Yeshiva University Art Competition in Israel Draws Seminary Students From Around the World

Feb 17, 2009 — The emerging artistic talents of young Jewish women from around the world were on display at the Yeshiva University (YU) campus in Jerusalem, where 28 post-high school students presented their paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other works as part of the second annual S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program Art Competition.

The dessert reception and exhibition drew an audience of 150 who viewed the artistic submissions from students at nine different seminaries. The submissions included a menorah, collages, and a work crafted from fabric and beads, in addition to paintings and drawings. Students had been required to submit works on the themes of Ahavat Yisrael, Torah U’Maddah, Jerusalem, Eretz Yisrael, or Geulah, and to include a written explanation of the meaning of their work.

For the entrants, the Yeshiva University-sponsored competition provided a much-needed venue for creativity.

“The competition is an opportunity for students who are artistically inclined to express themselves in a way that they wouldn’t have been able to do in a year of such intense Torah learning,” explained YU Israel Advisor Elana Kohn. “It’s designed to enhance their year. They can engage their creativity within the framework of a Torah-oriented program.”

In addressing the artists and their friends, YU Vice President Dr. Hillel Davis said that just as human beings depict the process of Creation through technology and construction, so too artists bring more beauty to the world. “I’m incredibly impressed by the talent of many of the individuals in this room,” he said. “In a profound way, the beauty you have created is borne from the Torah you have studied this year, and you are using Hashem’s Torah, the blueprint of the world, to add to its splendor.”

“The program is a bridge between the students and Stern College for Women (SCW),” said Stephanie Strauss, the Assistant Director of the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program, who conceived the idea of the art competition last year.

Emunah V’Omanut student Aviva Bloom concurred. “This year is the most incredible fusion of art and Torah I’ve ever had,” she said. “This is really cool of YU to do. It gives me hope about continuing in art when I go to Stern.”

Three prominent Israeli artists – Daniel Azoulay, Penny Harow (SCW ‘92), and Jordana Klein (SCW ‘86) — attended the exhibit to judge the works and express support for the students.

The first-place prize of $500 from SCW Dean Karen Bacon’s Sofie Freeman Art Enrichment Fund was awarded to Yael Medresh (Mexico City, Mexico) of Emunah V’Omanut, whose drawing entitled “The Lord will bare His holy arm in the sight of all” was both emotionally intense and technically advanced.

Second-place honors went to Eliana Kohanchi (Queens, NY) of Midreshet Harova for her “Mama Rachel,” an interpretation of the Tomb of Rachel created from paint, mosaics and sand; and to Erica Langer (West Orange, NJ) of Tiferet for her drawing entitled “From out of the Depths” of one hand, symbolizing the Holocaust, reaching for another hand encircled with tefillin.

The works by Medresh, Kohanchi, Langer, Diamon, Rosenthal, and Niderberg will be displayed in the fall at SCW’s Beren Campus.

To learn more about Yeshiva University, Stern College for Women, or the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program visit www.yu.edu.

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