.

 

Re-interpreting the Bible

Rabbi Rachel Adler, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish Religious Thought and Feminist Studies, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

The Torah portion of Acharei Mot, Kedoshim contains the two texts religious conservatives love to quote – the two prohibitions against male homosexual sex: Leviticus 18:22 “Do not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is an abhorrence.” and Leviticus 20:13, which repeats the term to’eva, abhorrence, and decrees a death sentence for both partners. The question this brings up for me is what do we do with Torah texts that make it impossible for some people to live a Jewish life with dignity and joy? How can we understandsuch texts and take away their destructive power? What are some strategies for dealing with them?

Reject the notion that the Bible speaks with a single voice and look for counter-narratives. The Bible is not a single consistent voice of authority. You cannot say, “The Bible says: it is forbidden for men to have sex with men.” You can only say that the Holiness code section of the book of Leviticus says so. The Bible is not a single book. It is a collection of different books, spanning eight centuries, not all of which agree with one another. I picture the authors in one big room in the next world arguing. Ezra is proclaiming that every Judean married to a foreign woman should send her away. Ruth is saying to him, “Don’t be a snob. Foreign women have blessed the people. King David has two foreign women in his genealogy and that means the Messiah will have those women in his genealogy.” And Leviticus? Leviticus is ranting about human sexual fluids. But Song of Songs is countering him. So “the Bible” as a single consistent point of view doesn’t exist.

Contextualize historically to understand what the text’s concerns were. Leviticus wants to see clear boundaries, distinct categories. It sees boundary-making as the very act by which the world was created. God started with tohu vavohu, chaos, and carefully separated out the light from the darkness, the waters above from the waters below, the land from the sea. God created categories of birds and fish and beasts and humans and told them to be fruitful and multiply. They were supposed to do that with their own kind of creature to keep all the categories clear-cut. And males are supposed to do it with, or perhaps to, females. For Leviticus, when people start eroding these categories, they are un-creating the universe. But, we may object, many categories of creatures have same-sex sexual behavior and the universe hasn’t caved in yet! Leviticus man who has sex with another man is declassing him, making him subordinate like a woman. And finally, as a product of the priesthood, Leviticus sees fertility as a sign of blessing. He can’t foresee that gay men will have the option of becoming parents. He worries about the world being depopulated.

Except for Leviticus, the only two explicit texts we have about homosexual behavior are about rape and really cannot be compared to a loving relationship. In both the threatened rape is the climax of a narrative that is really about a shocking lack of hospitality. According to early rabbinic commentators, thatis the real sin of the Sodomites. In contrast, there are two texts where David acknowledges his love for Jonathan. In David’s lament (II Samuel 1:26) he says, “your love was wonderful tome, more than the love of women,” but there are no explicit narratives of sexual behavior between them. Nevertheless, these texts appear in some strategies as counter-examples to Leviticus.

Contextualizing a text historically gives us some perspective on why the author thought the way he or maybe she did, and it underlines the differences between the writer’s world and our world, but it leaves a big problem. These verses thatwon’t let people live are part of sacred text. It is especially troubling when these texts are part of the Torah. We cannot just dismiss the problem by saying “that’s how it was then but this is now,” unless we want to make the Torah into a museum piece. Imagine tour guides saying, “that was a Torah; the Jewish people used to live by it.” Besides, it isn’t true that these texts were only destructive in the past. Countless murders, gay-bashings, political initiatives by homophobes, non-Jewish and Jewish, attest that these texts still hold malignant power.

Reinterpret, because we are the ones who must determine what a text means in our time. Interpretation is ino ur hands. Let me give you three examples of how the rabbis of the Talmudradically re-read texts that were unlivable. The first such texti s a law in Deuteronomy 21:18-21. “If a man has a wayward and defiant son, who does not heed his father or mother…they shall bring him to the elders of the town [and state their complaint]. There upon the men of his town shall stone him to death.” The rabbis narrowed and narrowed the requirements for application until a baraita, a Tannaitic tradition, flatly states, “There never was a case of the rebellious son and never will be.” Why then was the law given, the Talmud inquires? “To study and to reap the reward of studying.”(Sanhedrin 71a)

The second example of a biblical law being radically changed by interpretation is “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”In its biblical contexts, in Exodus 21:24 and Leviticus 24:20, it sounds like people’s eyes and teeth should be taken out if they knock out other people’s eyes and teeth. But the Talmudin tractate Bava Qamma goes through an intricate argument to insist that “an eye for an eye” means monetary compensation, and that is the law as we have had it for the last 1900 years. There is also no biblical narrative in which eyes or teeth are extracted as an Israelite punishment.

The third example of law being changed by interpretation is Hillel’s prosbul. The sage Hillel saw the great hardship people were having because of the observance of the Sabbatical year, the seventh year, in which all debts were canceled. Commerce was grinding to a halt and no one would lend money to theneedy. So Hillel reinterpreted two verses from Deuteronomy(15:2, 9) to abrogate debt cancellation by having creditors transfer debts owed them to the court and authorizing the court to collect. The authorizing document was called a prosbul. Once people were assured that they could collecton debts, the economic system was no longer stalled(Gittin 36b).(1)

Once we see that a law – designed for the people to live with and thrive with – is having the opposite effect, the process of interpretation can find new meanings in the text by which living and thriving is possible. Our texts on mishkav zachar k’mishkevei isha, literally, having sex with a man as if he were a woman, might mean a ban on sex in which one partner rules over and subordinates the other: man or woman. More-over, some scholars have argued that homosexual rape is what these texts reference: violent, non-consensual sex. Laws are meant to promote human flourishing and when they are seriously deterring human flourishing, they need to be reinterpreted rather than merely ignored. In Jewish law, we have a principle of not making legal policies that make large numbers of people into sinners.

My hope is that LGBT rabbis show us a way people can liveby these texts and not die by them. For, in Acharei Mot, it says: va-chai bahem – “You shall live by them” – meaning by the commandments. And the rabbis comment, “and not die by them.” Not have your selfhood stifled or in hiding. Not be bullied or bashed. Not, God forbid, commit suicide. But live, pridefully, openly, and joyously.

  1. In Gittin 36b, the rabbis argue that Hillel did not change biblical law but rather rabbinic law. After the first was destroyed, the biblical jubilee year ceased to exist and hence, the constraints of the sabbatical year were also voided. But the rabbis of the Second Temple period reestablished the laws of the sabbatical year by rabbinic law, and it was these that Hillel superseded through the prosbul. 

Excerpted from Rabbi Rachel Adler’s sermon presented at Beth Chayim Chadashim on May 12, 2012.

 

Seventy Times Seventy Times Seventy Stories

Nicole Lyn DeBlosi ‘13, Ph.D., Rabbinical Student, HUC-JIR/New York

Every Passover, Jews imagine ourselves into a story: “We were slaves; now we are free.”

Through Tanakh [Hebrew Bible], we learn to identify with the lives of our ancestors. We may see our own desperation in Hannah’s prayer, our strength in Abraham’s response to God’scall to “go forth,” and even our selfish impulses in Jacob’s trickery.

What of those of us whose gender identity or sexual orientation does not conform to society’s standards? Sometimes we imagine ourselves into the narratives of David and Jonathan or Ruth and Naomi, though others disapprovingly wag their fingers at our daring to read the Torah “against the grain.” Sometimes we place ourselves, through the creative process of midrash, between the gaps of traditional Jewish texts. And, too often, we leave our texts aside altogether, hoping to find our stories elsewhere.

If your life is unimaginable by normative standards, how do you find a way to live?

