“If you believe” transformed us from an audience to a chorus accompanying Julie Geller as she sang her final song at the Kabbalah Coffeehouse for our art show this past Sunday. There is a power in participating—meeting the artist with your appreciation and exuberance. Julie on guitar, accompanied by Ari Hoffman on drums, kept the mood joyous as we also listened to the provocative and at times perturbing poetry of Carolyn Steele and Joan Manheimer.
The most often comment I heard or overheard during the first few days, “I came because it was a Kabbalah Experience event, but I didn’t expect the art to be so wonderful.” Kudos to Niza Knoll, gallery owner and former KE student, and to the students of KE whose remarkable, creative talent is on display (and for sale) through July 14th. If you were not able to attend the opening events, visit the gallery (Niza Knoll Gallery, 915 Sante Fe Drive) or attend our free workshops the afternoon of Wednesday July 11th.
I spoke briefly at the Sunday event about an entry in Rabbi David Kimchi’s Book of Hebrew Roots (1160-1235) on the Hebrew word for artist—the word is the same as the Hebrew for Amen. Kimchi writes that the Hebrew root Alef-Mem-Nun has four meanings.
4. Artistry or creativity
We linked the capacity to be creative and take risks to the first three definitions. Finding strength within oneself, having faith that it will work out and nurturing the process along (and being nurtured by others) allow for the chaos that is inevitable in the creation process to find form. The Kabbalah informs us to take literally the phrase, “and it was chaos” (the second verse in Genesis) meaning God first creates chaos and then orders and organizes it into the structures we know. So too, it is the task of every artist to shape the inchoate notes, beads, dabs of color or scraps of metal into a harmonious (or a-harmonious) non-chaotic form. This can also apply in the art of sculpting—bringing out the form from denseness—the chaos in sculpting is to not see how the form can emerge from its embedded state.
Our artists have uplifted us all—giving us strength, renewing our faith and nurturing us. Now it is our turn to be creative. And to risk taking (in art and in life) let us all say, Amen.