Few subjects have troubled Jews across the globe this past summer as much as the recent conflict in Israel. The violence portrayed on the news stimulated a consequential outpouring of support from Jewish communities worldwide. But an art group based in Brooklyn is showing support through a unique means: a spiritual defense.
The Creative Soul’s exhibition, “Spiritual Defense,” focuses on the effect of mitzvot (commanded positive actions) and gemilut chasadim (benevolence) towards the defense of the state of Israel. As pointed out by the show’s co-curator Yitzchok Moully, the Torah explicitly states the protection of the Jewish nation is dependent on its piety and actions. “If you go in my statues…and I will grant peace in the Land, and you will sleep peacefully and no one will frighten you” (Leviticus 26;3-6). The show therefore urges its audience to engage in dialogue and (hopefully consequential) positive actions in support of the Israeli state.
From a student praying the shema by the Western Wall, to an abstract kabalistic exploration of the mezuzah, the artwork in the show explores a response to hardship and the resilience of the Jewish people. The show’s message is best exemplified in Leah Raab’s “Huddled in the Tunnel” where huddled bodies nurse each other in a concrete pipe during a red alert siren. The figures in Raab’s acrylic painting are out of focus, with blurred faceless bodies grasping each other indiscriminately, as to highlight the panic and urgency for shelter during a red alert. It is here that strangers huddle like families, bestowing chesed (kindness) upon each other with courage and love.
Various sized artworks and mediums fill the Crown Heights gallery, demonstrating the diversity of artists standing for this cause.
“Spiritual Defense” is on view at the Creative Soul Gallery, 386 Kingston Avenue, Brooklyn through October 5th.
Yaakov Bressler is a local Brooklyn artist and writer who currently attends Brooklyn College in pursuit of entry into medical school.