The Ancestors exhibit currently on display at Congregation Beth El - Keser Israel (BEKI) in New Haven has captured the attention of both its members and the local press.
Featuring pre-1950 images of the ancestors of the BEKI community, the exhibit displays the mundane alongside extraordinary family experiences. Approximately 40 people contributed these images—some of which date back to the 1880s—along with information on their ancestors’ identities and the lives they lived.
“I intended to indulge in a quick walk-through of the exhibit when it first opened,” member Bruce Oren said, “but found compelling stories and riveting images that kept me engaged for hours. The exhibit is a time and space machine—often transporting viewers back to our foreign origins and Old World sensibilities.”
“I love it,” BEKI President Yaron Lew commented. “This exhibit highlights and celebrates the diversity of our community.”
“The exhibit shows that we Jews come from the four corners of the earth. We are a very diverse group,” member Diane Krevolin explained. She added, “In many cases it shows a world that no longer exists.”
“This exhibit of ancestor photos is a brilliant execution of a brilliant idea,” member Dennis Rader commented. “It conveys the BEKI spirit of inclusiveness and participation for everyone involved with the synagogue.”
Art Committee co-chair Cynthia Rubin noted, “The joys and the pain of past generations so much lead us to who we are today. The exhibition gave our community a chance to reflect on the continuum of our existence.”
“We did not anticipate,” she added, “that the texts would be as important as the pictures, but as soon as the stories started pouring out of our members, long before we installed the show, we found that image and text belonged together.”
The exhibit has been extended until November 28. To check when the galleries will be open for viewing, call 203-389-2108 ext.114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next exhibit at BEKI will be work by Jennifer Anne Moses, an author and a painter in the Outsider tradition. Moses describes her artwork as “fusing Hebrew prayer with a distinctly Southern sensibility, born of the many years I lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.”
Moses explains, “Most of my paintings come to me as flashes of intuition. My inner eye ‘sees’ an image, sometimes accompanied by words, and I jot the image down so I don’t lose it. Eventually, if the image continues to nag me, I paint it…As most of my inner life has been fueled by my search to find meaning and belonging within Judaism while honoring my artistic and creative intuitions…I understand the two branches of my creative output—painting and writing— as two expressions of a single searching, and Godgiven, impulse.”
Her eye-catching paintings will be on display at BEKI from December 4 through the end of February, 2022.