Gay or straight, Jewish or of another faith, our identities do not emerge from infinite options, but rather, in negotiation with our particular culture’s limited available notions about acceptable social types.(1) Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons – and others who do not fit dominant norms to find, few narratives through which to imagine positive and productive futures. Nor do we often find our paina cknowledged in the mainstream. We are told our concerns are “marginal” or “exceptional.” We are encouraged to look and to act “like everybody else.” We are warned to keep our identities to ourselves. Too many of us cannot even fathom a life worth living.

The images and artists in The Sexuality Spectrum depict those fragments of the dominant culture that can be reclaimed for our own identification, as well as inspiring new images created by and for those formerly dismissed as “marginal” and“exceptional.”

The Torah, our Sages say, has seventy faces. Each of us has a face molded in God’s image. And each of those faces deserves to be reflected in the brilliance of Torah – broadly defined – adding to the stories of the Jewish people, of all peoples.

  1. Appiah, Kwame Anthony. The Ethics of Identity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.

Nicole Lyn DeBlosi is a fifth-year rabbinical student at HUC-JIR/ New York and holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University and a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Harvard University.

 

From Tolerance to Acceptance

Jonathan Krasner, Ph.D., Associate Professor of the American Jewish Experience, HUC-JIR/New York

Three months after the Reform Movement’s rabbinical organization, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, voted to allow its members to officiate at same sex marriage and commitment ceremonies, my husband Frank and I were united under a chupah in the sanctuary of our home synagogue, Temple Israel in Boston. The ceremony, which was led by Rabbi Bernard Mehlman, Lecturer in Midrash and Homiletics at HUC-JIR and the temple’s rabbi emeritus, included traditional elements: the exchange of rings, the Seven Blessings, and the breaking of a glass. But the relative novelty of a Jewish same sex marriage ceremony reinforced my lingering uncertainty about the role of normative authority in the dynamic process of ritual innovation and prevented me from uttering the traditional formula as I slipped the gold band onto Frank’s finger. Instead, Frank and I substituted verses about love and betrothal from the biblical books of Ruth and Hosea. We were married in the eyes of our rabbi, our families,and our friends. But were we truly betrothed “according to the Law of Moses and Israel?”

Twelve years later I doubt that I would have the same qualms. While it is true that there is still no consensus within Judaism about the legitimacy of religiously sanctioned same sex marriage, the tide has definitively turned. From the vantage point of 2012, one can clearly see the mainstreaming of LGBTQI Jews as a forty-year odyssey, in which the Reform Movement often played a pioneering role in fostering change.

The movement for gay and lesbian equality within Judaism began in 1972 when a group of Jews in Los Angeles were inspired by the example of the gay-affirming Metropolitan Community Church and founded the first gay synagogue, Metropolitan Community Temple. Appropriately renamed Beth Chayim Chadashim, the House of New Life, the synagogue was accepted for membership by the Reform Movement’s congregational arm, known today as the Union for Reform Judaism, in 1974. The Union’s action, which at that time was viewed as revolutionary, was propelled by the inclusive vision of Judaism elaborated by its president, Rabbi Alexander Schindler. At a time when many feared that the mainstreaming of gays and lesbians would erode boundaries and dilute Judaism, Schindler called on Reform Jews to “cross those boundaries of Other-ness, those fringed boundaries where compassion givesway to identification.” Subsequent resolutions opposing anti-gay discrimination, supporting gay civil rights, and urging the inclusion of gays and lesbians in congregational life and lay leadership were passed by the Reform Movement’s rabbinical and congregational arms, culminating with the decision to ordain gays and lesbians (1990) and the endorsement of rabbinical officiation at same sex union ceremonies (2000). The centrist Conservative Movement, following the lead of Reform, sanctioned the ordination of gays and lesbians in 2006 and established rituals for same sex marriage ceremonies in 2012.

While the Reform Movement has been at the forefront of change within Judaism, progress on gay rights and inclusion did not come without a struggle. The Movement’s evolution from a position of tolerance to one of acceptance occurred only when pity gave way to understanding. “Something more than a grasp of the mind is required,” Alexander Schindler declared in 1989. “There is a need for a grasp of the heart.” As Schindler understood, complete acceptance was only possible when gay visibility facilitated personal connections, when congregants were able to recognize LGBTQI people not as a remote op-pressed minority but as relatives, friends, co-workers, and fellow congregants.

Given the significance of the question of boundaries in the Reform Movement’s evolving position on LGBTQI inclusion, it is appropriate that many of the artists featured in The Sexuality Spectrum play with definitions of Otherness in their work. It is precisely the transformation of gay and lesbian Jews from outsiders to insiders in the non-Orthodox Jewish world that allows me to feel affirmed in my synagogue and Jewish community as an individual, a husband, and a parent; to feel today, in 2012, that “according to the law of Moses and Israel” is descriptive and not merely aspirational.

 

Reform Judaism: A Model For Inclusion

Jay H. Geller, Chairman, Communications Committee, HUC-JIR Board of Governors

When Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), North America’s first gay and lesbian outreach Jewish congregation, was admitted to the Union of American Hebrew Congregations(now Union for Reform Judaism [URJ]) in 1974, the Reform Movement launched the full fledged inclusion of gay and lesbian Jews into mainstream North American Judaism. Gay and lesbian outreach became an integral part of the URJ’s Jewish Family Concerns Committee and the 1996 publication of the seminal outreach document – Kulanu – led the way for creation of many innovative life-cycle ceremonies for Jewish gays and lesbians as well as congregational programming for gay and lesbian inclusion.

Openly gay and lesbian rabbis and a recently ordained transgender rabbi now serve large mainstream congregations as well as gay and lesbian outreach congregations. These rabbis and their partners and spouses and children are no longer considered unusual in Reform congregations. Openly gay and lesbian professionals now also serve as cantors and educators in congregations and as nonprofit management professionals in a wide variety of Jewish communal institutions. Reform congregations now welcome openly gay and lesbian individuals and families. The Reform Movement has led the way in sensitizing the North American Jewish community on the inclusion of gays and lesbians in mainstream North American Judaism.

When I joined the URJ Board in 1989, there were no out gay and lesbian Board members. I came out shortly after I joined the Board and, at the time I joined, there was one other gay man who was elected to the Board at the sametime. Serving on the URJ Board allowed us to become role models for other gay and lesbian Jews to assume lay leadership positions in mainstream Jewish organizations. It is no longer unusual for a gay or lesbian Jew to serve on the URJ Board. I was the first URJ Board member to bring a same-sex partner to a URJ Board meeting in 1993 and was the first openly gay URJ Regional president, elected in 1997 to serve the URJ Pacific Southwest Council. My partner (now husband) Lowell was welcomed warmly by my friends on the Board. None of this would have been possible without the strong support of the Reform Movement.

At HUC-JIR, I was the first openly gay member of a Board of Overseers and the first openly gay member of the Board of Governors. Lowell and I are fully integrated into the every-day life of the College-Institute. There are now other gay Jews serving on Boards of Overseers and I am certain that in the not too distant future there will other gay or lesbian members of the Board of Governors. HUC-JIR is committed to full inclusion.

When I was interviewed for a course of study on the Reform Movement co-sponsored by the URJ, HUC-JIR, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, I was asked what made the Reform Movement so special to me. One of the most important things to me is the inclusion of gay and lesbian Jews in the Reform Movement and the Movement’s strong commitment to full equality, including marriage equality, for gays and lesbians, Jewish and non-Jewish.

Being a trailblazer is not always easy, but with the wise foresight of Rabbi Alexander Schindler, the URJ President who started gay and lesbian outreach in the Reform Movement, and Rabbi Eric Yoffie, Rabbi Schindler’s successor, who continued the outreach work of the Reform Movement to gay and lesbian Jews, the Reform Movement has become the model for inclusion of gay and lesbian Jews as full members of the Jewish community. I am extremely proud of the Reform Movement and extremely proud to call myself a Reform Jew.

