Modern Jewish Art: Definitions, Problems, and Opportunities, Ori Z. Soltes considers both the emerging and evolving discussion on, and the expanding array of practitioners of ‘Jewish art’ in the past two hundred years. He notes the developing problem of how to define ‘Judaism’ in the 19th century—as a religion, a culture, a race, a nation, a people—and thus the complications for placing ‘Jewish art’ under the extended umbrella of ‘religion and the arts.’ The fluidity with which one must engage the subject is reflected in the broadening conceptual and visual vocabulary, the extended range of subject foci and media, and the increasingly rich analytical approaches to the subject that have surfaced particularly in the past fifty years. Well-known and little-known artists are included in a far-ranging discussion of painting, sculpture, photography, video, installations, ceremonial objects, and works that blur the boundaries between categories.
This book is an in-depth study of the function of music in religious experience according to Rabbi Naḥman of Bratzlav. It provides new insights on his unique doctrine of the “Good Points”, which represent the core of loving kindness and holiness in the human soul, and the musical context in which they become both a means and a metaphor for spiritual transformation. Drawing on midrashic and kabbalistic sources, the book explores Naḥman’s perception of different types of “tzadiqim” (religious leaders), including himself, and the special role music plays in their leadership. It highlights the importance of creativity and renewal in the messianic process that involves both music and loving kindness.