As a culmination of each semester’s learning, the students from the course “Judaism through the Prism of the Arts” created two separate exhibits to showcase their work.  Each student was obligated to present at least one of their works of art to the audience of each exhibit. The audience was comprised of their parents, friends, faculty and administrators.  The students were graded for their performance and contributions to creating the exhibit. I am grateful for the generous grant that I received from the Legacy Heritage Foundation, Teacher Institute for the Arts to enable us to hire an artist in residence to help elevate the exhibit and student work.  The video that was created for the first semester’s exhibit is featured on the front of this website entitled: “Judaism through the Prism of the Arts.”

Preparing the big mural

Students prepare the big mural for the final exhibit.

Final touches

Students work on the final details of their artwork


The display is ready

Talking about my artwork

Student explains the meaning behind his project.

Showcasing student's work

In the students' words. Reflection on the final exhibit

“Be Humble”
Judaism through the Prism of the Arts, Class of 2018

Several Judaic sources on the theme of humility inspired our class to create this work of graffiti art, “Be Humble.”

A series of incidents described about Rabbi Hillel (masechet Eruvin 13b), taught us that his incredible humility stemmed from his deep love and respect for his fellow man. As Rabbi Hillel famously declared to the man who came to him wanting to convert to Judaism “on one foot”: ‘What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah, while the rest is the commentary; go and learn it.’

Another source that inspired our art is the Torah’s description of Moshe as being “the most humble of all men” (Bamidbar 12:3). This was not because Moshe did not recognize his own importance, but rather because G-d spoke to him “face to face” (Devarim 34:10) and therefore realized his true place in the world.

The following gemara from Masechet Sota 4a was also a source of inspiration:

מס' סוטה ד' א'... א"ר יוחנן משום ר'ש בן יוחי כל אדם שיש בו גסות הרוח כאילו עובד ע"ז, כתיב הכא תועבת ה' כל גבה לב, וכתיב התם ולא תביא תועבה אל ביתך, ורבי יוחנן דידיה אמר כאילו  כפר בעיקר, שנאמר ורם לבבך ושכחת את ה' אלקיך וגו'. ר' חמא בר חנינא אמר כאילו בא על כל העריות

Said Rabbi Yochanan in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, anyone who is arrogant, it is as if he worships Avoda Zara (idolatry).  … Rabbi Chama bar Chanina taught that anyone who is arrogant, it is as if he committed all the forbidden relations.

Rabbi Dr. Moshe Berger offers an explanation that helped us make sense of this seemingly odd gemara. Arrogance, he explains, is like idolatry because if one does not recognize that everything comes from G-d, it is as if one is worshipping oneself. Moreover, just as one who transgresses biblical forbidden relations feels that there are no boundaries, so too with arrogance--one believes that everything is here for his personal pleasure.

Finally, we made this mural using bright colors to convey the idea that the more humble one is the more brightly one shines.  The rough edges at the top and bottom of our work represent our humanity. We should never forget that G-d is above us; with that in mind we will always be humble.