 

Heddy Abramowitz

Hate Will Not Win, 2012
Digital color photograph
16”x 20”

Graffiti markings – the quickly spray-painted images from templates or scrawled by hand – speak to basic sexual assumptions about Judaism, gender tensions, and sexuality identity. These images document the social pulse of Jerusalem, where the secular and fervent believers share a city but are increasingly polarized.

 

Andi Arnovitz

4% of Us, 2011
Paper, clay, found objects
3”x 23” x 13”

Arnovitz’s works reflect tensions that exist between biology, religion, and politics. Genesis commanded usto “be fruitful and multiply;” thus, childbearing has been an important part of Jewish communal life. A willingness and ability to bear children has become for many the true definition of femininity and personal worth. 4% of women ovulate earlier than the proscribed two weeks of total male/female separation and are therefore unable to conceive children. The tiny clay fetuses represent unborn children. The artist seeks change in halakhic rule.

 

Helene Aylon

I Look into the Passages: Abomination, 2012
Mixed media
6”x 4”

This leading Jewish conceptual artist calls attention to the passage in Leviticus 20:13 that warns: “If a man lies with a male as one lies with a woman, the two of them have done an abhorrent thing; they shall be put to death.” Gay men have been tortured and killed by those who take this verse at face value. The implication of God’s hatred for homosexuality – and homosexuals – has wrought severe spiritual damage on many gay Jews and Christians, as well.

 

Siona Benjamin

Finding Home #80
Fereshteh/Lilith, 2006
Gouache, gold-leaf on wood panel
38”x 24”
Courtesy of the Flomenhaft Gallery

Reflecting on her background of being Jewish in thepredominantly Hindu and Muslim India, Benjaminstylistically incorporates Indian miniature paintingsand Jewish illuminated manuscripts. Her Lilith is afemale demon bearing an arrow and gun who wears a tallit (prayer shawl) with many tzitzit (fringes), claiming a Jewish heritage. In an attempt to reconcile the two different creation narratives in Genesis, the midrash claims that Adam’s first wife was not Eve, but Lilith, “who like Adam was taken from the earth.”

 

Henry Bismuth

Mahakalah + Consort + Pomegranates, 2012
Oil, acrylic, emulsion, ash, canvas
73½”x 56”

Mahakala + Consort + Pomegranates combines Indian andJewish spirituality. Mahakala holds his female consortagainst him, symbolizing the unification of the male andfemale principles. Each figure has six arms, the numbersymbolizing creation in Kabbalah. This twelve-armedembrace symbolizes the mating of male and female forcesin the act of creation. On a table in front of the coupleare three pomegranates, two are whole, one is cut in half.The whole pomegranates represent the duality of male andfemale, whole entities in and of themselves. The Kabbalahas well as traditional Indian philosophy expound theconcept that duality is an illusion. Only the open, centralpomegranate – an ideal spiritual merger of male andfemale – truly exists.

 

Judy Chicago

Pansy Crucifixion, 1988
Color photographs, prismacolor, acrylic wash, ink, paper
32”x 30”
Courtesy of Nyehaus Gallery

This work is from The Holocaust Project: From Darkness to Light, an eight-year collaboration with Donald Woodman that premiered in 1993. In the 1980s, Chicago and Woodman witnessed a protest march at Dachau by gay men demanding to have their suffering at the hands of the Nazi’s noted and commemorated. “Pansy Crucifixion” links historic cruelty with the world wide disease that kills gay men. The three figures are inside a pink triangle – the Nazi symbol used for homosexuals. Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions, associated with HIV/AIDS, are represented by a shower of pansies, visually similar to the cancer lesions. “Pansy” remains a derogatory term for gay or effeminate men.

 

Lewis Cohen

Ironing It All Out, 2011
Wood, paper, found objects
47"x 48" x 20"

This assemblage is a portrait of a stressful and argumentative relationship in which feminine hands iron a male’s shirt, emblazoned with apologetic and conciliatory sayings. Whether these are things her spouse has said to her, o rthey are thoughts she has while ironing his shirt, is ambiguous. The woman’s desire to “iron out” and save her relationship is obviously genuine and ever-present.

 

Dorit Jordan Dotan

Naomi and Ruth, 2012
Digital color photograph
19½"x 27½"

Behind a sign declaring women’s ancient loyalty and love, two young women share an intimate moment. The Hebrew sign is a direct quote from the Book of Ruth: “Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge.” This photograph was taken during the Tel Aviv Pride Parade and captures an image of melded ancient and modern common experience.

 

John Dugdale

Pride Week, 2007
Paper fans
12¼"x 8"

Collection of Paul Bridgewater Commissioned for Pride Week 2007 at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields in New York City, this fan shows two hands embracing, symbolizing acceptance of all people, and identifies a positive connection between this cause and the Episcopal Church, one of the few denominations to accept same-sex marriage and ordain LGBTQI clergy. Dugdale, diagnosed HIV-positive over twenty-five years ago, is nearly blind. His theme, the triumph of the creative spirit, underlines how his infirmity forced him to see and photograph in a new and immediate way.

 

Chloe Dzubilo

The Rage of 10,000, 2008
Pen, pencil, paper
17"x 14"

Dzubilo was a prominent artist-activist for transgender individuals and those living with HIV/AIDS who died in 2011 and received a degree in gender studies at the City University of New York. After her diagnosis in 1987, the transgender artist became a long-time volunteer for the LGBT Community Center’s Gender Identity Project and served in the project’s transgender HIV prevention team. As part of the political group Transsexual Menace, she directed one of the first federally funded HIV prevention programs for transsexual sex workers. She founded EquiAids, an equestrian program for children living with HIV/AIDS, in 2001, and in 2003 was appointed to the HIV and Human Service Planning Council of New York.

 

Sean Earley

Gay Bar
Oil, canvas
42"x 42"
Collection of Eve Goetz

While the stereotype is no longer as prominent norpernicious, gay men and gay bars were often seen as loud, flashy, and audacious, with high amounts of energy and hyper-sexuality. Earley’s painting flies in the face of the stereotype, showing masculine men enjoying low-key activities.

 

Rosalyn Engelman

All Over the World, 2010-2012
Mixed media, 30" x 60" x 5"

Venus Vincola, 2010
Mixed media, 34" x 9" x 14"

Engelman’s art casts light on the vulnerable and forgotten through a passionate concern for the human condition. She addresses the global plight of women and children who have been victimized by physical and sexual brutality. Her two-part installation is a call to action to eradicate oppression, enslavement, and abuse.

 

Larry Frankel

The Library, 2012
Color photograph
20"x 24"

Frankel has created an insightful self-portrait by photographing a shelf of his personal books. His choice and mixed arrangement bespeaks his interest in and commitment to both his religious values and his deeper understanding of his own sexuality. Mishkan T’filah for Travelers is arranged with Gender Outlaw, Queer Theory, and The Complete Artscroll Siddur.

 

Linda Gissen

Mirror to My Soul, 1998
Wood, mirror shards, nickel, silver
25"x 26"

A mask is an object used to hide a person’s presenceor true identity, or to present a certain facet of that identity. Gissen employs wood, nickel, silver, paint, and other natural materials, with strong visual references to indigenous art, to offer multiple impressions of the imagined wearer of the mask to the viewer, while the true self of the mask-wearer is known only to herself.

