Friday, January 18, 2019

Making Art and Talking Comics at Yavneh Day School

Rabbi Shawna and I had the privilege of visiting Yavneh Day School this week, where we we led a Paper Midrash workshop with their arts students and spoke at their Open House event.

The students we worked with are fortunate to be at Yavneh, where arts and "traditional" education go hand-in-hand. And since what we do is explore traditional Jewish texts through art, Paper Midrash was a perfect fit for their program.

Some of the students already had experience using knives for art, and it showed in their work.

We exploring the Torah portion of the week – Beshallach – which includes the parting of the Sea of Reeds, the Pillars of Cloud and Fire, some Egypt and Moses, a little Amalek and the desert... quite a lot of text to explore with some new midrash.

Rabbi Shawna put together a study sheet to help spark some ideas, and boy! did it ever.

Detail featuring figures caught up in the parting sea.

Detail of a timbrel filled with musical scenes from an Archie comic.

And after they had completed their work (as usual) we had a teach-back session, where all of the students shared their midrash and taught their classmates about the midrash they explored in their art.

That night their work was displayed at the Open House (along with some other wonderful projects); everyone was impressed with what they'd created.

Add we were pleased to deliver a presentation on "Comic Books and Holy Books" for all of the Open House attendees.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Song of the Sea: Paper Midrash at B'nai Tzedek

We just led another fabulous Paper Midrash papercutting workshop – this time at Congregation B'nai Tzedek in Fountain Valley, California.

This is the kind of fun stuff you get when you bring us in to speak to your community.

Rabbi Shawna and I taught a little bit about midrash, and Beshalach in particular (which includes Shirat HaYam, the Song of the Sea) – and then we gave a room full of people knives and told them to have fun (basically).

Here we are, unphotogenically presenting on midrash and comic books.
Photo by Rabbi David Young

Rabbi Shawna teaching some workshop participants as they get started with their projects.
Photo by Rabbi David Young

Isaac showing some workshop participants how it's done.
Photo by Rabbi David Young

Sorting through comics, looking for just the right ones.

Participants cutting paper underneath a few of Isaac's works in a "pop-up" gallery space.

CBT's Rabbi David Young getting a handle on his knife skills.

Final workshop papercut with the rod of Moses.

The women, singing and dancing as the sea parts.
A close-up look at a final papercut.

The tribes marching along in the parted waves.

Final workshop papercut featuring an angel's wing.

This papercut features a sequence of the waves parting, and "Moshe" in Hebrew.
Final workshop papercut, with a musical theme.

Close-up look at this musical paper midrash.

The Sea of Reeds, parted by the rod of Moses.

Miriam's timbrel raised in joyous song

We end all of our workshops with a "teach-back session."

Another musical midrash inspired by Beshallach.

"I am that I am."

Rabbi David Young sharing his final papercut with the group.

Sometimes workshop participants explore other themes – in this case, Abraham breaking the idols.

Rabbi David Young's final paper midrash, with the rod of Moses emblazoned with the name of God.

Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man: with great power...
The whole CBT workshop group with their final papercuts.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Paper Midrash – Thanks for a great 2018!

It's been a wonderful year; we are so honored to have been able to bring Paper Midrash to so many wonderful communities in 2018. We've got a bunch of bookings for the first half of 2019 already; if you're interested in bringing us to YOU in 2019-2020, drop us a line!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Paper Midrash in Stockton,
Birthplace of the Fantastic Four

Another great weekend, this time at Temple Israel in Stockton, California! And another great batch of photos to share with you, so you can see the incredible art we created with this congregation! We spent the weekend talking about this week's parasha, Vayigash – in which Joseph reveals himself to his brothers – and we talked about secret identities in Torah (and comic books).

Friday night we presented "Secret Identities: Super Heroes and Torah Heroes"
and Saturday we started our papercutting workshop with our "Intro to Midrash."

I love these pix – using windows to transfer designs from regular paper to watercolor paper.

We turned a roomful of congregants into papercutters!

Rabbi Shawna giving a little guidance to a workshop participant

Some of the final artwork was inspired by the parasha, but very personal as well

Beautiful work exploring Judah's part in Vayigash, created by a workshop particpant

A papercut about reconciliation, one of the parasha's themes

We always end workshops with time to share our work with each other

Rabbi Jason Gwasdoff at work on his paper midrash

Cantorial Soloist Lindy Passer with congregants at work on one of the four community tallitot we made

Having fun getting messy, making tallitot!

Local celebrity Mel making his mark on the Etz Chaim tallit

Painting in the atara for a community tallit

"Shirat HaYam" community tallit

"Vine and Fig Tree" community tallit

"Who Orders the Universe" community tallit
Our papercutters with their finished paper midrash artwork

Part of our community tallit team with the "Etz Chaim" tallit