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October 06, 2011 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-10-06

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Art Reflects History

Local artists collaborate to create 150th
anniversary window panels.

Keri Guten Cohen
Story Development Editor

wo well-known local artists, both members of
Congregation Shaarey Zedek, joined forces
and blended artistic styles to create compel-
ling window panels for the main lobby of the syna-
gogue in honor of its 150th anniversary.
The central panel, measuring 9.5 feet by 5 feet,
features photo transfers of historic photographs of
buildings, congregants, clergy and historic moments
from the synagogue's long history pieced together
to mimic stained glass. Because of the technique,
the images are illuminated as light shines in
through the windows. Interspersed throughout is
the word "shalom" in stylized Hebrew letters.
Gail Rosenbloom Kaplan of Farmington Hills and
Linda Soberman of Bloomfield Hills are the artists
and this is their first collaboration, although both
worked as artists in synagogue schools through the
DeRoy Testamentary Foundation.
"Our paths kept crossing and we talked as we
did projects, but now we're practically married,"
Soberman said.
The two worked together to find historic photos
that would reflect the 150 years that have passed
since Shaarey Zedek's founding. You'll find images
of the Sisterhood from the 1880s, of Rabbi Morris
Adler as a military chaplain, a telegram from
President John Kennedy honoring the dedication of
the new building, a letter from 1911 stating member-
ship dues as $15 per year.
But the project is not merely historical. Recent
history is being captured, too.
"Shaarey Zedek approached us; they wanted a


defeat the Axis powers. The sanctuary
accommodated a capacity crowd as V.E.
Day was declared on May 13, 1945, to cel-
ebrate the Allied victory in Europe.
The congregation also has long-
supported the cause of Zionism and the
necessity for a Jewish homeland in Israel,

orris Adler died after
eing critically wounded at
habbat services by a
roubled young man.

ecomes rabbi
fter one year of
ourning by the

creative vision to
involve the congrega-
This central panel greets
tion and the school,"
congregants in the syna-
Kaplan said. On Oct.
gogue's main lobby.
2, the artists worked
with more than 120 students in grades 4-7 who
brought photos representing Jewish family home
life, their b'nai mitzvah, their life at the synagogue.
On Oct. 30, they will do the same with congregants
who will bring similar photos to prepare.
The artists then will create another panel from
work done at the workshops that will hang with the
main historic panel in the lobby during the anniver-
sary year.
The project was a great opportunity for the
students to participate in the 150-year legacy of
Shaarey Zedek," said Tobye Bello, progam direc-
tor. "It connected Jewish events in their lives to the
rich history of the synagogue."
Kaplan and Soberman met often in Kaplan's spa-
cious home studio to create the photo transfers,
which are made from photocopied photographs cov-
ered by clear contact paper that are soaked in water,
which helps transfer the image to the contact paper.
"Then you can layer the image with color, texture
or text, building layers and putting more informa-
tion into the photos," Soberman said. "There's more
to see, more to talk about because there's context
and content."
It was a relatively new process for Kaplan, who
normally works in clay, stained glass and glass
mosaics as well as mixed media and printmaking.
The stylized Hebrew letters in the panel are hall-
marks of her work.
Soberman, who maintains studios here and in San

affirming unqualified support for each in
its annual meeting on April 28, 1948.

Acts Of Tzedekah

Among the first benevolent projects
undertaken by the shul was to organize
societies tending to the ill, bereaved

Artists Linda Soberman and Gail Rosenbloom Kaplan

during the installation

Miguel de Allende, Mexico, is a printmaker, photog-
rapher and sculptor who also works in mixed media.
Both artists are passionate teachers and share
a deep interest in depicting memory, loss and the
Holocaust through their pieces.
In fact, they are talking of doing a show together
based on these ideas that would travel to Jewish
museums. A conference of the Council of American
Jewish Museums will be held at the Holocaust
Memorial Center in February, and they are prepar-
ing a "mini-show" for that venue to showcase their
work to other museums.
"We were working on the same ideas, but differ-
ently," Kaplan said.
"It's wonderful working with another artist,"
Soberman said. "You have to be flexible and you
have to listen. Ideas evolve because of the dia-
logue." I I

and needy. It had an early hand in what
was then known as the Jewish Welfare
Federation (now the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit).
Service to the community is a corner-
stone tenet for members. Following the
devastation of 9-11, CSZ immediately


First Friday
night CSZ
at mitzvah.

Joseph H. Krakoff was hired as rabbi.
He came directly out of the Jewish
Theological Seminary as had Rabbi
Hershman nine decades earlier.

C pu hases
synagogue building
of Congregation
B'nai Israel in
West Bloomfield
and creates
second campus.


CSZ consolidates al liftsmeaw.„
of its programming
and activities into the
Southfield campus.

opened its doors to members of the com-
munity for prayer, solace and sanctuary,
and reached out to churches and mosques
across the metro region. In the years since,
the congregation has developed relation-
ships that led to many interfaith pro-
grams, including hosting two 9-11 com-
memoration ceremonies, the most recent
of which marked that tragic day's 10-year
Other memorable events include how
the congregation came together follow-
ing the destruction wrought by Hurricane
Katrina to fill bags with basic necessities
and send them to the Gulf Coast.
"We continue to feed the hungry and
the homeless in our building," Krakoff
For the second year, CSZ planted a com-
munity garden and donated all the pro-
duce to Yad Ezra, the kosher food pantry
in Berkley.
"This year we invited Young Israel of
Southfield and Yad Ezra to partner with
us," said Tobye Bello, CSZ's program direc-
tor. "So far, we have donated more than

Mazel Toy! on page 14

Rabbi Groner

October 6 • 2011


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