 

Grace Graupe-Pillard

Tom, 1985
Pastel, canvas
67½"x 49½"

Graupe-Pillard grants visibility to groups marginalized by their race and sexual orientation. Whether Tom is transgendered or merely cross-dressing for a bit of fun, the work deflates the importance that is placed upon gender presentation in American society, and playfully tells us that being a woman is not strictly for females. Graupe-Pillard explains, “Power and the abuse of power, such as the conflicts between men and women both on a personal and political level, are ever-present in my consciousness and artwork.

 

Richard Grune

Untitled, 1947
Lithograph
14"x 11"
Courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Approximately 100,000 gay men were arrested by the Nazis during World War II; at least half were sent to concentration camps, where they perished as a consequence of forced labor, starvation, physical brutality, and murder. Artist Richard Grune, trained at the Bauhaus, was caught in a wave of “denunciations” and arrested in December 1934. He admitted to being homosexual under interrogation and was held in “protective custody” –a euphemism for a concentration camp – for five months, before returning to his home on the German-Danish border to stand trial. In 1935, he was sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, and then to the Flossenbürgcamp. In 1945, as American forces approached, Grune escaped the evacuation of the camp. The terror of his experiences is recorded in his 1947 publication of a limited–edition portfolio of lithographs.

 

Carol Hamoy

We Are Not All Anonymous, 2006
Paper, acrylic gel, acrylic ink (detail)
5'x 15' (page 3)

We Are Not All Anonymous consists of one hundred 9”x9” collages memorializing woman from a variety of ethnicities, sexualities,and eras, some known to history books, others known only to their loved ones. Written over the images are women’s names, the phrases “We are not all anonymous!” and “Women are 53% of the population!” dispersed intermittently throughout. The work draws attention to women who have shaped history and whose presence is completely overshadowed by men who have done the same.

 

Michael Harwood

Marky on 57th St., 1993
Photograph
20"x 30"

For a short time in the early 1990s, New Yorkers were treated to a series of Calvin Klein underwear ads, created by Herb Ritts, featuring Mark Wahlberg, and displayed on walls, phone booths, and gigantic Times Square billboards. This frank display of malesexuality on such a grand scale was new and perhaps shocking to the general public. In this photograph, the location of the advertisement also invites tongue-in-cheek exploration of the contradictory nature of public sexuality. The “noturn” sign, which might indicate admonishment to not look in that direction, is aimed directly at the model’s underwear.

 

Nathan Hilu

Adam and Eve, 2012
Crayon, marker, paper
14"x 9"

Adam and Eve shows one possible interpretation of Genesis 1:27, in which “God created the human beings, Adam and Eve, male and female in His image.” Rather than two separate beings, Adam and Eve are depicted as fused together. Considering that Eve emerges from Adam’s rib in the second rendering of this story in Genesis 2:22, it is fitting that she is depicted as a literal extension of Adam’s body. The work suggests that inside primordial man – indeed, every man – a decidedly feminine element is present; correspondingly, inside each woman is a masculine presence. While the faces of Adam and Eve look away from each other, consciously ignoring each other’s existence, their arms wrap around their collective body.

 

John Hirsch

Tikvah II, 1989
Textile
74½"x 38"

This Memorial Quilt was first exhibited in 1989 in honor of the many Jewish people who had died of AIDS. Kiddush, the prayer overwine in praise of God, is represented by the wine colored velvet. The quilt, bordered by “Jerusalem stone” in the form of an unbroken chain, affirms the victims’ place in Jewish history. The tallit and candelabra represent both men and women. The tzitzit are directed toward the four corners of the quilt to indicate the four corners of the world, pro-claiming that gay Jews, like all other Jews, are connected to all Jewish people. A portion of the tallit is broken off representing Jews lost to AIDS. Pinned on the left is a torn, black grosgrain ribbon (embroidered with UAHC AIDS COMMITTEE ), evocative of the ribbon that is cutand worn on a mourner’s lapel at a funeral. UAHC, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, now known as the Union for Reform Judaism, links the nearly 900 Reform synagogues throughout North America.

 

Jerry Hooten

Wishbone, 1995
Linoleum cut, paper
29"x 24½"

Hooten’s works often depict men physically interacting, sometimes in natural settings, as the trees in the back-ground suggest, and sometimes in sexually charged environments. These boyfriends are playfully enjoying the water and each other, depicting a happy side of their lives. Hooten’s work, with its strong contrasts, is inspired by early twentieth-century German Expressionists.

 

Kobi Israel

Intimate Strangers, 2002
Photograph
19"x 28½"
Courtesy of Brian Klamp Gallery, New York

This autobiographical photograph, taken during his time as a soldier in the Israeli Army, suggests the fine line that divides the homosocial (living or working only among people of the same gender) and the homoerotic (sensuality between same-gender individuals). Israel’s images of soldiers living in brotherly proximity, where their opened shirts and direct eye contact hint at the tension and desire that may exist between them, explores the concepts of identity.

 

Sid Kaplan

Portrait of Allen Ginsberg and Peter Anton Orlovsky
Photograph
14"x 11"

American poet Irwin Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926 –April 5, 1997) was one of the leading figures of the ‘Beat Generation’ in the 1950s. He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism, and sexual repression, and denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States. His lifelong partner, Peter Anton Orlovsky (July 8,1933 – May 30, 2010), an American poet and actor born on the Lower East Side, met Ginsberg while working as a model in 1954. Ginsberg and Orlovsky lived an open relationship until Ginsberg’s death.

 

Susan Kaplow

Wisdom of the Mothers, 2011
Mixed media
36"x 36" x 4"

Kaplow’s Wisdom of the Mothers urges the viewer to bear in mind the collective experience and wisdom of women, in relation to Pirkei Avot (Wisdom of the Fathers), a collection of gender-polarized ethical maxims from Judaism’s most revered early teachers. Utilizing the torso of a woman, Kaplow rejects both the appraisal of breasts by the male gaze and the teleological designation of breasts as serving merely as the source of food for infants. Instead, she portrays them as the very font of feminine wisdom, meant to nourish not only biological children, but the entire world. The “milk” that flows fromthe figure’s breasts contains statements of sagacity and usefulness, each of which came from a woman of importance to Kaplow.

 

Barbara Krohn

Mikveh Menorah, 2009
Glazed stoneware
7"x 16"

This group of women have just finished mikveh – a ritual bath undertaken, in this particular instance, by women who have completed their menstrual periods and bathe in order to resume sexual relations with their husbands. Using the Hanukkah menorah, with its associations of history and holiness, Krohn celebrates the sisterhood of women as they participate in this ancient Jewish ritual.

 

Joshua Lehrer

Tinaya and Family, 2009
Cyanotype, platinum, and palladium print
20"x 30"

The William’s Institute study of “homeless shelteryouth demographics” (2011-2012), reveals as many as 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT. 46% of those surveyed reported that they ran away from home due to their family’s rejection of their sexual orientation or gender identity, with 43% actively forced out of their homes. New York’s rapidly escalating homeless youth population consists of transsexual or transgender teenagers, who suffer the double burden: marginalized by society for their low socioeconomic status and their gender identity. Lehrer undertook this photographic series hoping to give these teenagers a means of expressing themselves. “I want to make the world see them for who and what they are.” Photographed with an antique camera, printed by hand with an alternative process, they render a beautiful tonal range.

 

Iris Levinson

Lilith’s Persistence, 2010
Acrylic, canvas
41"x 30"

Lilith was Adam's first wife and his equal – made at the same time and of the same earth. Because of her refusal to be subservient, she is often relegated to being demonic, sly, and coquettish. Levinson notes, "Before Eve, there was Lilith, a feral creature o femininity. Her persistence is a metaphor for power and seduction, and this potent mixture embodied in her curves makes her irresistible. She is a force that lies at the heart of all women."

