Who’s Huldah?

Biblical Women Who Shaped Our Tradition

On View:

February 9 – June 30, 2015

Joyce Ellen Weinstein Ruth Linoleum Block Print and Glitter

Joyce Ellen Weinstein, Ruth, Linoleum Block Print and Glitter

Laura Kruger, Curator

Phyllis Freedman, Nancy Mantell, Susan Rosenstein, Rose Starr, Associate Curators

We know all about our first woman, Eve, and her reviled rival, Lilith. However, who is the last woman mentioned in the Tanakh? It is Huldah, a woman who prophesized. She is one of seven prophetesses, including Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, and Esther.

In the time of King Josiah (3316-3285 BCE, according to the Hebrew calendar), Huldah was married to Shallum ben Tikvah, grandson of Haras and keeper of the king’s wardrobe. Living in Jerusalem, she spoke with authority and examined the scrolls of Law, scrutinizing the texts as to their validity or flaws. She conducted a school for women, teaching them the word of God as it pertained to females. King Josiah summoned her, rather than the acknowledged prophet Jeremiah, when the Book of Law was discovered in the Temple. The text of the newly found book, possibly Deuteronomy, depicted the coming wrath of the Lord against his children, the Hebrews. Huldah proclaimed its authenticity and prophesized that because preceding generations had disobeyed God, the Lord would bring upon them disaster and ruin. Prior to this Huldah interpreted a scroll of the prophet Isaiah predicting that ultimately the people would again rise, rebuild and restore their heritage.
Julie Duschack, Huldah, Cotton and Tulle

Julie Duschack Huldah Cotton and Tulle

Julie Duschack, Huldah, Cotton and Tulle

Biblical texts frequently impact attitudes and policies that affect women’s lives to this very day. By engaging us visually with an interpretation of biblical women, artists find ways to creatively examine women’s many attributes and reach an understanding of the wisdom embedded in these texts.

Who’s Huldah? features fine art by 21 modern and contemporary artists and three 18th-century masters. The exhibition offers divergent understandings of several women and unexpected explorations of their behavior. Interpretations of biblical women lie someplace between history, myth, legend, and reality but continue to be referential as role models in our own time.

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.