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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: Joshua Abarbanel, Bill Aron, Melinda Smith Altshuler, Georgia Freedman-Harvey, Carol Goldmark, Gilah Yelin Hirsch, Anne Hromadka, 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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David's Little City, 2015, watercolor on Fabriano Artistico paper, 16" x 20"

Newsy and Breezy


Opening Reception: Saturday, June 27th, 7 - 10 p.m.

Exhibition on view through September 8th

"I am excited to have several pieces (which have never been exhibited before) in this exhibit at the Loft at Liz's"
– Sandra Lauterbach

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




Read the full article here: Meet Pat Berger! in the December issue of Cheviot Living magazine





Dear Friends: I am pleased to announce that one of my artworks, La Sinagoga, Cordoba,
a Polaroid transfer from 1994, is on the cover of a new book: Kabbalistic Revolution: Reimagining
Judaism in Medieval Spain
by Hartley Lachter.

  Hartley Lachter is the Phillip and Muriel Berman Professor of Jewish Studies
and director of the Berman Center for Jewish Studies at Lehigh University.

The book is being published by Rutgers University Press and is available online.





Molested At The Movies: Survivor's Child (Volume 1) Paperback – Large Print, March 24, 2014 by Ms. Simone Z. Gad

Available on Amazon, $18.


Molested At The Movies: Copyright Simone Gad 2014/All Rights Reserved, WGA and Library Of Congress Registered, is a performance-art spoken word play of monologues/vignettes about my growing up as a child of holocaust survivor parents from Poland, our immigration to the US from Brussels, Belgium where I was born, and my stage-mom getting me into show-biz at the tender age of 4 upon our arrival via Ellis Island.

Molested is a dark story with humorous elements, and some French, German, Polish, Yiddish references. It also includes 2 songs from the 1920s, both of which created a major impact upon me during my early years in Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles and Hollywood. I was forced to sing one of them at auditions from childhood thru my teenage years, relentlessly. The other song is in French. My mom would sing it over and over again with her heavy Polish accent, which haunted me.

I did my spoken-word show on-tour in the United States and in Brussels, Belgium from 1998 through 2013, and have included reviews/articles/catalog excerpts as documentations of my performances and exhibitions at the end of my art-text publication. This spoken word performance story has some hand-written notes, some of which is not easy to read-because it's an art work and is meant to be so. It is not traditional writing and is experimental in nature.

Molested at the Movies is an homage to my family who suffered in the concentration camps and forced labor during the Shoah. It is also dedicated to my brother and holocaust survivor parents who passed away during the 1990s, and to my aunt and uncle who died shortly thereafter.

I want to thank Karen Atkinson for helping me to edit my book for publication. She is amazing!



Hal Goldberg's Holocaust Memorial Sculpture


In September 2012 Hal Goldberg's  sculpture, "They will never be forgotten: Serge and Beate Klarsfeld and Marceline Kogan" was installed at the Camp Des Milles Holocaust Memorial Museum in France. The sculpture also depicts the books the Klarsfelds have written.

Serge and Beate Klarsfeld are famous Nazi hunters based in Paris, and Marceline Kogan was a two year old child rounded up in the infamous Paris "Rafle" in 1942 and killed in Auschwitz.

Camp des Milles was a French internment camp in a former tile factory near  Aix-en-Provence.  Between 1941 and 1942 it  was used as a transit camp for Jews. About 2,000 of the inmates were shipped off to the Drancy internment camp on the way to Auschwitz. Since 1993, the site served as a World War II memorial, and in September 2012  the memorial was turned into a Holocaust memorial museum. 
















Weisberg's Visions

A wonderful overview of Ruth Weisberg's work in the New York Jewish Press:

"There is a special class of Jewish artists who toil in the rich fields of Tanach and Jewish practice for years and years, quietly establishing a foundation of visual and intellectual markers for generation of artists to come. Ruth Weisberg is clearly one of these founders. Her seminal work articulates an approach to the Jewish narrative deeply informed by a Jewish feminism."