 

Margalit Mannor

Display Mannequins, 2012
Photograph
28"x 38"

In a visual statement on how women’s bodies are used and displayed but not particularly regarded by the fashion industry, the photographer maybe positing a visual commentary on the state of women themselves, their objectification, and their obsolescence.

 

Richard McBee

Jacob and the Angel, 2003
Acrylic, canvas
20"x 20"

Genesis 32:22-32 describes how Jacob, on the night before he is to meet his estranged brother Esau, slept alone, across the river from his family, and there he is accosted by an anonymous man. Though he prevails, Jacob’s left hip is injured, maiming him. While the exact identity of the man is never revealed, context suggests that Jacob’s attacker was an angel. The artist adheres to the traditional belief that Jacob wrestled or argued with the angel. Others believe that Jacob was sexually assaulted, and it is this scenario that McBee chooses to depict. The frightening scene depicts the horror and helplessness of an assault.

 

Meadow

Vargas Suite, 1992
Silk screen, fabric
36"x 36" x 4"

The female figures blazoned onto the pillows of Vargas Suite are based on Alberto Vargas’ American Girls, which appeared in Esquire and Playboy magazines during the 1940s. Idealized, unattainable, and devastatingly sexy ,these figures shaped a generation’s perception of the “perfect woman.” Bedroom pillows, with their obvious sexual connotations, are the perfect medium through which to observe and comment on this phenomenon of “perfecting” and sexualizing womankind. The artist employs this erotic subject matter with neither acceptance nor indictment, using her private poetry to counterpoint these popular images of sensuality.

 

Leonard Meiselman

Anxiety/Guilt, 2011
Acrylic, canvas
40"x 60"

Meiselman expounds on “eyes as the window to thesoul” with his depiction of eyes peering out in fright, awaiting their harsh judgment, an experience and feeling shared by many queer youth, who fear the backlash of revealing their true selves. Meiselman says, “The eyesare seeking affirmation – presence and awareness. Through doubt, regret, fear, the eyes seek contact, understanding, love.”

 

Judy Moonelis

Wonder, 2012
Porcelain, found objects, cement, plastic, wire, paint
103"x 32" x 32"

Exploring the sexual diversity found in the natural world, this installation is based on the concept of the wunderkabinette and consists of hand-modeled porcelain heads and sprouting interpretations of microscopic structures interspersed with miniature plastic animals. Scientific research estimates that homosexual and bisexual behavior is observed in over 1,500 animal species as well as the many animals who exhibit transsexual behavior. The installation features investigative tools – microscopes and books, both sacred and secular –that provide an essential foundation and fertile ground for the growth of new ideas. The cultivation of knowledge allows us to increase understanding and tolerance of behavior that is often and incorrectly derided as “unnatural.”

 

Avner Moriah

Jacob and the Angel, 2012
Watercolor, pen, paper
13"x 11"

Acclaimed for his monumental rendition of the illuminated Book of Genesis, completed in 2010, Moriah continues to explore the personalities, attributes, and parallels of the legendary heroes of the Bible. Frequently pairing characters from different chapters, he calls our attention to core values, responses, and human behavior. Finely drawn, as if chiseled into stone, each figure takeson the qualities, merit, and weight of timeless metaphor. In exploring sexuality, Moriah has chosen to probe some troubling texts using comparisons of sexual taboos and sacrifice.

 

Jacqueline Nicholls

The Ladies Guild: Temptress, 2010-2011
Paper-cut
10½"x 13½"

A series of paper doilies feature messages of rabbinical misogyny combined with sexualized images of women. The doily, an old-fashioned medium for food presentation, conjures up images of dainty and “proper”high-class femininity. Nicholls recalls the “Ladies Guild”of her childhood synagogue using doilies as they fulfilledtheir main duty to congregational life: preparing refresh-ments. The texts in this series voice the misogynistattitudes that influenced how women were treated inthat community. Nicholls says, “Whenever I cameacross these texts in my learning I tried to ignore them.Now I formed my ownLadies Guild, getting those statements out in the open and playing with them.”

 

Mark Podwal

Lilith, 2007
Etching
15"x 13"

Mentioned in the Talmud as Adam’s first wife, Lilith was possibly inspired by various spirits that haunted the imagination of Mesopotamian cultures. Sometimes depicted as a winged demon, part of her legend is her proclivity to kidnap and murder infants, the descendants of Adam and Eve, in revenge for Adam’s attempt to dominate her. Here Lilith alights on a tree, dropping herabducted victims to their deaths. This delicately rendered, lyrical depiction of a metaphorical woman is surreal yet vital.

 

Archie Rand

Deborah Diptych, 2012
Acrylic, vinyl leatherette
48"x 68"

In an era of male-dominated leadership, Deborah was the only female Judge of Israel. As a Judge, she also led the army of Israel. Called upon to accompany General Barak, because he refused to go into battle without her, Deborah volunteered to don men’s bat-tle gear. Deborah, a prophetess, defies the Torah, taking on the masculine prerogatives in crossing out of her gender role. The Hebrew reads: “From where do we know (what is the proof) that a woman may not go forth with weapons to war?”

 

Lionel S. Reiss

Adam and Eve, Genesis 2:22-23,c. 1952-1972
Oil, canvas
56"x 36½"

Collection of Park Avenue Synagogue, New York City Beginning in 1952, Reiss began a series of large murals, paintings, and waterc olors entitled “Genesis,” depicting biblical scenes. He worked on this series for more than twenty years and was still creating these works at the time of his death at the age of 92. Adam and Eve depicts the moment when Eve, her body resplendent in flame-like streams of light, floats up from Adam’s rib cage. These works reflect the style of British painter William Blake in their mystical, prophetic, and primordial imagery.

 

Eric Rhein

Chapter 30: The Blood, 1997
Wire, paper
14"x 11" x 1¾"

In this reliquary honoring friends lost to AIDS, Rhein presents a technical diagram of the human body, overlaid with fine wire work evoking the veins, arteries, and capillaries that are the primary vessels transmitting blood and HIV infection. The image is lifted from a biology textbook, and shows only the outline of the human male body, humanity at its most basic level, expressing the idea of sexuality based upon a purely biological perspective.

 

Trix Rosen

Faust’s Study, 1997
Archival pigment photograph
24½"x 26½"

Enter into a trompe l’oeil painted room, where a fearless man is empowered and transformed by the duality of his sexuality. His starkly lit, painted face and figure emerging from the shadows are a tantalizing contrast to the painted Adam and Eve on the rear wall. Faust’s Study directs the viewer’s attention to the relationship between the interior details and the subject, suggesting that the featured gender performance artist, Frederic Koenig, who can so naturally appear both handsome and beautiful, dares the viewer to cross over boundaries of imagination and desire.

 

Joan Roth

Joy/Jay Ladin, 2012
Photograph
19½"x 16"
Courtesy of Lilith Magazine

Joy Ladin recalls, “I was nine or ten when I learned that, according to the Torah, God has a deep aversion to the transgendered: A woman must not put on man’s apparel, nor shall a man wear women’s clothing; for whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 22:5). Though far from Orthodox, I couldn’t ignore this sentence. For one thing, it was the only time the Torah – or Judaism – acknowledged the existence of transgendered people like me.” Joy, then called Jay, internalized the religious and cultural transphobia of the time and keenly attempted to keep her transsexuality “a private, idiosyncratic condition.” Ladin continues to attempt to reconcile the life she led as a male-bodied individual – professor, husband, and father – with the life she now leads as a woman and a female.

