Hillel Smith is an artist and designer from Los Angeles, now based in Washington, DC. Focusing on expanding the boundaries of Jewish art, he revitalizes ancient rituals with projects in contemporary media, encouraging creative reconsideration of religious practice. He has painted dynamic Jewish murals around the world and is the founder of the Jewish Street Art Festival. He is fascinated by Hebrew typographic history and teaches about the interaction of technology, identity, and design.
2020, installed in the beit midrash at Northwest Yeshiva High School, Seattle
29ft x 3ft, latex paint on wood board.
This mural represents the burning bush, where Moshe answered the call to be a leader: “hineni” — here I am. The entire student body at Northwest Yeshiva High School helped paint, and when the background was complete, each student and faculty member wrote the word Hineni on the mural with shiny gloss, committing themselves to being present in their community and in the world beyond.
Simchat Torah mural
2015, installed on the rear wall of Westwood Kehilla, Los Angeles
25ft x 16ft, latex paint and spray paint on cinderblock.
Westwood Kehilla, and its surrounding neighborhood, is home to Ashkenazi and Sephardi/Mizrachi congregants. This mural was intended to convey the inclusiveness of the community and their joyful spirit as they celebrate Judaism. The figure on the left is holding a Sephardi torah, while the figure in the middle holds an Ashkenazi torah. The mural overlooks the back patio of the building, creating a festive environment for the children’s play area and the outdoor kiddush tables, and welcoming all who drive past.