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Teaneck Artists Take Top Honors at Partnership2Gether Art Show

Four Teaneck artists, Chani Jaskoll, Daniele Kaplan, Natalia Kadish, and Glenn Lesnick, have been chosen from over 40 entrants as winners of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey Partnership2Gether Third Annual Art Show. The exhibit began at the JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly and moved to the Belski Museum of Art and Science on April 10. It will continue there until May 4, 2014.

The theme of this year’s show is “Water: the Essence of our Lives.” The show has been videotaped and will travel, along with the winners, to Nahariya, JFNNJ’s sister city, where over 50 Israeli artists will exhibit art on the same theme.

Galeet Lipke, coordinator of the JFNNJ Partnership2Gether Community and Medical Program, said submissions doubled from last year as artists have become aware of the show and want to combine their love of art with love of Israel. Partnership2Gether connects professionals from Northern New Jersey with their counterparts in Nahariya—including artists, educators, physicians, and lawyers—to foster relationships and share best practices. The Artists Partnership committee is co-chaired by volunteer Susan Penn.

Curator of the show, Sheryl Intrator Urman, also a Teaneck resident, said the artists were given a prospectus with guidelines on creating art that fused the theme of water with Israel and/or Judaism.

“We gave the artists suggestions, such as interpret visually what the Torah says about water or how water is mentioned in our prayers. I didn’t want submissions from artists who said they liked going to the beach.”

The artists also had to write a statement about how their art interpreted the theme, and it was evaluated along with the artistic merit of their work. The competition was judged by a committee including Urman, past winners of the competition, and Anita Duquette, a specialist from the Whitney Museum.

Urman said it was important to her that the artwork spoke to the mission of the Partnership: a connection to Israel and to Judaism. The four artists who were chosen were all influenced strongly by Jewish thought.

Chani Jaskoll, who has taught art at SAR for 30 years, said she loves to paint in watercolors and is inspired by New Jersey and Israel. Her work, “Creation,” shows “how God takes Shamayim and separates land and water.”

Glenn Lesnick used several techniques to create “Blue, White and Water,” a photograph that shows rain drops, with reflections of the Israeli flag, forming a heart. In his statement, Lesnick said, “The droplets remind us that as Jews, no matter where we are or what we have been through, as scattered as water throughout the world, Israel is reflected within our heart.” Lesnick, who studied photography intensively for several years, is a Certified Professional Photographer, the only one in Teaneck, he said. Lesnick also runs a photography club for students at TABC and the boys often ask if a photographer is an artist. “Photography is a merging of technical and artistic skills,” he said. “A photo must capture emotion, stir memory, or remind you of hopes and dreams.” He entered the competition to combine his two passions: Israel and photography. He is looking forward to visiting Israel and plans to document the trip with his photos.

Daniele Kaplan, an art therapist, writer, and illustrator of children’s books, works in many different media. Her entry, “Water’s Heartbeat,” is a multi-media depiction of a cloud and raindrops, inspired by Tefillat Geshem, the prayer for rain recited on Sukkot. She is looking forward to having “an intense art experience” in Nahariya.

Natalia Kadish, who calls herself a “surrealist artist inspired by the joy received from learning Torah and contemplating the infinite,” created a work with drops of water representing spirituality, inspired by the pasuk, “Hashem opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing.”

The Partnership2Gether Art Show was born when Urman was chosen as the first artist representative of the JFNNJ in 2011. She went to Israel with Federation representatives from the Midwest, who were twinning with the Northern Gallilee, and then visited and worked with artists from Nahariya. At that first visit, Urman attended an art show with over 2,000 visitors. When she returned she suggested that the JFNNJ and Nahariya have simultaneous art shows in which American winners would travel to Israel and Israelis would come to America. The first show was held for one day at the Federation’s Paramus office. Last year the exhibit moved to the JCC and the Belski museum. All winners chosen to travel to Nahariya are subsidized by the Federation.

On April 29, artists who represented JFNNJ in Nahariya talked about their experiences in a presentation at the Closter Library, adjacent to the Belski Museum, and a video of Israeli art was on display. For more information about the art show, contact Galeet Lipki at [email protected].

In addition to being curator of the Partnership2Gether exhibit, Urman, an artist and art educator, is curating a show for the “Salute to Women in the Arts” and has work in the Gallery at Riverside. She is the founder of Art for Learning LLC, now in its 17th year, offering classes in drawing and painting to adults and children and weekly art, fashion, and travel summer camp sessions. She also gives lectures on art history, and leads group tours to museums. For more information, contact http://www.sherylintrator.com.

By Bracha Schwartz

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