Ellen Holtzblatt – Amen Institute’s Artist of the Week 

In the Amen Institute’s Fellow Program artists are assigned a portion of the Torah to inspire a visual artwork and they are paired up with a Rabbinic fellow to study this portion with, where together they work through important theological and spiritual questions that come from this biblical text. 

Creative Articulation Featuring Ellen Holtzblatt and Rabbi Bronwen Mullin

On Wednesday December 8th at 7:30 p.m., we will be hearing from Ellen Holtzblatt and Rabbi Bronwen Mullin about their studies on Parashat Vayigash. They explore Torah from a deeply personal lens; get a peak into the creative minds of these emotionally sensitive creatives.
Link to the event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/231235632457195?ref=newsfeed

Ellen Holtzblatt                                                                                                                           As One That Found Peace 
Piece DescriptionIn the parshah, Vayigash, Joseph reunites at first with his brothers and then with his father.  “As One That Found Peace” is an ink drawing of the artist’s mother that explores the struggles of family relationships through imagery and the art making process, which includes tearing paper and pulling away layers.  Although this creates an impression of transparency and fragility, the paper and drawing maintain their underlying integrity and essence.                                    
Discussion Questions:
1. Ellen Holtzblatt depicts Jacob in the image of her own mother. How does reading biblical narratives from a deeply personal place serve as an effective interpretive tool? Who would you replace Ellen’s mother with if you were telling your own Joseph story?

2. In studying the story and looking at this piece, what do you think the main subject is clasping onto? What do you imagine are the thoughts running through her head?
   3. How do you interpret the phrase “As One That Found Peace”? Is there dissonance between this title and the image it depicts?

4. The emotional tenderness of this piece is accentuated through several artistic techniques. How do the tearing, shading and line techniques enhance the meaning of the piece? Meditate on one line, tear or shadow and describe it. What does it evoke in you? How does it interact with the rest of the piece? 
Artist Bio                                     
Ellen Holtzblatt’s art explores connections between the physical and the spiritual – the memories of the body that reside in the soul. Holtzblatt exhibits her work across the United States and internationally. Recent exhibits include the Jerusalem Biennale and the Museum of Biblical Art in New York. She has attended artist residencies in the U.S. and Iceland. Holtzblatt earned degrees in visual art and art therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

To see more art by Ellen: https://www.ellenholtzblatt.com/
Follow Ellen on Instagram: @ellenholtzblatt
Artist-Rabbi Chevrutah Pair
Rabbi Bronwen Mullin   
Jersey City, NJ, United States
                                           Rabbi Bio:  Rabbi Bronwen Mullin, a Philadelphia native, received Rabbinic Ordination from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America. R’ Bronwen served as the first-ever appointed Rabbinic Artist-in-Residence at both the Jewish Theological Seminary and Town & Village Synagogue, creating diverse cultural events for and cultivating artistic community within the larger Jewish community.  R’Bronwen is also the co-founder of Meta-Phys Ed, a multidisciplinary performance group wrestling with religious texts.

Sermon of Rabbi: 
Read her sermon inspired by her studies with Ellen Holtzblatt later this week on The Amen Institute’s website

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