The Art Of Judaism
Judaica Art Fair features the works of Israeli and American artists.
"Old Jaffa Port" landscape by Israeli Yoram Gal
Israeli artist Larry Hertzekows sterling
silver pendants with encased pressed flowers
Former Detroiter Lisa Slovis Manders pewter menorah
SHELLI LIEBMAN DORFMAN
any Hertzekow said he is hoping "the sun
is shining and the snow takes a break"
when he and his wife, Bess, make their first
trip to Detroit from their home in the
Judean Hills outside of Jerusalem.
But as one of 30 Israeli artists displaying their
work at this weekend's Sara Tugman Bais Chabad
Torah Center Judaica Art Fair, the trip's success
goes far beyond mild weather. "The economy here
[in Israel] is shaky at best," Hertzekow said. "This
opportunity for us and the other Israeli businesses
to exhibit and sell is a blessing, to say the least."
The fourth biannual Torah Center art fair will
take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8,
at Orchard Lake Middle School in West
Bloomfield. It will include the Israeli vendors as
well 15 Americans artists.
"Our show highlights only fine Judaica crafted by
artists whose work is Judaic in theme," said interior
designer Natalie Lipnik of West Bloomfield, who is
the art fair organizer.
Works of art range from $10-$10,000. Artists will
bring with them creations in a variety of media,
including glass, ceramics, precious metals, woods,
textiles, paper, photography and watercolors.
Some, like Hertzekow, will bring jewelry. Having
made aliyah from Colorado, Hertzekow and his wife
first ran a jewelry store in Jerusalem, closing it three
years ago because of declining tourism.
Since then, they have been designing and produc-
ing sterling silver jewelry, decorated with pressed
dried flowers they grow at both their home and
workshop. "We add the flowers [to the silver jewel-
ry] using special epoxy resins that encase the flowers
within the jewelry" Hertzekow said.
Also bringing a piece of Israel with him is Yoram
Gal, who comes to his first Judaica art fair with a
collection of what he describes as "the landscapes of
my beloved Old Jaffa, where I live and work, and
landscapes of my birth town, Jerusalem."
Visiting 20 American cities in the last 15 months,
Gal travels with large shipping boxes and collapsible
easels. He has seen his suitcases ripped open by air-
line security who discover his sharp artist's tools. -
But still, he said, "it is great fun traveling with my
art and getting to meet the customers face to face.
The only sad thing is being away from my wife and
4-year-old son who stay in Israel."
Other Israeli vendors planning to show at the
fair include Yaakov Greerwurcel, whose silver ritu-
al objects earned him the Shapiro Prize for
Judaica, and Michael Kupietzy, known for his
"form follows function" art.
Also featured will be Yair Emmanuel's delicate
paintings on wood and Alia Agayof's precious and
non-precious metal combinations.
Leon Azoulay of Tzfat will show his micro-callig-
raphy art, created with the words of the texts of
Hebrew scriptures, Bible prayer, ceremonies and
religious chants in original Hebrew letters. Each
painting contains an entire text.
"The technique to create my art is to design the
motif corresponding to the text," he said of pieces like
one that is formed.with the words of the Havdalah
service, painted in the shape of a Havdalah candle.
To Bloomfield Hills native Lisa Slovis Mandel,
coming to the art show from San Diego with her
jewelry Judaica and home art creations is also com-
ing home. The artist's parents are Bloomfield Hills
residents Tom and Ellie Slovis; her sister, Debbie
Berger, lives in West Bloomfield.
"My pieces are serious looking, yet whimsical,
functional sculpture," she said. "Visually, I am influ-
enced by nature, childhood toys and simplicity.
Interaction is really important to me. I want people
to not only want to touch [my pieces] but also pick
them up and rearrange them."
Israeli artist Leon Azoulay's
micro-calligraphy art created
from words of Jewish text
Among the other American artists who also will
be exhibiting are Michael Gore of Chicago, showing
his Venetian glass designs, and Jordana Rene of
California, bringing her clay Judaic ritual art.
Many art fair volunteers are members of the
Torah Center, organized by Rabbi Elimelech
Silberberg. "His dedication and commitment to
Israel are surpassed by few," Lipnik said. "It is
because of his devotion that this show even exists."
While the artists pay their own travel expenses,
Lipnik arranges their home hospitality, transporta-
tion and works to make their stay comfortable.
"I found out one artist has a birthday on the day of
the art fair, and I'm planning a surprise birthday
cake," she said.
She arranged for another, traveling with his son, _
whose bar mitzvah gift is a first-time trip to America,
to stay with a family with boys his age.
"It's not easy for these artists to leave their fami-
lies," Lipnik said. "One has three kids serving in the
army. It's very emotional leaving them."
And the artists may leave the show with more
than just art and jewelry sales. "They leave with a
sense that [we] care about their plight and about
their welfare and well being," she said. El
The Sara Tugman Bais Chabad Torah Center
Judaica Art Fair will be held 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 8, at Orchard Lake Middle
School, 6000 Orchard Lake Road, West
Bloomfield. Admission: $6. (248) 855-6170.