Reflecting The Spirit Of Elul, In Art

Reflecting The Spirit Of Elul, In Art

Israeli artist Ya’akov Boussidan’s latest study for stained glass windows soars with his lifelong passion for original calligraphy and his fascination with the “Song of Songs.” Exploring the theme of creation, this first study is naturally linked to Elul, the Hebrew month that augurs Rosh Hashanah, “the birth of the world.” According to rabbinic tradition, Elul is an acrostic for the verse “I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me.” (Song of Songs, 6:3).

At first glance, the lyrical spirit and playful colors of Boussidan’s “Elul” study seems to offer a marked contrast to his penetrating etchings on the “Song of Songs” now on view at Jerusalem’s Mishkenot Sha’ananim Cultural Center. But for Boussidan, his art in varied media reflect “a type of human memory, to be constantly redrafted and renewed . . . When one work comes to an end, it is superseded by dozens of others.”

Boussidan takes pleasure in revealing his aesthetic trail — and he and his wife will share this latest work in their New Year’s greetings to collectors and friends in the days ahead.

Arturo Schwarz, the Italian art critic who curated the current exhibit at Mishkenot Sha’ananim, believes that Boussidan’s images have the power “to evoke our own loneliness as well as the joy of living.” That mystery is inherent in the month of Elul, the traditional season of introspection and heavenly grace.

Ya’akov Boussidan’s recent works include Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, a large-scale painting (some forty square meters, or over 130 square feet) commissioned by the Ahavath Torah Congregation in Englewood, New Jersey. He also contributed an environmental sculpture (2.5 meters, or over 8 feet) to the township of Tzur Hadassah, where he lives with his family. His gallery and studio are attached to his home.

Ya’akov Boussidan’s exhibit, “See the Voices: The Poetry of Art” is on view at the Mishkenot Sha’ananim Cultural Center on Yemin Moshe Street (directly below the windmill) in Jerusalem until October 13. Private visits to the artist’s gallery and studio in Tzur Haddasah may be arranged throughout the year by appointment (

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