The works in this exhibit are original drawings and Giclee prints from two different series of Prismacolor pencil drawings, created nearly 10 years apart.
The images in the “Song Mandalas” series were inspired by the music and lyrics of the late Debbie Friedman (z’’l), who changed the face of Jewish music and liturgy in the United States and around the world. After Debbie’s untimely passing early in 2011, Rabbi Stuart Kelman gave a eulogy for her (streamed live over the Internet) in which he invited all those who were “attending” her funeral—either in person or virtually—to spend the 30 days of sh’loshim singing her songs, sharing her teachings, spreading her gifts. Because I am an artist, not a musician, I chose to accept this invitation in my own way: by creating works of art that are visual representations of Debbie’s songs. I decided I would create one drawing for each day of sh’loshim—each inspired by a different song. Some of these drawings are inspired by the subject of the song, some by a specific lyric, some by a melody; all of them, I hope, reflect the beautiful energy that Debbie Friedman brought to the world for an all-too-brief time.
Although the Aleph-Bet series may appear self-explanatory, there is a story behind it. The series began during a one-day silent retreat in the spring of 2001, when I drew the image for aleph. Later that year, in the summer, during another silent retreat, I created the image for lamed. Shortly after those retreats, through a connection my mother made, I had an opportunity to exhibit my artwork at the Jewish Community Center of Buffalo, New York (my hometown). Having created images for two letters, I decided that I would create drawings for the rest of the letters of the aleph-bet. The process for creating each images consisted of lots of study to develop a basic understanding of the meaning of the letters. Then I meditated on a letter, visualizing a symbol that reflected my understanding of the spiritual essence of the letter. The images in the series—which I later combined with text are contained in my book Songs of Creation: Meditations on the Sacred Hebrew Alphabet. These images are not intended to convey everything within the letters as each letter has many layers of meanings. For me, these images are not the culmination of my learning but the beginning of it.
About the Artist
Jennifer Judelsohn is an artist, psychotherapist, and educator and the author/illustrator of the book Songs of Creation: Meditations on the Sacred Hebrew Alphabet. She has been drawing luminous mandalas—visionary art in the form of a circle—since 1993, and she also does acrylic paintings, collages and assemblages, and mixed-media artwork. She has exhibited her art in solo and group shows around the country, and her work is in private collections worldwide. She also accepts commissions to create personalized mandalas for b’nai mitzvot, weddings (including creating one-of-a-kind ketubot), birthdays, and other lifecycle events. She supports other artists in the Washington, D.C., area by curating the “Evolution of Art” series.
Jennifer is a licensed clinical social worker in Virginia and Maryland and maintains a private psychotherapy practice in which she works with children, adolescents, adults, and families. She uses a variety of modalities—including art and other expressive therapies—to help her clients deal with developmental and life transitions and lead more soulful lives. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Society for Spirituality and Social Work. She has presented numerous talks, seminars, and workshops on topics ranging from “Artmaking as a Spiritual Practice” to “Illness as a Spiritual Path” at conferences around the United States and Canada.
Jennifer has been working in Jewish education for more than 25 years. She has taught classes and workshops for young children, teens, adults, and families at congregational religious schools all over the Washington metropolitan area and around the country. She also provides teacher training, presenting workshops and seminars on topics such as integrating the arts into the curriculum for other Jewish educators at conferences and professional development events both locally and nationally.
Jennifer currently resides with her husband in Fairfax, Virginia.
To inquire about purchasing artwork,
contact Jennifer Judelsohn at (703) 273-0485 or email@example.com
Visit our website: www.soulworksstudio.com