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 Chukat
Artist: Janet Shafner z”l, USA
“The lives of our Biblical ancestors were full of turmoil — sibling jealousy, unhappy marriages, barren women, sexual obsession, murder, rape, incest, but also tender, enduring love, and ecstatic encounters with the Divine.”
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“Take the staff, assemble the community, you and Aaron your brother; and before their eyes, tell the rock to produce its water. You will bring them water out of the rock and thus enable the community and their livestock to drink.”
– Numbers 20:8

Moses is taught the laws of the red heifer, whose ashes purify a person who has been contaminated by contact with a dead body. After forty years of journeying through the desert, the people of Israel arrive in the wilderness of Zin. Miriam dies, and the people thirst for water. God tells Moses to speak to a rock and command it to give water. Moses gets angry at the rebellious Israelites and strikes the stone. Water issues forth, but Moses is told by God that neither he nor Aaron will enter the Promised Land. Aaron dies at Hor Hahar and is succeeded in the high priesthood by his son Elazar.

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