Midrashic Art

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Not Just for Professionals

Visual midrash is not a form of expression limited only to professional artists. Educators are recognizing the importance of using the visual arts in Jewish education and their value in enlivening biblical texts for students. Scholar and artist Jo Milgrom wrote the pioneering book Handmade Midrash (published in 1999), which offers simple, clear instructions for Jewish expression through the visual arts; it was embraced with enthusiasm by many Jewish educators. In classrooms and Torah study workshops, teachers started using Milgrom's techniques to inspire students to express through art emotions and reactions to biblical stories. Recognizing the value of visual learning as one of many multiple intelligences, the visual arts--and contemporary midrash specifically--are gaining a mainstream place in the Jewish classroom.       

Visual art offers a different way of thinking and knowing, and by adding visual midrash to our literary commentaries, we are turning sacred texts in new ways, with new language, creating new visions.

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Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer is a freelance writer and educator based in Philadelphia. She is the author of two books of plays for children: The Magic Tanach and Other Short Plays and Extraordinary Jews: Staging Their Lives as well as The Creative Jewish Wedding Book.