Exhibit Catalog Online catalog for the Kol Haot exhibit during the Jerusalem Biennale of 2021

48: Creative Quarantine

In order to make space for creation during the intense third lockdown during winter at the beginning of 2021, Kol Haot invited 48 artists to work in quarantine, for two days each, in this beautiful Jerusalem studio.

The artists came from widely varied locations, backgrounds and mediums. What connected them was a list from Pirkei Avot in the Mishna - the 48 ways to acquire Torah. These items are varied, allowing each artist to embark on a quick but meaningful journey that connected this teaching to their work, their lives, and these strange new circumstances.

Each artist was inspired by their "kinyan”, their item from the list, differently. But everyone shared a deep need for this moment of creation, leading to an array of work that brought us out of the cold (and snowy) isolation into a spring of color, art and inspiration.

Graphic novel artist Matan Cohen at work during his 48 hours

What proceeds are the 48 artworks produced during these three months of artist isolations, along with their connection to the "kinyanim" or ways to acquire Torah.

The artwork is in a variety of media, all presented here digitally. All photos by Yaal Herman.

It was an intense and energizing experience. My topic, clear thinking, is one of my greatest challenges. Having 48 hours to focus without the daily distractions was a gift.

- Linda Lieff Altabef, 13: בְּיִשּׁוּב By clear thinking

Pirkei Avot 6:6 - Greater is learning Torah than the priesthood and than royalty, for royalty is acquired by 30 stages, and the priesthood by 24, but the Torah by 48 things.

  1. By study
  2. Attentive listening
  3. Proper speech
  4. By an understanding heart
  5. By awe
  6. By fear
  7. By humility
  8. By joy
  9. By purity
  10. By attending to the sages
  11. By critical give and take with friends
  12. By fine argumentation with disciples
  13. By clear thinking
  14. By study of Scripture
  15. By study of mishnah
  16. By a minimum of frivolity
  17. By a minimum of preoccupation with worldly matters
  18. By a minimum of pleasure
  19. By a minimum of sleep
  20. By a minimum of chatter
  21. By a minimum of laughter
  22. By long-suffering
  23. By a good heart
  24. By faith in the sages
  25. By acceptance of suffering
  26. One who recognizes their place
  27. Who rejoices in their portion
  28. Who makes a fence about their words
  29. Who takes no credit for themself
  30. Who is loved
  31. Who loves God
  32. Who loves creatures
  33. Who loves righteous ways
  34. Who loves uprightness
  35. Who loves reproof
  36. Who keeps themselves far from honors
  37. Who does not let their heart become swelled on account of their learning
  38. Who does not delight in giving legal decisions
  39. Who shares in the bearing of a burden with their colleague
  40. Who judges with the scales weighted with favor
  41. Who leads them on to truth
  42. Who leads them on to peace
  43. Who composes their heart at study
  44. Who asks and answers, listens and adds,
  45. Who learns in order to teach and learns in order to practice
  46. Who makes their teacher wiser
  47. Who is exact in what they have learned
  48. And who says a thing in the name of they who said it.

1: By Study בתלמוד

Meryl Salpeter

It was hard to ground myself in any one aspect of learning and to really make something of it. But when I sat down in the studio, I realized that what inspired me was the experience in its entirety; being able to sit down and engage fully with your own self through the words of Tanach and Talmud.

2: Attentive listening

Sari Shavit

In his movement piece, Roman Koifman explored the difficult and endless process of editing one's speech, as referenced in the Hebrew word for his kinyan, 3: Proper Speech בעריכת שפתיים
Multidisciplinary artist Savyon was inspired by 3: By An Understanding Heart בבינת הלב to create a 70 page text in Hebrew that progresses visually on the page in a unique way.

"The kinyan that I worked on was 'the wisdom of the heart.' The wisdom of the heart is what everything is made of, especially artistic creations."

5: By Awe ביראה

Devorah Roytenberg Charash

Devorah Roytenberg Charash wove a Talit using the klaf and leather straps from Tefillin as the traditional stripes. The installation is hung from the ceiling forming a wedding canopy that incorporates the words of the “Shma” overhead. Devorah states, “ When one stands under the wedding canopy one steps into a new stage in one’s life, one that connects us to our history and traditions and fills us with awe. Thus, this installation links us to the awe manifested in the words of our Torah.”

6: By Fear ביראה

Noga Harel

The series Ghost Flowers combines metal and embroidery work and is a tribute to the natural world, with all the awe and wonder that it brings to the human soul. The works emphasize the fragile and delicate qualities of nature, hidden until the viewer looks closely.

Glass Artist YARON MAYER and his creation for 7: בַּעֲנָוָה With humility
"I wanted the viewer to experience the various aspects of isolation as they walked through the exhibit, so they would not only see the artwork created in quarantine but also have a quarantine of their own - among art" -- Eli Kaplan Wildmann, Curator and Exhibit Designer

8: With Joy בשמחה - Avigail Fried

In preparing for this project I reviewed various sources found in Jewish liturgy and heritage relating to "Simcha" – happiness, joy. Psalms 100 implores us to "Worship God with happiness." R. Nachman, teaches that "It's a great commandment to be happy," and more. In art (mainly through paintings) I tried to discover if indeed one can express joy via art. Is it possible to convey an emotion such as happiness through art and thereby determine if there is such a thing as a "happy painting."

9: With Purity בטהרה

Chani Goodman Winkler

In looking for the moment of purity in her own life, the artist found it where she meets it from up close - in the water, in the moment of ritual purification. "The ability to shed everything, any outward details, is what allows us to disappear in the water."

10: By Attending To The Sages באמונת חכמים - Judith Anis

More artwork to come!


Yaal Herman