Siona Benjamin – Torah Arks + Bima Cover

Congregation Ohev Shalom Ark Curtain and Table Cover

In September 2020 a new Ark curtain and table cover was installed for the central prayer table, at Congregation Ohev Shalom in Wallingford PA. The commission was designed and crafted by artist Siona Benjamin and Rabbi Jeremy Gerber provided teaching and guidance on this project.

Many symbols and meanings fill this Torah Ark curtain and Torah table cover. The curtain design tells the story of Joseph and his technicolor dream coat.  It talks of his trials and tribulations and his triumph in becoming a successful immigrant in a foreign land. There are hidden symbols and meanings that populate the tapestry. These symbols flow into the table cover, thus linking the two together. From the seven sheaves of wheat to the hidden menorah in the tree branches, the meanings behind all these make the tapestry rich in color and tells the story with elegance. 

Torah Ark

Acrylic paint, 22K gold leaf and mixed media on a specially designed and constructed Torah Ark for a high school in New York 2009

As a Bene Israel Jew from India now living in the United States, I am a Jewish artist creating cross cultural and transcultural art. My perspective bridges the traditional and the modern, and sparks discourse across cultures. Having grown up in a Hindu and Muslim society, educated in Catholic and Zoroastrian schools, raised Jewish in India, and now calling America home, I have always had to reflect on cultural boundary zones.

Siona Benjamin has an MFA in painting from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Illinois, and an MFA in theater set design from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign. She has exhibited in the United States, Europe and Asia. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2011 to India, and a second Fulbright fellowship in 2016-17 to Israel. As not just a Jewish artist but also as one who crosses cultural boundaries, she’s received praise in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Financial Times, The Boston Globe, Art in America, Art New England, Art and Antiques, ArtNews, Moment magazine, The Times of India, The Mumbai Mirror, Marg Magazine, and other publications. Her multicultural art has also been featured in The Jewish Week in New York City and New Jersey, The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, and other publications.

Siona Benjamin is based in Northern New Jersey USA