Chossid + Fender

March 6, 2011 1:34 pm 3 comments

There is old school Jewish art; we all know what that looks like – an old man bent over fixing a shoe, or a dark shtetle landscape.

Then there is the new Jewish art; a wave of mostly young artists who grew up in the new world only understanding the shtetle from stories, and want to interact with Jewish art on their terms.

'Waiting for the Sun' by Dan Weinstein.

One such artist is Dan Weinstein.

A NJ native and son of an artist, Dan attended a Yeshiva where they neither encouraged nor discouraged his use of art. Growing up, art was a personal experience, without a relationship to the Jewish values surrounding him.

It was only after a trip to Israel to visit his brother, a fervent Breslov chossid, that Dan was exposed to how art can convey the joy and beauty of Judaism.

“Judaism can always be seen in two ways” Dan explains recounting a story of a man approaching two Jews, “What’s up with this Shabbat thing?” the man asks.

The first man answers and begins to share a list of all the ‘DO NOTS’ he can think of.

The second man quickly pipes up and says “You have it all wrong, Shabbat is the best day of the week, we get to unplug, to relax and spend time with our loved ones and focus on meaning…”

Dan says “there are two perspectives to look at Judaism and I choose to focus on the joy, the energy- the positive energy”.

And he sure does. Dan’s work (digital media) is filled with Rabbis with surfboards, dancing/flying Chassids, and more color than you are likely to have seen in the average Jewish home.

Dan’s work depicts traditionally fervent Rabbis in sunglasses sporting anything from a fender to a surfboard to drums- all high on life, often floating through the air with a Torah.

Far from seeing Judaism/ Torah as limiting as a subject matter it has actually guided Dan to focus on his message. Before his big trip to Israel he was adrift without a focus for his art. Now Dan sees his work as an opportunity to share his joy of Judaism with those who don’t feel that way or who were never exposed to the other side of the stereotype.

He is not trying to be sensational in his work, but some people within the orthodox community are simply oblivious to the message and impact he hopes to share with his art. Dan is trying to enrich the dialogue and generally he is successful, even in his hometown of Monsey, NY, a mostly fervent orthodox community.

“Step one is for them to appreciate it, and for the most part they do” says Dan. The next step is for people to buy the art, which was more common when the economy was good.

Judaism is rich with meaning and spirituality. Good Jewish art has the power to do so much more than just be visually appealing, it has the capacity to engage the viewer and convey a deep spiritual message. And that is exactly what Dan attempts to do.

To quote Dan in the caption of the accompanying image ‘Waiting for the Sun’

They sleep, We play. They slumber, We pray. Wake up the dawn! Furry is the night. Glory is the morn. Instead of snoring can you hum me a bar? 3..2..1 …. nicotine…..caffeine……….MODEH ANI.

What is Jewish art according to Dan?

“Art with Spirituality, Art with Soul, a Higher Purpose, and a Myriad of Meanings.”

“Jewish Art, like Judaism, is about new beginnings, endless possibilities and True Joy- all within reach when you feel connected to G-d.”

“My Jewish art is about “stripping away” layers of the mundane and getting to the truth, which exists in a different reality. I strive to use Judaism as a vehicle to find an altered and more beautiful state of reality and translate that onto canvas.”

“What is Jewish Art? A canvas that has the power to open doors for people.”

3 Comments

  • The People's Champ

    Dan’s Art is the Epitome of what it means to be a Jew. You have a set of rules now take those rules and find meaning by piercing to the center of you’re soul. It’s not just a book of do’s and dont’s. You need to find the meaning. Dan’s art is that journey and that soul piercing. Great stuff.

  • Marc Michael Epstein

    What Weinstein is doing is nothing less than a revolution. It’s heimische and trippy at the same time. Who could ask for anything more? Well, certainly a soupcon of technical skill. And behold— Dan has that as well. His colors, juxtapositions, sense of line and graphic acuity put this on a par with the really wonderful psychedelic artists of the Sixties and early Seventies, updated for a new era! Hope to see more from this wonderful artist.

  • Dovid Nochum Gordon

    right on brother! awesome!

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Blogs 10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    Ten major film studios are currently in production on projects that promote a decidedly pro-Israeli narrative. In famously liberal Hollywood, such a development has left mouths agape and set tongues a wagging. Since the Jewish State began defending itself from the thousands of rockets that Hamas has hurled at it – as well as ongoing terror attacks and murders, the overwhelming number of Tinseltown’s producers, directors, actors, and studio moguls have remained indifferent to the plight of millions of Israeli [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Sports So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi (63kg), 25, of Netanya, on Thursday lost the final round at the Judo World Cup, and her world title to Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, at a match held in Russia. “I have mixed feelings,” Gerbi told Israeli Army radio. But, “I shouldn’t assume that I’d win the world Judo championship twice in a row,” she admitted. Gerbi won gold in Rio De Janeiro last year. “When I made my decision, I knew it was going to [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    “Jews Out!” was just the name of a child’s game that three little girls played in World War II Europe. But all is not as it seems because the three girls were Jewish, but hiding their true identities. In award-winning author R. D. Rosen’s riveting non-fiction work, Such Good Girls, “Jews Out!” wasn’t a game; it was a struggle for survival. The girls, Sophie, Flora, and Carla, grew up at a time and a place that did not allow them [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    JNS.org – “He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” wrote Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994, following the Oct. 20 passing of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Twenty years later, more robust accounts of Carlebach’s life have come to the surface. Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy. This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s The Soul of Jerusalem hit the shelves. But even the authors will admit [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    As Hamas loses its grip on power in the Gaza Strip as a result of war, poverty and disillusionment, the Islamist terrorist group has developed an ingenious way to raise the moral of the 1.7 million Palestinian Arabs it was elected to serve. While currently focused on delivering a rocket into every Israeli home, Hamas has not left its own people behind. To gently wipe away the tears of children strategically placed inside kindergartens as human shields, the Hamas Interior Ministry has [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.