This month’s art exhibition features the work of Elyssa Wortzman, who explores the ideas of individualism and empathy through the lens of sacrifice. The following introduction is by the artist in her own words. To return to this month’s online art exhibition, please visit the Sh’ma homepage.
“My interest lies in how the biblical idea of sacrifice (animal, human) has been transformed through psychology, mysticism and contemporary culture and what meaning “sacrifice” has today in terms of our connectivity to and ability to empathize with each other, our bodies, emotions and psyche, and our dreams, personal and collective. How can offering something up (i.e., ego, time, hopes) become the opening to receive more (i.e., children, love, insight, wisdom) or a narrowing for receiving less (i.e., eating disorders, isolation, depression, marginalization)? How can we reframe our perspective on the daily “sacrifices” we make to come closer to our authentic selves, to others and to the mystery of life? In what “little ways” are we sacrificing our vital energy to maintain standards or ideals imposed by others?”
Elyssa Wortzman is an artist, Jewish Spiritual Director and developer of award winning Jewish cultural programs. Elyssa was invited to be among the first artist-in-residences at ArtKibbutz, The Jewish Waltz with Planet Earth retreat. Recent solo exhibitions include Sanctity Through Sacrifice, at the Koslowe Judaica Gallery at Westchester Jewish Center (2012/2013) and Process Theology at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center (2012). Elyssa is currently developing an arts-based embodied curriculum for spiritual growth for tweens and teens called JewSTU, which received a grant in the category of Innovation in 2012 from UJA’s Westchester Program Services Cabinet. She is also completing her Doctorate of Ministry in Jewish Spiritual Direction through the Graduate Theological Foundation in the area of art as a spiritual path, particularly regarding teen engagement. Her career includes acting as a legal and business advisor and project director for museums in North America, including the Guggenheim, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada. www.elyssawortzman.com firstname.lastname@example.org