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Dorene Schwartz-Weitz

Dorene has work in the permanent collections at the Smithsonian National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Newark Museum, Rutgers University amongst others.

Though her first love is painting, for the past 25 years, Dorene has dedicated her life to what she believes is her, ‘Tafkid’, G-d given task; the Mitzvah Kotel project.  As anti-Semitism escalates thoughout the world along with the sharp increase in assimiliation amongst Jews, she feels we must do what we were commanded, as the “chosen” to teach the Torah and commandments. 

The process involves the study of each mitzvah in depth before moving into a visual expression. She may experiment with ideas for two years until an image finally works. Though abstracted, this image must be straightforward so as to be most engaging for the viewer of the mitzvah. She then consults with rabbaim, atheists, non-Jews, fellow artists, friends, and her grandchildren. Then the very involved process of making molds and permanent casts of each sculpture begins. She fully enjoys the visceral feelings of working with all these materials, as much as she did her first sensations and love of clay back in nursery school.

The Mitzvah Kotel project is now on permanent exhibition at the Amud Aish Holocaust Memorial Museum in Brooklyn. Plans for future museums in Crown Heights, Lakewood and Jerusalem are in the works. 

She was the recipient of ongoing grants from the HIPP Foundation for her program where students of Fine Art were trained in portrait drawing and sat with senior citizens and hospital patients, as they listened to their life’s stories while drawing portraits.

She attended Rutgers University for another masters degree, this time as a teacher of Holocaust education after ongoing anti-Semitic death threats and then 9-11.  She developed, coordinated and taught, “Portraits of Survivors”, an internationally recognized and acclaimed interdisciplinary program, where students are educated in Holocaust studies, and after being trained in portraiture, sit with Holocaust Survivors to hear their stories. This program was later adapted for the Jewish communities as, “Portraits of Survivors b’Torah”.  Student’s works have won “Best Teen film”, as well as portraits being exhibited in the White House.

Dorene was one of the Rebbe Menachem Shneerson’s chosen artists.

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