Press Release: From Destruction to Creation

3lech lecha (2)

From Destruction to Creation

After tragic fire, renowned Israeli painter Yoram Raanan’s art book brings Torah to life

Art of Revelation, the forthcoming book by Israeli contemporary artist Yoram Raanan, brings the entire annual cycle of Judaism’s weekly Torah portions to life through an unprecedented array of paintings—emerging from the artist’s personal story of redemption and uncompromising faith.

Less than 15 months after his art studio and about 2,000 of his pieces were destroyed in a fire as Israel was hit by a nationwide wave of blazes, Raanan’s new book showcases his 160 exquisite original paintings on the 54 Torah portions, accompanied by explanations that help readers see layers in the art that may not initially meet the eye.

The weekly Torah portion—a section of the Bible that is chanted by a designated reader in synagogues around the world on the Sabbath, as well as studied privately or in public lectures—is the de facto drumbeat of the Jewish faith. Ranging from the stories of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs, to the Exodus from Egypt, to the 613 commandments, any given week’s portion (also known as a parshah) reminds Jews—and by extension, all of Western civilization—of both their millennia-old roots and their practical daily concerns.

Art of Revelation engages the mind while being a digestible book that will capture the hearts and imaginations of experts and novices who appreciate fine art. Raanan’s paintings reflect the inner dimension of the events, people, laws, and stories of the Torah, speaking in metaphors that slip into viewers’ minds and touch them in a visceral way.

“In the biblical account of creation, we hear repeatedly the words, ‘God said, Let there be…and there was…and God saw that it was good’…God saw and wanted us to see the goodness and beauty of the world,” writes Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the U.K., in a letter of support for Yoram Raanan. “[Yoram] helps us ‘see that it is good,’ showing us the light of holiness and the beauty of being.”

Raanan was commissioned to provide, over a three-year span, a new painting on the subject of each week’s Torah portion. But disaster struck in November 2016, when the fire at his studio in the Judean hills destroyed 40 years of his work.

“My first words to my wife and a few others still trapped inside the village were, ‘well, there goes the studio,’” the artists recalls. “As we were able to evacuate and drive through the still spreading fire in the smoky night air, I realized that this was surely the work of God, and that only good would come from this—even though included in this disaster were all the 160 parshah paintings of the previous three years.”

The result of his strikingly optimistic attitude is the new book, which Raanan calls “the actualization of my desire to share this collection with the world.” This sharing would not have been possible without the foresight of the painter, who before the fire had scanned digital copies of all of his pieces on the Torah portions.

The artist praises the work of his wife and co-author Meira Raanan, who spent “years researching and writing about the biblical understanding and artistic nuances that these visual representations convey. In the year since the fire she has put her results into final form, and now they are here to share with you.” Meira, a teacher of religion and meditation, is working on another book, The Lights of Fire, on the subject of the blessings that have emerged from the fire that destroyed Yoram’s studio and artworks.

“Few artists in the Jewish world today better capture the beauty of holiness, of service of God, and of Judaism as a faith than Yoram Raanan,” writes Rabbi Sacks. “His paintings have inspired me for many years, and I have been moved by the way he has rebuilt after the tragedy of losing his life’s work in the arson attacks that engulfed the Judean Hills outside Jerusalem in November 2016. I am delighted to see Yoram’s work showcased in this way.”

About the author-artist

prophet-sparks-(3)_webYoram Raanan is one of Israel’s most well-known contemporary artists. After graduating in 1975 from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, he traveled and studied throughout Europe and the Near East. He moved to Israel in 1977 and opened his first studio in Jerusalem. Inspired by Israel’s beauty, heritage, and people, Raanan’s art has brought him international acclaim. His paintings are on display in museums, galleries, and collections worldwide. His work often reflects the Bible, nature, and the land of Israel.

Meira Raanan has been teaching and writing about meditation, religion and art for many years. Her interest in the Biblical narrative began with a degree in Jewish studies at McGill University (Montreal) and developed into the study of Chassidut and Kabbala. She is currently working on a new book, The Lights of Fire about the fire that burned down her husband’s studio and a lifetime of art work, and the blessings that have emerged from that disaster.

Title: Art of Revelation: A Visual Encounter with the Jewish Bible
Author: Yoram Raanan and Meira Raanan
ISBN: 978-965-572-500-1
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 237 Price: $ 120
Pub Date: June 1, 2018

Advertisements
Posted in 2018, Art, Books, Religion | Leave a comment

To Our Baby Girl

baby-1512011_640

Dear Baby Girl, my sweet Dorian,

Twenty-five years ago today, you were born into Heaven.  My heart died that day right along with you. I prayed for you, to have you, to hold you.  I wanted you so desperately. I only had you long enough to know that He heard my prayers and then you were gone. Born asleep, never to know the pain that this life holds, but to also never know my complete love for you, which grieves me to this day.

