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The Jewish Artists Initiative (JAI) is an artist-run organization committed to fostering visual art by Jewish artists and promoting dialogue about Jewish identity and related issues among members of the arts community.

Mission and History

JAI was originally conceived by the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles in partnership with the University of Southern California Casden Institute and the USC Roski School of Art and Design. We are now under the fiscal sponsorship of the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity.

JAI Executive Committee: Bill Aron, Melinda Smith Altshuler, Georgia Freedman-Harvey, Gilah Yelin Hirsch, Anne Hromadka, Avi Roth and Ruth Weisberg, Chair

Artists – you're welcome to apply for JAI membership. Please follow the instructions in our Selection Criteria for New Members, thank you.

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19 artist members of JAI were divided into five teams to create mural size artworks for the Biennale. Below is a listing of the artists on each team and the titles of their work. Mazel Tov to all the artists who worked so hard with such splendid results.


Co-Curators: Georgia Freedman-Harvey and Anne Hromadka Greenwald 

Human Rights
Renee Amitai / Nancy Goodman Lawrence / Marleene Rubenstein / Doni Silver Simons 

 Civil Rights 
Ellen Cantor / Judy Dekel / Elena Mary Siff / Melinda Smith Altshuler 

 Political Polarization 
Susan Gesundheit / Jackie Nach / Debra Sokolow 

Lorraine Bubar / Karen Frimkess Wolff / Randi Matushevitz / Cathy Weiss 

Bill Aron / Marisa Mandler / Avi Roth / Ruth Weisberg 


JB2017 officially opened on Sunday, October 1st with a reception held at the Bezeq Building where the JAI exhibition is on view. Our exhibit has been very well received and Co-Curators Anne and Georgia were invited to meet with press from a number of foreign countries on Monday, October 2nd.

Four of the murals are displayed in the large room we were given, and we were also able to display many of the preliminary sketches and working layouts as well. The fifth mural was given its own space leading into the room and sets the tone for the exhibition. We have had a great deal of positive feedback about the JAI exhibition.

Bruria Finkel in conjunction with the Jewish Art Salon of NY will be participating in the 3rd Jerusalem Biennale: Oct. 1 - Nov. 16, 2017.

Salt Mound: A symbolic installation artwork addressing the deterioration of the Dead Sea and its slow demise. Images of the deterioration process, ecological, political, extractions of minerals and religious issues are displayed. A Salt Mound 4' x 6' in a box, a water element will drip down onto the mound of salt symbolizing the slow drip of the Jordan River into the Dead Sea, which will create craters in the mound, and a video projection of her trip to Jericho. The exhibition will travel to the Derfner Judaica Museum in NY.

Running in Circles, Exploring Geometry in Contemporary Art

Rebecca Molayem Gallery & Studio
Curated by Dale Youngman

November 4 to December 2
Opening Reception: Saturday, Nov. 4 from 7 to 10 pm

Featured Artists:
Barbara Carter, Michael McCall, Jeff Iorillo, Ted Meyer, Campbell Laird,
Bill Sherwood, Nancy Goodman Lawrence, and Rebecca Molayem

Rebecca Molayem Gallery & Studio
481 S. Fairfax Ave.
L.A., CA 90036
Tues. - Sat., 11 to 6



I am pleased to announce the launch of a new video combining Craig Taubman’s beautiful music with some of my photographs, our second venture - click to view. Craig’s voice and guitar gently play the healing song, Mi Shebeirach, a prayer for all healing, from colds to heart attacks to cancer. I hope you are as moved as I was in helping to produce this short video. – Bill Aron

Welcome to JAI's newest Artist Member: Ted Meyer

Artist, curator, and patient advocate Ted Meyer finds artistic inspiration in the adversity of the patient experience. In his 2016 TEDMED Talk - click to view - Ted shares how communicating patients' stories through art can help healthcare providers to gain a more complete understanding of their patients' pain, loneliness, and frustration.

The Human Element Project by JAI Artist Lori Shocket, MD - created for the purpose of
"developing partnerships through education, creative exploration and exhibitions."

Congratulations to JAI artist Bruria Finkel for having her papers accepted by the Smithsonian | Archives of American Art


Collection Information

Size: 12.1 linear feet

Summary: The papers of California artist, curator, and educator Bruria Finkel measure 12.1 linear feet and date from 1953 to 2014. This collection includes biographical materials, correspondence, writings, project files, professional records, exhibition files, artists' files, personal business records, printed materials, photographic materials, sound and video cassettes, and numerous electronic discs.

Biographical/Historical Note

Bruria Finkel (1932- ) is an artist, teacher and curator in Santa Monica, California.


The Bruria Finkel papers were donated in 2015 by Bruria Finkel.

The Conney Conference on Jewish Arts was co-sponsored by the USC Initiative for Israeli Arts and Humanities and the University of Wisconsin's Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies – held during the 4th week of March on the campus of USC. JAI Members played a major role in its success as 12 Artist or Curatorial members participated in or gave presentations.

Participating JAI members included: Bill Aron, Stacie Chaiken, Josh Feldman, Gilah Yelin Hirsch,
Andrea Hodos, Anne Hromadka, Rachel Kupferman, Sagi Refael, Lidia Shaddow,
Doni Silver Simons, Hillel Smith, Ruth Weisberg, Jana Zimmer