Women of the Book

Created by artist and Torah scribe Shoshana Gugenheim, along with associate curator, Judith Margolis, “Women of the Book” is a collection of 54 original artworks on parchment—one for each of the 54 weekly Torah portions (or, parshiot)—each created by a female artist. In September 2016 the J partnered with the University of Washington Stroum Center for Jewish Studies to bring this stunning art exhibit to the J for its American debut.

Now you can continue to enjoy and learn from the artwork all year, as we share the weekly art and accompanying Torah portion both here and in our lobby.

Parshat Tazria
Artist: Ellen Holtzblatt, USA
“Frugality of language permits delving beneath the outer coats of the stories into a deeper and more mystical realm.”

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Tazria

A discussion about the laws of tumah v’taharah, ritual impurity and purity, is continued.

A woman giving birth should undergo a process of purification, which includes immersing in a mikvah (a naturally gathered pool of water) and bringing offerings to the Holy Temple. All male infants are to be circumcised on the eighth day of life.

Tzaraat (often mistranslated as “leprosy”) is a supra-natural plague, which also can afflict garments. If white or pink patches appear on a person’s skin (dark red or green in garments), a kohen is summoned. Judging by various signs, such as an increase in size of the afflicted area after a seven-day quarantine, the kohen pronounces it tamei (impure) or tahor (pure). A person afflicted with tzaraat must dwell alone outside of the camp (or city) until he is healed. The afflicted area in a garment is removed; if the tzaraat spreads or recurs, the entire garment must be burned.

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