Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    JNS.org – Rugelach (singular: rugala) are a beloved traditional Jewish pastry, with a quirky history to boot, but they often present a kosher conundrum. Though parve rugelach are often a preferred dessert after a meat meal for those observing kosher laws (which stipulate a waiting period between eating meat and dairy), some of today’s most popular rugelach are known for their dairy fillings. Pastry chef Paula Shoyer—author of the books “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” and […]

    Read more →