Congregation Beth Shalom will host a festival this week showcasing more than 1,500 works of Israeli art, including original oil and watercolor paintings, lithographs, etchings and woodcuts, at the synagogue.
All the art, which will be on exhibit from Sept. 22 to 25, comes from the Safrai Gallery in Jerusalem and will be available for purchase.
“The only other way of seeing such a large quantity of Israeli art is to come to Israel,” said gallery owner Menachem Safrai, whose grandfather founded the business in 1935.
The artworks range in price as well as style, and represent about 100 different artists. All the artists, with the notable exception of Marc Chagall, are Israeli.
“We have woodcuts from the turn of the century as well as new up-and-comers who came to Israel from Russia.
It is a mix of the old and the new,” Safrai said.
Safrai Gallery brings its art as a fundraiser to various synagogues and Jewish organizations throughout the United States several times a year. This particular visit included a two-day show in Akron, Ohio, Safrai said.
This will be Beth Shalom’s first Festival of Israeli art, according to Carrie Fogel, communications specialist at the synagogue.
“We heard about the opportunity that Safrai Gallery offers to cities that want to expose their citizenship to Israeli art, and we just ran with it,” Fogel said.
The events included in the festival are varied and aimed at involving different factions of the community.
The opening of the festival, which will be held Thursday night, is a ticketed event open to the show’s sponsors and contributors.
Friday through Sunday, the festival will be free and open to the public, said Marlene Silverman, who, along with Bernice Meyers, is co-chairing the festival.
The Friday morning event is co-hosted and sponsored by other non-profit organizations, including other area synagogues.
An Israeli café featuring food and music will highlight Saturday night’s event. Beth Shalom Cantor Ben Rosner will sing, accompanied by Jonathan Weinkle on guitar.
Sunday’s activities will be family-friendly, featuring supervised children’s art projects.
“This is about a festive Israeli event,” said Fogel. “The Jewish community around Pittsburgh has varied interests in the State of Israel. This is a way to bring Israel to the backyard of Pittsburgh. This could have been just a sale, but we wanted it to be an event.”
Silverman and Meyers and their cadre of volunteers have worked hard to be inclusive of the community, Silverman said.
“Whenever you have an event that involves as many people as possible, you have a successful event. Hopefully, the community will join us in celebrating,” she said.
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Want to go?
Where: Congregation Beth Shalom, 5915 Beacon St.
Schedule of events:
Thurs., Sept. 22: open to patrons and sponsors, 6 to 9 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 23: organization day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 24: Israeli café and Selichot service, 7 to 10 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 25: open gallery day, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.