Art Gallery and Education Center, Jewish Community, Shabbat and Holidays

by Rachel Eisen, Director of Annual Giving

It’s always an exciting day when a new exhibit goes up in the Gallery @ Mayyim Hayyim. Since Mayyim Hayyim opened, our commitment to hiddur mitzvah, beautifying ritual life, has extended beyond the spa-like architecture and design of our mikveh pools and building.

The principle of hiddur mitzvah dates back to the time of the Talmud, when the rabbis commented that one should go above and beyond what is prescribed by our sacred texts to make our rituals, and the objects we use to enact them, beautiful.

The rabbis specifically pointed to the ritual objects of Sukkot – the sukkah, the lulav, and the etrog – as examples of what could and should be beautified and glorified in pursuit of hiddur mitzvah. So it is fitting that it was over chol ha’moed Sukkot (the intermediate festival days) that we not only installed a new exhibit in our gallery, but also that this new exhibit focuses on the beauty of the alphabet, both Hebrew and English. Jews have been described as “the people of the book,” referring to our focus on text and commentary. And just as hiddur mitzvah focuses on making beautiful the content of those texts, so, too, do artist Ariel Burger and typographer Matthew Carter, make beautiful the building blocks of these texts: the letters themselves.

What’s more, this exhibit is the first of a new partnership with the Jewish Arts Collaborative, an organization which “explores and presents the rich, diverse, and creative world of Jewish arts and culture—past, present, and future—to the widest possible audience, in venues across Greater Boston.” JArts will help bring the Gallery @ Mayyim Hayyim to new heights – helping bring in new artists and expand our arts programming. With JArts by our side, our commitment to hiddur mitzvah is stronger than ever.

You’re invited to the opening reception of “To The Letter – Aleph to Z,” featuring works by Ariel Burger and Matthew Carter. Join Mayyim Hayyim and JArts on Sunday, October 7 at 3pm for refreshments and an artist talk. RSVP here.

Rachel EisenRachel Eisen is the Director of Annual Giving at Mayyim Hayyim.