 

Rochelle Rubinstein

Both, 2012
Woodblock, silk organza
25"x 17½"

A master in the technique of carving wood and creating woodblocks, Toronto-based Rubenstein carves the negative into the positive. The sheer quality of the fabric imprinted with the mystical image of the merging heads creates a sense of the allusive, ephemeral nature of sexuality. This is an allusion to the Shekhina, the Kabbalistic concept of God’s feminine counterpoint.

 

Deidre Scherer

Civil Union, 2012
Textile
23"x 20"

Two middle-aged androgynous people nestle close together; one catches the viewer’s eye, the other gazes contentedly off into the distance. Their subdued physical closeness and the smile on the latter’s face, as well as their age, speak of a long-established, comfortable intimacy between them. The title indicates that they indeed participate in the closest facsimile of marriage that is available to same-sex couples in some states without full marriage equality.

 

Robbin Ami Silverberg

Freud’s Wallpaper: Home Sweet Home, 2006-2012
Painted pulp, cutouts, inkjet on canvas
7’10"x 34"

The background panel contains a text by Sigmund Freud representinghis non-comprehension of women: “Science tells you something that runs counter to your expectations and is probably calculated to confuse your feelings. It draws your attention to the fact that portions of the male sexual apparatus also appear in women’s bodies, though in an atrophied state, and vice versa in the alternative case. It regards their occurrence as indications of bisexuality, as though an individual is not a man or awoman but always both” (Sigmund Freud’s lecture “On Femininity,”1933). The spaces between the letters are cut out, allowing the words to tangle and represent the confusion and mental anguish of two groups of people: men and women struggling with gender roles that have been foisted upon them while not wishing to change their actual gender, and intersexuals, who are born with recognizably both masculine and feminine physical characteristics, and occupy the space between male and female. It should be noted that Freud’s use of the word “bisexuality” refers to the original meaning of the term: “of or relating to both sexes.”

 

Joan Snyder

My Maggie, 2000
Lithograph, etching
20½"x 23½"

This very personal print uses the visual metaphor of “graffiti” to choose and reject several potential, loving names applied to Snyder’s life partner. Viewing this subtle, powerful work, one is forced to rethink ones own choices and the power of naming. Choice is at the heart of this subject. Each individual is just that: an individual, and more than any other work in this exhibition, My Maggie rejoices in freedom. Snyder’s signature style of incorporating the written word is a banner of affirmation.

 

Linda Soberman

Empty Chairs, 2012
Photographs, metal
43"x 37"

This installation memorializes the eleven million people – including Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, political dissenters, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and disabled – who were murdered during the Holocaust. The occasional addition of a translucent face to the back of a chair personalizes the memorial by giving an individual face to the overwhelming numbers. Accompanying are two wall hangings: a list of Nazi “undesirables” and the colored triangles that were used to represent each group. The profile of a young man is covered by pink and yellow triangles in the six-pointed star shape: gay, Jewish boy.

 

Benton Murdoch Spruance

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, 1952
Lithograph
14¾"x 19¼"
Collection of Sigmund R. Balka

Spruance depicts the eponymous characters in a consensual sexual embrace. Evidence of any struggle is missing; perhaps this scene takes place after Jacob has won the wrestling match, and has either received the angel’s blessing, or is in the process of obtaining it. There are many interpretations of this Genesis story due to its ambiguity and mystical bent. While the maleness of Jacob’s attacker is confirmed by the text, his identity isn ever revealed. The assumption that Jacob wrestled with an angel is inferred by the meaning of the name “Israel” (wrestles with God), which he receives after the struggle is over.

 

Anita Steckel

New York Woman, 1972
Paper
16½"x 20"

As a pioneer in the use of the painted photo in montages and in techniques of appropriation, Steckel was one of the first artists to explore themes of racism, sexism, and contemporary socio-political issues in her art, long before they became subjects of popular movements. This poster advertising Steckel’s one-woman show, unusual for a woman at the time, depicts one of the tallest man-made structures on Earth and positions the woman “on top the world.” The comparison to King Kong is obvious, and perhaps the poster pokes fun at the shock incurred by a solo show by a female artist, or perhaps the indignation sparked by the show’s actual contents.

 

Arthur Tress

Man with Transparent Dress, 1994
Silver print photograph
11"x 14"

This photograph evokes a poetic longing for things fantasized and forbidden. The dream-like atmosphere is enhanced by the transparency of the dress and the absence of a solid figure; the man is represented by his shadow, or perhaps his “shadow self,” as Carl Jung mighthave hypothesized: the part of the man that he keeps hidden from the world. It is only in fantasy that the man can approach his desire to wear the dress, which is similarly undefined, as if even he cannot allow himself to truly change his identity from masculine to feminine. Tress’ personal mode of “magic realism” combines actual life with stage fantasy, as he deals with the hidden dramas of adult relationships and male homosexual desire.

 

David Wander

Song of Songs, 2010
Acrylic, board, accordion book format
20"x 15'

Song of Songs is one of the five megillot (scrolls) in the Bible. It is traditionally understood as a love song between three possible couples: a man and a woman, God and the people of Israel, and the Israelites and the land. This work celebrates the feeling of an open, timeless love for God, and the commitment and devotion expressed between earthly lovers.

 

Joyce Ellen Weinstein

Moral Turning Point I, 2012
Silkscreen, linoleum block print on paper
26"x 32"

Weinstein asks, “When addressing the issues related to the human condition, there is the question of one’s personal moral turning point. When does one makethe decision to review ones own sense of morality, ethical values, and religious beliefs in accepting the other or be blind to them? Does one choose to review, change, and progress or remain fixed and unmovable? On the other hand, we can also ask ourselves, is change always a good thing?”

 

Marc Weinstein

Friend #2, 2011
Photographic inkjet print
16"x 20"

Weinstein’s photograph captures two middle-aged men sitting close together, joyful with their arms around each other. Images of real people, as opposed to media portrayals of invented characters, are vitally important tools in the fight for queer social justice, giving face and personalities to statistical information, such as “10% of the population identifies as LGBT.”

 

Albert J. Winn

Erev Shabbat, 1993
Silver gelatin print
18"x 22"

Diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1989, considered then an automatic death sentence, Winn decided to embrace a project, “My Life Until Now,” that would document his experiences living as a Jewish homosexual with AIDS.

“I wanted to show that regardless of illness there was a whole life to be considered, one of love and disappointment, religious and cultural identity, family, personal relationships, and memory.” Winn managed to survive into an era of effective medications and increased understanding for those living with the disease. His photographs stand as a meaningful documentary, rather than a memorial.

Erev Shabbat depicts Winn sitting on his couch, looking into the camera with a contemplative gaze. In the back-ground, his partner sits at a table prepared for the Sabbath eve. The quietness and subtlety of the scene enhance the serenity and meditative atmosphere of the Sabbath, and allow Winn to marry his romantic life to his Judaism without trauma. For Winn, his homosexuality and his Judaism are not mutually exclusive.

 

Penny Wolin

Nice Jewish Butch, 2005
Photograph
7"x 7"

For the past 25 years, Wolin has used photographic portraits along with oral interviews to research Jewish culture in America. In this portrait, the subject is presented in her preferred, masculine wardrobe, sporting a tattoo and holding a photograph in memory of her beloved grandmother. There is no divide in her self-identity. She is nice, Jewish, butch, and a granddaughter – a complete human being. Faced with the struggle for acceptance, the terror of closeted individuals who would rather hide their identity than lose the esteem of their loved ones, and of queer youth being ejected from their homes, the photographer offers a far more positive image of a family embrace.

