June 16, 2019  |  13 Sivan 5779

2009-2010 Museum Exhibit

Shomrei Adamah: Keepers of the Earth

(Opened Friday, March 26)

Hanging on the walls at Temple Beth Sholom is the creative work of one of our very own teachers, Hava Shilon. Hava is a fifth generation Sabra, she arrived to the USA from Israel in 1985 with her husband and three children. Her tenure at the Witzo France Art School, The Shenkar Art School and Tel Aviv University broadend her artistic horizon and deepened her commitment to the environment. Hava believes "if you teach young & old how to conserve through art, you will make a colorful, memorable and lasting experience."

Hava taught Hebrew as a second language, in our Early Childhood Centerand we are proud to have her teach our children art at the Religious School. Hava Shilon’s three children have returned to Israel. Hava and her husband Meir live on the south shore of Long Island yearning for Israel.

The current exhibit at Temple Beth Sholom featuring Hava Shilon runs until July 10th.


Justice Wheels: Pursuing our year-long quest as Keepers of the Earth

(opened Friday, December 11, 2009)

Linda Gissen has created large mixed media sculpture all about choices—political, social, economic, legal, religious and physical. Creating Justice encourages the viewer to become involved to help solve the overwhelming problems of our world. Using familiar objects such as children’s toys and easily accessible printed matter taken from newspapers, magazines, and the internet, Gissen draws us into a visual discussion of huge social problems through humor, irreverence, parody, and sly surprises. The viewer is thus amused, shocked, confronted and informed through materials that suddenly acquire layers of meaning that have previously gone unnoticed.

About the Artist: Since 1967, Linda Gissen has created ornamental and functional art works of metal, glass, enamel, and watercolor. Her works reside in museums and in corporate, liturgical and private collections nationwide. Drawing from her Jewish heritage and animated by her studies of indigenous art of dozens of countries, Gissen informs her works with spirit — sometimes a spirit of awe and reverence, sometimes of wry playfulness. Maintaining an independent studio since 1967 and as an award winning artist, Gissen has presented numerous workshops and lectures, including: the Muscarelle Museum, Williamsburg, VA; Bergen Community Museum, Paramus, NJ; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; Bloomingdales, NJ & NY. She has taught artist-in-residence programs and served as an independent consultant, curator, juror, and judge in fields of art, fine crafts, and Judaica. Gissen has studied ethnic art and indigenous cultures in over 40 countries.

Torah - Etz Chayim: Treasures of Persian Judaic Heritage

(opened Saturday, September 12, 2009)

We are proud to exhibit extraordinary Persian Torah Tiks, magnificent wood carved panels and silver Judaica from the collection of Simon Zareh’s family in memory of Miriam Zareh z”l and Darioush Zareh z”l.

Sometime in the early part of 1995, an Iranian artist from Isfahan who spent a lifetime carving Torah covers and decorative panels in minute detail, tried to send his collection to the West. But the artist, a master carver who combines Judaic with Persian motifs and wishes to remain anonymous, did not have the necessary documents or official permission. He was arrested and jailed, and his art was confiscated.

Soon after, an Iranian-American living in the Roslyn area, Simon Zareh, learned about the attempt from the artist’s family in the United States and decided to help. Using his extensive connections, the Iranian-American began negotiations with the Iranian authorities and was able to secure not only the release of the art but also the release of the artist.

The Torah covers are carved in walnut, are round and swing open in half. They measure 36 to 44 inches in height and 16 to 24 inches in diameter. Hebrew letters, images of the 12 tribes, floral and other ornaments adorn the covers. Some covers incorporate panels of miniature 18th-century paintings taken from the windows of a palace that was torn down. Several are carved and gold plated. The panels reflect detailed work of Persian miniature art, ranging in size from 8 by 9 inches to 34 by 40 inches, are carved in jujube wood, a hardwood from a tree of the blackthorn family. The panels depict mostly biblical scenes, with some bearing Passover themes. Some of the smaller panels are so detailed that they require a magnifying glass to see all the nuances and varied facial expressions.

The artist cured the wood an average of 15 years, soaking it with oil to make it resilient. Each Torah cover took months to carve, with the artist using a magnifying glass and specialized instruments that he created himself. The artist comes from a family of businessmen who carved wood as a hobby. The grandfather and his son, the artist’s father, carved one Torah cover each, and the grandson, who has since passed away, had been carving since age 15, producing well over 50 pieces.

Mr. Zareh arrived in the United States in 1963 and married his wife, Shahin, also an Iranian-American. The couple have two grown children.