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Jewish Ritual as Rebellion: Exhibition closing & artist talk with Naomi Rose Weintraub

Saturday June 29 * 4-7pm * RSVP

EXHIBITION RUNS FROM JUNE 23-30

הִנֵּה מַה טוב ומַה נָעִים שֶבֶת אַחִים גַם יָחַד

Hineh Mah tov umah na’im shevet achim gam yachad.
Here! What good! What sweetness! Siblings, friends and comrades sitting together!

When we embrace ritual, we stand in the threshold between
community and isolation,
sacred and profane,
this moment and our history.

Ritual is not just a veneration of what we hold dear, but a daily choice to build the world we choose to live in. By practicing and holding on to that which roots us in our dreams, values, and history we relinquish our role in upholding normalcy.

Join this rebellion against all we have been told is inevitable.

This multimedia installation was first created for the Senior Thesis Art Show at Clark University in Worcester, MA. The installation combines hand-drawn animations, found-audio, and ritual objects.

Pairing my artistic practice with the rituals that my ancestors passed on to me, I have been able to search the depths of my tradition for answers on how to embrace the immense transition our society is going through. Our dominant system discourages us from slowing down, changing course, and letting go. I believe that by reconnecting, researching, and re-imagining our ancestral traditions and rituals, we are able to root ourselves in vulnerability and wisdom.

How is ritual an act of rebellion?  I believe that rebellion is about making everyday choices in a path that is rooted in values of justice, love, and collective liberation. Partaking in ritual requires us to pause, reconnect with our history, and revel in our present. Ritual is a full-body expression of hereness. When we look back to our ancestral rituals we learn about survival, connection, and transformation. As a Jewish queer person living in America, when I choose to continue my ancestral traditions, I am turning my back on assimilation into the world of “normalcy” and choosing these paths of rebellion. This work asks us: How are we embodying ritual as an act of rebellion?

The concept of reinventing ritual is not new. For centuries, artists have used both secular and spiritual ritual to understand the small choices and actions that make up their community and life. This work is autobiographical. As I engage with my piece I join the artists, teachers, grandmothers and naysayers of my tradition who have challenged the world and their community by reshaping the rituals that make up their lives.

Ritual is the mundane moments that make up our lives. When something is “ritualized” it becomes apart of our routine and our habits. Rituals have power because they put our values in action. When we become aware of our rituals, we pause to remember why we do what we do.

Making work that is intimate and cultural was not only healing, but rather magical at times. My process for making this work was a non-linear journey; looking back to my traditions taught me a lot about myself, and my artistic practice. This year, I was able to find ways to use creative expression and art to provide healing and care for my community.

In fall 2019, I co-founded with two other activists and creators the collective Rebellious, Anarchist, Young, Jews, (RAYJ). We are a small collective that aims to work within our community to celebrate our culture, explore our values, and heal. We work for collective liberation by rejoicing in ourselves, fighting against anything that stops our joy, and striving to partner with other communities who do the same. Through inspiration and support from RAYJ, I am reminded that when I choose to engage with themes that I have intimate, cultural knowledge of I am able to create work which is honest, vulnerable, and speaks louder than words.

When I immerse myself in my installation, I treasure my project as a rebellion in itself. Like the artists before me, my work invites viewers to join me so together we can break Christian hegemony’s control of time, memory, food, and family. As I come to understand my piece as an act of resistance, I know it only teaches me that my ancestors resisted dominant society too. I am enacting their rituals as much as I am enacting mine. Thus, through this piece and my daily ritual practice, I am reigniting the rebellion that my ancestors began before me.

Earlier Event: June 29
Workshop: Introduction to Weaving
Later Event: June 29
Concert: Sam Newsome / tba