Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Sara Greenberg was not always into kabbalah, though she was always an artist. From pencil drawings she graduated to more complicated mediums, such as charcoal, pastel, watercolor, tempera and her favorite, oil paint. This path eventually led her to graduate as valedictorian from The Cooper Union School of Art, Architecture and Engineering in New York City with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.

Greenberg became religious after her then-boyfriend, now husband, began to look into what Judaism was all about in college. He was directed to a rabbi in Maplewood, New Jersey, and from there the Greenbergs’ Jewish journey began. Over the next four years they studied various texts, including kabbalah, and became more religious, even though that was not their original intention.

Greenberg believes art’s role in Judaism “would be to stimulate our imaginations and concretize knowledge by engaging our senses and reveal beauty in a tangible way. And if possible, inspire a greater longer for a connection to the Divine.” She feels there is a connection between art and kabbalah, and explained, “Kabbalah is sometimes described as the underpinnings of Creation. The word means ‘that which is received,’ and contains the mystical aspects of our material world and the connections that all things share which make them one entity. Art is the expression of human creative skill in a visual form producing works that we can appreciate for their beauty or emotional power. So there is a connection between art, which illuminates the wonders of the world, and the kabbalah, which reveals it, and they go hand in hand.”

Greenberg wants to share this connection with the broader community, and will be leading a four week workshop, “Art Through the Lens of Kabbalah,” in September at Café Klarbucks at the Lubavitch Center of West Orange. No experience with art or kabbalah is necessary. Each lesson will be 90 minutes and supplies will be included. Greenberg asserted that “in my classes, you will learn how to see and express your vision on canvas while receiving individualized instruction. I’ll share kabbalistic insights on art and creation, drawing on ideas from our most ancient mystical heritage to provide context and practical tools for painting and beyond. We will learn to paint, as we learn to see.” She expects “participants to gain an understanding of the basics of drawing and painting, as well as greater knowledge of our mystical heritage as well as confidence in their ability to express themselves in an artistic way with tangible results.”

For more information or to register, contact [email protected]

By Dassie Okin

Dassie Okin is from West Orange. She is currently a rising junior at Stern College and a summer intern at The Jewish Link.