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...

  • Blogs Features Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    JNS.org – About two-dozen people file into Dodd 175 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on a Thursday night, scouting out seats and picking at the kosher pizza in the back of the lecture hall. Miyelani Pinini knows the drill. A former student president of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, she’s attended and even organized her share of free-pizza events. But now she and a fellow South African student leader were the stars of this […]

    Read more →
  • Food Spirituality/Tradition The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    JNS.org – It’s widely known that Israel has penetrated the wine market, with some of its sophisticated Israeli blends surpassing historically excellent wines from areas such as the Napa Valley or Bordeaux. But what about beer? For decades, Israel has offered solely the Maccabi and Nesher brands. Not anymore. “There is a huge push of people making beer at home. The country is approaching over 30 craft breweries in the last year or two, making nearly 200 beers,” says Avi Moskowitz, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Actress Natalie Portman acted like a typical “Jewish mother” on the set of her latest movie, Jane Got a Gun, the Israeli-born star told the New York Post‘s Page Six on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who also co-produced the western, said she made it her job to look out for everyone involved in the project, because the film has had to overcome “so many obstacles,” such as losing its director early on. She explained: “Actors changed. We suffered financial and legal challenges. We endured so many replacements. There were delays. […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    “We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday. “Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It will be the band’s third time […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel were the two most immediate and authentic literary voices who gave witness to the Holocaust. Wiesel was an extrovert and a very public figure who wrote initially in French. Levi was a modest retiring chemist who wrote in Italian. Whereas Wiesel was rooted in the Eastern European Jewish Hassidic world, Levi was the product of an assimilated, secular Italian society that saw itself as Italian first and Jewish as an accident of birth. As Levi himself said, “At Auschwitz I […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Lifestyle Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    JNS.org – Wine has long been considered a social lubricant, and it’s Nir Lavie’s hope that wine from his Har Bracha Winery in the Samarian hills will serve as a social lubricant between the city-goers of Tel Aviv and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, two locales split geographically, and often politically, on the left and right of the country. The new flagship store of Har Bracha has recently popped its corks on 190 Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Actor Zachary Levi said casting directors have denied him roles for being “too Jewish,” despite the fact that he is not a Jew, the New York Daily News‘ Confidenti@l reported on Wednesday. “I guess they were looking for more of a corn-fed, white boy look,” he said. “My family is from f****** Indiana! Come on, I’m like dying here!” The Thor star clarified that he is Welsh, and that Levi is actually his middle name, while his real last name is Pugh. He said he […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    The secret of Chabad’s worldwide success is revealed by veteran Chabad shliach (emissary) Rabbi David Eliezrie in his new book, The Secret of Chabad. The Chabad movement was founded by Rabbi Schnur Zalman of Liadi, Belarus, in 1775. Years later it came to the US with the arrival of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn in 1940, after his escape from Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Upon his arrival in New York, a number of his co-religionists advised him that there was no place for traditional […]

    Read more →