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CSAIR Community Art Project: “Food from the Heart"

On Sunday, December 12, 2021, we joined artist Joy Langer for the opening of the CSAIR Community Art Project: “Food from the Heart.”  Congregants throughout the synagogue had the opportunity to contribute original works of art based on the following:

  • What Jewish food fills your soul

  • Represent this food visually and what it means to you

The completed collage features recipes, reminiscences, and Jewish texts about the way food connects us with our tradition.

We are pleased to be able to share this project with everyone that is seeing it for the first time, and those that shared their work. 

“Food from the Heart” by Joy Langer: An Annotated Source Sheet for the CSAIR Community Art Project 2021 Compiled by Amelia Wolf

Artist in Residence
Joy Langer is a teaching artist and member of our Hebrew School staff. She created a mixed media work/collage comprised of our submissions in the project.  The collage will live in the kitchen, a place that we hope continues to be a place of gathering, learning, and community spirit.

The funding for the collage was contributed by the Jacobs family in honor of Grandma Sophie, Father Irving, Mother Sylvia, Uncle Howard, Aunt Sookie, and Step-Mother Lillian. All of them taught their family the joy of Jewish food and laughter but more so, the importance of healing broken earth and offering tzedakah to those in need.  

Joy Langer, 2021
“CommUnity Food from the Heart” 
Mixed Media Collage and Acrylic on Canvas
36” X 47”
Members of The Conservative Synagogue of Adath Israel of Riverdale thought about the significance of Jewish food. Amid the pandemic when many were isolated, participants emailed in recipes, stories, and photographs that expressed mouthfuls of memories about love, loss, Jewish culture, family, and community that encompass all senses of the human experience. I brought each image to one Rosh Hashanah Seder table, where the recipes and stories weave throughout. Images, text, and my personal collection of art papers were incorporated into the collage, along with acrylic paint, creating a scene of a table set in front of an abstract Hudson River, here in Riverdale. The cutting of all these papers serves as a metaphor for separation that occurred during this time. The gluing of all the papers resembles the recovery of bringing us back together. Hebrew blessings of special foods and rituals encircle the plates of the special items that are eaten on Rosh Hashanah. Twelve people representing the twelve tribes of Israel surround the feast, sharing, gesturing, and blessing what is in front of them. The various skin tones symbolize our global Jewish community and the beautiful diversity that is our world. People remain faceless, and bodies are uniform, implying that anyone of us could be a part of this story, as we are all interconnected. The table remains opened to the viewer, welcoming them to bring their own experiences to the meal. The creation of this work was not an expression solely from my own experience, but it was me looking through the lens of my community. The process of collaging all the pieces was a reaffirmation that our lives are all intertwined; we are all a piece of one story. My hope is that this artwork will inspire us to get creative in how we might invite more people to our tables to share stories, feast on delicious foods, and build new memories and connections within our community at large.

Thu, June 20 2024 14 Sivan 5784