RABBIS

"Spanish Rabbi", Oil on monoprint collage, 24" x 12", 2011

"Spanish Rabbi", Oil on monoprint collage, 24" x 12", 2011

"The Twelve Tribes", Oil on monoprint collage, 24" x 12", 2011

I am a rabbi painter. What started off as a doodle I did while studying at a yeshiva in Jerusalem in 1994 has become my most consistent and popular image.

I've been a portrait painter since 1986, when I started creating "forehead portraits" that captured my subjects—including real and imaginary people, historical figures, animals, and Sesame Street's Bert—from the eyes up.

In 1994, the rabbi portraits were a spiritual and stylistic breakthrough for me. The elongated, bearded visage of the rabbis conveyed so much history and so much wisdom, I felt that I couldn't do justice to them without giving them mouths. So with these rabbi portraits, I began to expand my cropped portraits to represent more of the face.

I haven't stopped painting my fictitious rabbis since I started. My relationship to them is always changing, but they all tend to walk the fine line between being reverent and being playful. Sometimes the power is in the juxtaposition of who the rabbi is paired with. In Tolerance, Bert and the Rabbi have settled their differences because they have each come to accept who the other really is. Sometimes they must confront serious issues by engaging in meaningful dialogue. Putting The Rabbi, the Imam and the Nun Together on the Brooklyn Bridge envisions such a dialogue. And a painting like The Bar Mitzvah of Jesus Christ recognizes the interconnectedness of all religious faiths. The Rabbi with Gumballsequates gumballs to a peace offering, an offering that can be seen as overly idealistic or naive. But I would respond that the pursuit of peace is always worthwhile regardless of how unattainable it may seem.

"Rabbi Blessing a Basketball (Bar-Mitzvah invitation for Aidan Schmall)", Oil on wood, 28" x 14", 2015

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A Strange Dream That Never Ended, collage, 2020

"Rabbi", Oil on wood, 1994

"Tolerance", Woodcut, 1998
Available on limited edition prints page

"Rabbi With Pigeon - Find Us Peace", Monoprint, 22" x 30", 2008

"Rabbi Lincoln at the Brooklyn Bridge", Oil on monoprint collage, 26" x 16", 2013

"Cousins", Oil on Canvas, 2002

"An Ostrich with Pear Trying to Impress a Rabbi", Monoprint 22"X30", 2004

"The Bar Mitzvah of Jesus Christ", Oil on monoprint collage, 48" x 48", 2000

"Rabbi Lost in Flowers", Monoprint, 14" x 18", 2007

"Rabbi in Red under Blue Moon",
Monoprint, 8" x 32", 2007

"A Peace Offering",
Oil on monoprint collage on wood, 14" x 24", 2002

"The Encounter: Beagle with Pomegranate Meets Rabbi", Oil on wood, 2005

"A Rabbi, a Nun, and an Imam
Together on the Brooklyn Bridge" ,
Monoprint, 2007

"Rabbi Dancing Home",
Monoprint, 14" x 18", 2007

"Rabbi leaving Mataro, Spain in 1492", Oil on wood, 18" x 24", 2011

"A Rabbi, a Nun, and an Imam Lost in Flowers" ,
Oil on a monoprint collage, 2007

"Dancing Rabbi in Red", 
Monoprint, 27" x 19", 2003

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"A Rabbi, a Nun, and an Imam
Together on the Brooklyn Bridge" ,
Oil on monoprint collage, 2011