(Miami, April 10, 2016) – Women of the Book: Jewish Women Recording, Reflecting, Revisioning is a groundbreaking creative endeavor. The project, in essence a visual “Torah” scroll, comprises works on parchment (one for each Torah portion) by fifty-four professional Jewish women artists from around the world. This international collaboration is organized into a traveling exhibition, a forthcoming companion book, limited edition prints, and a curriculum.
Women of the Book was conceived and is headed by Shoshana Gugenheim. “There has never before been a worldwide Jewish women’s arts-based collaboration that brings women’s voices to the forefront,” says Gugenheim, who is the first woman in the history of modern Judaism to train and write as a Torah scribe.
Women of the Book began ten years ago as a small initiative and has gained momentum over time, with much activity in recent years. The Women of the Book exhibition launched in 2015 at the International Jerusalem Biennale. Rami Ozeri, founding director of the Biennale, said of the project: “It’s really an entrance point for women to the discussion about Judaism. And if we have an opportunity to add a layer of a female interpretation of Jewish text, which for many decades was dominated by men, that’s a wonderful thing.”
As Gugenheim explains, interpreters of Jewish texts have been male throughout Jewish history. Inviting women artists to enter the traditional text, visually interpret it, and bring to bear their experience as women makes Women of the Book unique.
Gugenheim has a profound interest in how women, who are traditionally storytellers and keepers of history, interact with the texts. She asks, “How can women coming to Torah scribing or women coming to text in any circumstance infuse the text and the traditional interpretations with new meaning?”
Women of the Book was initiated to forge a place for women’s voices alongside the traditionally male canon of text commentary while acknowledging Jewish women artists as visionaries and creative interpreters of texts. Targum Shlishi’s funding is to help support the production of the coffee table art book, but funds still need to be raised before the book can be realized.
“This is a bold creative endeavor. Women of the Book is, at its core, an invitation for women to voice, through art, their interpretations of the Torah,” says Aryeh Rubin, Targum Shlishi’s director. “As women continue to make progress through all aspects and denominations, and as the Jewish financial ceilings are broken, it is long overdue that women are moving into positions traditionally held by men. Shoshana and her team deserve much credit for their efforts, and they should be financially supported by the enlightened community.”
The companion book will showcase the fifty-four artworks and the accompanying artists’ texts, along with essays by participating curators, Judith Margolis and Dr. Ronit Steinberg, and other guest essayists. Gugenheim is partnering with Jerusalem Publishing Atelier (JPA) for the book production as well as the reproduction of museum-quality limited edition prints, a collector’s boxed set of the artworks, postcards, and more.
About Women of the Book
Women of the Book, founded by artist Shoshana Gugenheim, is an international collaboration of Jewish women artists. Artists participating in Women of the Book have their works collected in many prominent museums and libraries, including: The Museum of Modern Art (New York), the National Gallery (Washington, DC), The British Museum (London), The U.S. Library of Congress, The Jewish Museum (New York), The Spertus Museum (Chicago), The Israel Museum (Jerusalem), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), The New York Public Library Rare Editions Collection, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, DC).
The Women of the Book/JPS team is in dialogue with several museums and other venues regarding exhibitions, programs, and special projects. For more information about Women of the Book, visit its website: http://womenofthebook.org. To donate to Women of the Book, go to: http://womenofthebook.org/donate.
About Targum Shlishi
Targum Shlishi is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website at www.targumshlishi.org. Follow Aryeh Rubin, Targum Shlishi’s director, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Aryeh5.