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JAS Artists Beit Midrash

The Jewish Art Salon presents an Artists Beit Midrash.

Update March 18, 2020: sessions will be continued online, including virtual studio visits.

The theme: Pardes: Encountering the Divine

“Four entered the Divine Orchard; one died, one went mad, one lost his faith and one emerged unscathed.”
Pardes is the Talmudic story (Chagigah 14b) of the search for mystical revelation. We will explore these Talmudic tales, mystical literature (Hekhalot) and other narratives of Divine encounters.


J.A.S. Members and Community Synagogue members sign up here.

Non-members register here


Each two-hour session will feature three components, each 40 minutes: Jewish Art History; Textual and commentary study; Art discussion and criticism.

Participants: Practicing artists who want to create Jewish-themed visual art. Artists working in any and all media, and at every skill level, are welcome. No knowledge of Jewish texts or Hebrew required.

Each participant will have the opportunity to react personally to the text, working in the art form of their choice, and to offer and receive responses to their work.

The course will culminate in an art exhibition in the Spring.

We may add extra-curricular activities, such as having dinner together afterwards at an East Village restaurant. Collaborations and out-of-the box thinking will be encouraged.

About the instructors

A native of Lower Manhattan, Rabbi Gavriel Bellino of the Community Synagogue studied at Yeshivat Shalavim outside of Jerusalem before getting his degree in Psychology, Philosophy and Women’s Studies from Brandeis University. 

Rabbi Bellino diversifies approaches and experiences to make Judaism more accessible to the entire community through programs like his Foundations of Judaism class, and his inspiring musical havdallah service. 

His intellectual approach is diverse and ecumenical; he draws from such a wide net and boils down complex ideas into easily digestible points. You may be able to find him at a nearby underground coffee or beer shop, or possibly at a local boxing gym. 

Richard McBee

Richard McBee is a painter of Biblical subject matter and writer on Jewish Art.

Since 2000 he has written on the Jewish Arts for the Jewish Press and other publications, and continues to exhibit paintings, lecture and curate Jewish art exhibitions.

He is founding member of the Jewish Art Salon, and frequently curates exhibits.

His website exhibits over 300 of his artworks and 250 of his Jewish Art reviews.

Ally Pockrass

Ally Pockrass is an artist, curator/art historian, and active Jewish community member based in Manhattan. She received her M.A. in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 2017, where she wrote her thesis on the Jewish Museum’s origins in the Jewish Theological Seminary. 

Prior to NYU, Ally got her BFA in Painting & Drawing and Art History. 

At SAIC, she wrote a thesis highlighting the Jewishness of the feminist artists Hannah Wilke and Anita Steckel. 

Ally has curated, juried, and managed multiple exhibitions in Chicago and New York including One in Herself at Woman Made Gallery, B’nai Jeshurun’s Centennial Celebration exhibit, and Sukkahwood 5780. 

Her art has been displayed in multiple Chicago galleries and is currently a Base Artist in Resident Fellow at the Base Manhattan. Ally is also a freelance writer, having been published at, where she’s written about art and Jewish femininity. 

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