What would you have been like?  Would you have had my eyes, my hair? Would you have liked to watch the birds, too? Would you have been a bashful beauty?  Or, would you have been like your daddy, blue eyes, a sense of humor, an outgoing personality, and able to speak in public?  These are things I will never know.

What I am sure of is that you would have loved to read, just as your sisters and brothers do.  I think that you would have loved My Little Pony, too. Maybe. The others are three against one on that one.

On this day of I miss yous and what would have beens, I wanted to let you know that you are still very much a part of my heart.  The two weeks of grief that I was allowed to have and still be considered normal and not a mental case are long past. Saying good-bye to you has become a part of who I am.  You are not here. I won’t see you again until Heaven, however long or short a time that may be. Until then, my heart cries for you.

I love you, baby girl.  Have a beautiful birthday up there with all of our family. Please hug the folks for me.

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” –Washington Irving

Image Source: Pixabay

Posted in 2018, Anniversary, Babies, Birthdays, Death, Family, Grief, Loss, Trauma | 10 Comments

What Does Your Favorite Summer Activity Say About You?


“You Are Brilliant”


You are easily inspired to think colorful, interesting thoughts. Your ideas are never dull.
You tend to think up the most innovative things. Your mind knows no limits.You are intellectually open-minded. You like your beliefs and ideas being challenged.

You value autonomy and independence. You strongly believe in being free.

What Does Your Favorite Summer Activity Say About You? 

Blogthings: 100’s of Fun, Free Quizzes! 

I saw Vanessa’s quiz results over on Vanessence and had to run over and take the quiz, too. Twins again, Vanessa!

I don’t think that I’m brilliant and I’m not so sure about the being challenged thing either, at least not lately.  Menopause is challenge enough!

I definitely have an independent streak. My mama always called it “hard-headed”!  🙂

Have a blessed Sunday, y’all!
Posted in 2018, Quizzes | 4 Comments

Friendly Fill-Ins

This is a fun meme co-hosted by 15 and Meowing and Four-Legged Furballs. Be sure to visit and join in the fun!

New Friday_Fill-In_Badge 

Here are the fill-ins:

  1. As a child, I feared ______________.
  2. Friday the 13th _____________________.
  3. I think _________ is my best quality.
  4. You can’t go wrong with _________.

thunderstorm-2077667_640

Here are my responses:

As a child, I feared that I would wake up to find that one or both of my parents had died during a domestic dispute.  I was also terrified of thunder.

Friday the 13th is a fun day because of all the people that are superstitious about it.

I think I don’t know what is my best quality.

You can’t go wrong with shrimp and cheesecake. AND, fluffy kitty cats. I just wouldn’t recommend handling them both at the same time. 🙂

 

Our daughter Maggie has a new blog for her furbaby Martha. You can find it at: Martha’s Daily Mews.

Have a blessed weekend, y’all!

 

Image Source: Pixabay

Posted in 2018, Friendly Fill-Ins, Memes | 23 Comments

Friendly Fill-Ins

This is a fun meme co-hosted by 15 and Meowing and Four-Legged Furballs. Be sure to visit and join in the fun!

New Friday_Fill-In_BadgeHere are the fill-ins:

  1. When it is hot, I _____________________.
  2. I am looking forward to _________ this month.
  3. The theme song of my life would be _________.
  4. There is no such thing as _________.

melting-155936_640

Here are my responses:

When it is hot, I feel like I am melting. But, thanks to menopause, I also have really cold cold flashes. So, I get to be cool for a few minutes each day.

I am looking forward to something really big this month. I have waited for years for this. Drum roll, please!

My little sister, the youngest of my parents’ children, will turn 50! Being the good big sister that I am, I am going to make sure she doesn’t forget this one. Haha

The theme song of my life…Hmm, I am going to have to ponder this one a bit. One thing’s for sure, it wouldn’t be My Way. This version of Elvis singing brings tears to my eyes. It was recorded the year that he died.

Our kids turned us on to the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series. I think one of the songs performed by Twilight Sparkle says a lot about how I’ve felt over the course of my life. Well, except for the whole princess bit. I’ve never felt like a princess.

 

There is no such thing as a life without sorrow and grief. It touches all of our lives, to some degree, at some point.

We need to get over this whole “be over it in two weeks” mindset. It takes longer than two weeks for a broken leg to heal, so why shouldn’t a broken heart take longer? If you have lost someone you love, and you truly loved them, you will be living with this loss for the rest of your life. Being expected to be over it in two weeks is a bunch of hooey.

Our daughter Maggie has a new blog for her furbaby Martha. You can find it at: Martha’s Daily Mews.

Have a blessed weekend, y’all!

Image Source: Pixabay

Posted in 2018, Friendly Fill-Ins, Memes | 19 Comments