 

Martin Wong

I Really Like the Way Firemen Smell, 1988
Acrylic on canvas
14"x 11"
Courtesy of P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York

Wong’s mature work ranged from gritty, heartfelt renderings of the decaying Lower East Side, to playful, almost insightful depictions of New York’s and San Francisco’s Chinatowns. His affinity for firemen was well-known. At one point, Wong’s then-boyfriend said Wong was only with him for his looks. Wong denied the claim: he was far more attracted to his boyfriend’s scent.

 

Donald Woodman

This Ain’t My First Rodeo
Photograph, prismacolor, acrylic wash and ink, paper
24"x 20"

Members of the gay community have become major participants in American rodeos that have begun to accept lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender competitors. These events promote acceptance for the queer community as well as a celebration of Western culture.

 

Estelle Yarinsky

Deportation, 1995
Textile
29"x 27"

Inspired by the story of Jewish citizens of Paris who were rounded up during the Nazi occupation and sent to death camps, this wall hanging documents the varicolored patches and shapes used by the Nazis to identify the various “undesirables”: yellow stars for Jews, pink triangles for homosexuals, black, red and green for dissidents, communists, gypsies. In this work, a large swastika forms the background over which the triangles and stars are sewn. Harsh metallic braid and menacing pointed edges express the hell that awaited the victims.

 

EXHIBITION CHECKLIST

Heddy Abramowitz
Brooklyn, NY
Four digital color photographs, 2012
16" x 20" each
God: She Loves Everyone
Hate Will Not Win
I Am Proud to Be a Genetic Defect
Jerusalem is Proud and Liberated
 
Andi Arnovitz
1959, Kansas City, MO
4% of Us , 2011
Paper, clay, found objects
3" x 23" x 13"
All Good Jewish Women, 2011
Etching, 22" x 30"
Keeping Track, 2012
Etching, string, found tags
33½" x 40"
 
Helene Aylon
1931, Brooklyn, NY
I Look Into the Passages:
Abomination, 2012
Mixed media, 6" x 4"
 
Siona Benjamin
1960, Bombay, India
Finding Home #80,
Fereshteh/Lilith, 2006
Gouache, gold-leaf, wood panel
38" x 24"
Courtesy of the Flomenhaft Gallery
 
Henry Bismuth
1961, France
Mahakalah + Consort +
Pomegranates, 2012
Oil, acrylic, emulsion, ash, canvas
73½" x 56"
 
Judy Chicago
1934, Brooklyn, NY
Pansy Crucifixion, 1988
Color photographs, prismacolor, acrylic wash, ink, paper, 32" x 30"
Courtesy of the Nyehaus Gallery
 
Lewis Cohen
1934, Brooklyn, NY
Ironing It All Out, 2011
Wood, paper, found objects
47" x 48" x 20"
 
Dorit Jordan Dotan
1961, Haifa, Israel
Two digital color photographs, 2012
Ruth and Naomi,
19½" x 27½"
Protectors,
23½" x 15½
 
John Dugdale
1960, CT
Pride Week, 2007
Paper fans, 12¼" x 8"
Collection of Paul Bridgewater
 
Chloe Dzubilo
1960-2011
The Rage of 10,000, 2008
Pen, pencil, paper, 17" x 14"
 
Sean Earley
1953-1992, New Orleans, LA
Gay Bar
Oil, canvas, 42" x 42"
Collection of Eve Goetz
 
Rosalyn Engelman
Liberty, NY
Installation in two parts:
All Over the World, 2010-2012
Mixed media, 30" x 60" x 5"
Venus Vincola, 2010
Mixed media, 34" x 9" x 14"
 
Larry Frankel
New York
The Library, 2012
Color photograph, 20" x 24"
 
Linda Gissen
Virginia Beach, VA
Mirror to My Soul, 1998
Wood, mirror shards, nickel, silver
25" x 26"
 
Grace Graupe-Pillard
1945,
Washington Heights, NY
Peter, 1986
Pastel cut-out, canvas, 91" x 58"
Tom, 1985
Pastel cut-out, canvas, 67½" x 49½"
 
Richard Grune
1914-1983, Kiel, Germany
Untitled, 1947
Lithograph, 14" x 11"
Courtesy of the United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum
 
Carol Hamoy
1934, New York
We Are Not All Anonymous, 2006
Paper, acrylic gel, acrylic ink
5' x 15'
 
Michael Harwood
1946, New York, NY
Marky on 57th St., 1993
 
Nathan Hilu
1926, New York, NY
Adam and Eve, 2012
Crayon, marker, paper, 14" x 9"
 
John Hirsch
1944, Louisville, KY
Tikvah I, 1989
Textile, 38" x 73"
Collection of Union for Reform Judaism
Tikvah II, 1989
Textile, 74½" x 38"
Collection of Union for Reform Judaism
Waiting for the Bus, 1998
Oil, linen, 20"x 24"
 
Jerry Hooten
Rammstein, Germany
Tango, 1994
Linoleum cut, paper, 30" x 22"
Wishbone, 1995
Linoleum cut, paper, 29" x 24½"
 
Kobi Israel
1970, Israel
Intimate Strangers, 2002
Photograph, 19" x 28½"
Courtesy of Brian Klamp Gallery, New York
Untitled #5, 2001
Photograph, 18½" x 28½"
Courtesy of Brian Klamp Gallery, New York
 
Sid Kaplan
1938, New York, NY
Portrait of Allen Ginsburg
and Peter Anton Orlovsky
Photograph, 14" x 11"
 
Susan Kaplow
1943, Philadelphia, PA
Wisdom of the Mothers, 2011
Mixed media
36" x 36" x 4"
 
Susan Kaplow & Trix Rosen
Abomination: Wrestling with
Leviticus 18, 2012
Mixed media, installation
 
Barbara Krohn
1935, Czechoslovakia
Mikveh Menorah, 2009
 
Joshua Lehrer
1963, Boston, MA
Becoming Visible: Portraits
Cyanotype, platinum, palladium
prints, 2009, 20" x 30" each
Bear Claw, 2009
Ed & Johanna, 2009
Secretary, 2009
Shrunken Sweater, 2009
Tinaya and Family, 2009
 
Iris Levinson
New York, NY
Lilith’s Persistence, 2010
Acrylic, canvas, 41" x 30"
Margalit Mannor
1940, Israel
Display Mannequins, 2012
Photograph, 28" x 38"
 
Richard McBee
1947, New York, NY
Jacob and the Angel, 2003
Acrylic, canvas, 20" x 20"
Meadow
1939, Newburyport, MA
Vargas Suite
Series of five, 1992
Silkscreen, fabric, 36" x 36" x 4"
 
Leonard Meiselman
1937, New York, NY
Anxiety/Guilt, 2011
Acrylic, canvas, 40" x 60"
 
Judy Moonelis
1953, New York, NY
Wonder, 2012
Porcelain, found objects,
cement, plastic, wire, paint
103" x 32" x 32"
 
Avner Moriah
1953, Jerusalem
Four drawings, 2012
Watercolor, pen, paper
13" x 11" each
Jacob and the Angel
Genesis 32:26, 2012
Rules, Leviticus, 18:21-23
Mourning, Samuel II, 1:19-27
Ezekiel, 32:9
David’s Mourning, Samuel II, 1:26
with Sacrifice of Isaac, Genesis
 
Jacqueline Nicholls
1971, Nottingham, England
Four papercuts, 10½" x 13½" each
The Ladies Guild, 2010-11
Food and Sex
Temptress
Woman in Hiding
Streetwalker
 
Mark Podwal
1945, Brooklyn, NY
Lilith, 2007
Etching, 15" x 13"
 
Archie Rand
1949, New York, NY
David’s Sorrow, 2002
Acrylic, canvas, 48" x 64"
Collection of Dr. Jeffery Gelblum
Deborah Diptych, 2012
Acrylic, vinyl leatherette
48" x 68" each
 
Lionel S. Reiss
1894-1988, Poland
Adam and Eve, Genesis 2:22-23,
c. 1952-1972
Oil, canvas, 56" x 36½"
Collection of Park Avenue Synagogue,
New York City
 
Eric Rhein
1961, Cincinnati, OH
Chapter 30: The Blood, 1997
Wire, paper, 14" x 11" x 1¾"
 
Trix Rosen
1947, Brooklyn, NY
Faust’s Study, 1997
Archival pigment photograph
24½" x 26½
 
Joan Roth
1942,
Detroit, MI
Four photographs, 2012
Dyke Parade, 16" x 20"
Gay Wedding, 12" x 17½"
Joy/Jay Ladin, 2012, 19½" x 16"
Courtesy of Lilith Magazine
My Mom is Gay, 16" x 20"
 
Rochelle Rubinstein
1953, Toronto, Canada
Both, 2012
Woodblock, silk organza
25"x 17½"
 
Deidre Scherer
1944, New York, NY
Civil Union, 2012
Thread, layered fabric, 23" x 20"
 
Robbin Ami Silverberg
1958, Boston MA
Freud’s Wallpaper: Home Sweet
Home, 2006-2012
Painted pulp, cutouts, ink, canvas,
7’10" x 34"
 
Joan Snyder
1940, Highland Park, NJ
My Maggie, 2000
Lithograph, etching, 20½" x 23½"
 
Linda Soberman
Bloomfield Hills, MI
Empty Chairs, 2012
Metal, photographs, 43" x 37"
Nazi Identity Color Code, 2012
Mixed media, 34" x 32"
The Other: Homosexual Juden, 2012
Print, canvas, 20" x 42½"
 
Benton Murdoch Spruance
1904–1967, Philadelphia, PA
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, 1952
Lithograph, 14¾" x 19¼"
Collection of Sigmund R. Balka
 
Anita Steckel
1930–2012, New York, NY
New York Woman, 1972
Paper, 16½" x 20"
Secret Members,
c.1960
Appropriated, found photograph,
10½" x 15"
 
Arthur Tress
1940, New York, NY
Man with Transparent Dress, 1994
Silver print photograph, 11" x 14"
 
David Wander
1954, New York, NY
Come My Beloved, 2010
Acrylic, ink, paper, 25" x 15"
Song of Songs, 2009
Acrylic, board, accordion
book format, 20" x 15'
 
Joyce Ellen Weinstein
1940, Brooklyn, NY
Denial I, 2011
Silkscreen, linoleum block print
26"x 32"
Look the Other Way, 1992
Pastel, paper, 41" x 53"
Moral Turning Point I, 2012
Silkscreen, linoleum block print
26" x 32"
 
Marc Weinstein
1952, Bronx, NY
Friends #2, 2011
Photograph, 16" x 20"
 
Albert J. Winn
1947, Chester, PA
Akedah , 1995
Silver gelatin print, 18" x 22"
Erev Shabbat, 1993
Silver gelatin print, 18" x 22"
 
Penny Wolin
1951, Cheyenne, WY
Nice Jewish Butch, 2005
Photograph, 7" x 7"
 
Martin Wong
1946–1999,
Portland, OR
I Really Like the Way
Firemen Smell, 1988
Acrylic, canvas, 14" x 11"
Courtesy of P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York
 
Donald Woodman
1945
Two photographs, prismacolor,
acrylic wash and ink, paper
24" x 20" each
Ride Me Cowboy
This Ain’t My First Rodeo
 
Estelle Yarinsky
1932, Brooklyn, NY
Deportation, 1995
Textile, 29" x 27"
 

COLLATERAL WORKS

Alison Bechdel
Are You My Mother?
A Comic Drama, 2012
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing
Company, New York
William Haefeli
Cartoon prints, 5" x 7" each
New Yorker Cartoon Bank
  • I Have Two Mommies
  • If Heather Has Two Mommies
  • If You Don’t Hurry Up...
  • My Parents Completely Accept You
  • It Would Be Nice...
  • You know, Statistically Speaking
Keith Haring
AIDS Dance-a-thon, 1991
Sweatshirt multiple
 
Lluïsa Jover
1942, Barcelona, Spain
D’Eva i els adamites, 2012
Limited Edition Book
The New Yorker Magazine Covers
7½"x 10½" each
 
Barry Blitt
  • Don’t Ask, June 17, 1996
  • Just Married, June 19, 2006
  • Wedding Season, July 25, 2011
Jacques De Loustal
  • June Grooms, June 13, 1994
Edward Sorel
  • Thanksgiving Dinner, December 1, 2003
Bob Staake
  • Spectrum of Light, May 21, 2012
Mark Ulriksen
  • Love the One You’re With, February 14, 2000
  • Dress Reversal, March 15, 2004
Yentl, 1983
Starring Barbara Streisand
Ladbrooke Entertainments Ltd.
Litho motion picture lobby cards
11" x 14" each
 
Collection of Ken Sutak
Ketubot
 
Giliah Litwack
Chair #2
Paper, 19" x 13"
Courtesy of Ketuv, Fine Art Ketubahs
 
Paola Andrea Ochoa, Colombia
Love Nest
Paper, 19" x 13"
Courtesy of Ketuv, Fine Art Ketubahs
 
Tight and Mighty Embrace
Paper, 19" x 13"
Courtesy of Ketuv, Fine Art Ketubahs
 
Yael Magenheim, Argentina
Romantic Ketubah
Paper,
21"x 14"
Courtesy of This is Not a Ketubah
 
 

HUC-JIR Museum Advisory Committee

Laura Kruger,
Chair
Jean Bloch Rosensaft,
Director
Suzette Acar
Judy Becker
Catherine Behrend
Sherry Berz
Semmes Brightman
Phyllis Cohen
Elaine Corwin
Robin Cramer
Gail Davidson
Gloria Dobbs
Cynthia Greener Edelman
Vicki Reikes Fox
Ruth O. Freedlander
Phyllis Freedman
Susan K. Freedman
Cantor Mimi Frishman
Betty Golomb
Joy G. Greenberg
Barbara Gross
Cecelia Hauptman
Cathy Heller
Peggy Heller
Frances A. Hess
Ann Holland
Marissa Hollander
Teela Lelyveld
Liz Levine
Susan Malloy
Nancy Mantell
Claire G. Miller
Marjorie Miller
Fran Putnoi
Joan Salomon
Samuel Simon
Phyllis Sorkin
Helene Spring
Shirley Steinhauser
Livia Straus
Mildred Weissman
 

Administration

Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D.,
President
Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D.,
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Jane F. Karlin, Ph.D.,
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Sandra M. Mills, C.P.A., B.B.A,
Chief Financial Officer
Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff, D.D.,
Vice President for Special Projects
Jean Bloch Rosensaft,
Assistant Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs; Director, HUC-JIR Museum, New York
Sylvia Posner,
Assistant to the President; Administrative Executive to the Board of Governors
Rabbi Shirley Idelson, M.A.H.L., M.S.,
Dean, HUC-JIR/New York
Rabbi Renni Altman, M.A.H.L.,
Associate Dean, HUC-JIR/New York
 
Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation’s oldest 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 graduateand post-graduate programs to scholars of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles,and New York, HUC-JIR’s scholarly resources comprise its renowned Klau Library, the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes andcenters, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaismand 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 an array of cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish history, identity, and contemporary creativity and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.huc.edu
 
Design: Dorit Tabak www.TabakDesign.com Printing: Clifton & Heller