Spring 2000 Symposium

Alternative Readings:
Sacred Texts Embodied in Visual Art

 Program Theme

Our program will explore, through lecture and small interactive workshops, the relationship between the verbal and the visual in Jewish "visual midrash, " in Eastern Orthodox icons, and in Muslim calligraphy and architecture. How do artistic and textual interpretations, including the voices of women, provide alternative readings of scriptures? What commonalities as well as differences do we discern across these three Abrahamic religions?


Saturday, May 6, 2000

House of the Redeemer  /  7 East 95th Street  /  New York, NY


9:30 Registration and Refreshments

10:00 Introduction Lillian Sigal

10:15 A. perspective from Judaism Gila Gevirtz

10:45 A perspective from Eastern Orthodox Lisa Bellan-Boyer

11:15 A perspective from Islam Christiane J. Gruber

11:45 Panelists 

A Jewish Response, Susan Schorr 
A Christian Response, Marchienne Rienstra 
A Muslim Response, Ghazala Munir

12:15 General Discussion/Q&A

12:30 Luncheon

1:30 Three breakout workshop groups led by the keynoters

2:30 Reconvene plenary and share study experience

3:00 Speakers and panelists dialogue

3:30 Audience's Q&A and discussion with speakers

4:00 Wine & Cheese Reception

If you are interested in attending please call Nelvin Vos at (484) 664-3454 or email chashenderson@mindspring.com.

About our speakers:

Gila Gevirtz was a graphic artist for the Encyclopedia Judaica and a media specialist for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her visual and narrative midrashim have been broadly exhibited and published in the United States and Israel. A 1996 Coolidge Fellow of the Association for Religion and Intellectual Life (ARIL), she is currently the Executive Editor of Behrman House, Inc.

Lisa Bellan-Boyer, a staff researcher at the Newark Museum, is a 1999 Coolidge Fellow of ARIL. Having an extensive background in Eastern European studies and the arts, she holds a Certificate in Orthodox Studies at the School of Sacred Arts. She is currently completing a double Master's Degree in Intercultural Performance and Museum Studies at NYU.

Christiane J. Gruber, holding a B.A. from Princeton University in Art and Archaeology, is now pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in Islamic Art History. She has assisted in curating exhibits at Princeton University and has held internships at the Metropolitan and Philadelphia Museums of Art. She is currently Executive Editor of Islamic Arts and Architecture.

Susan Schorr is a liturgist and liturgical poet who creates innovative liturgies for life cycle events and services and also leads Bible study for her Reconstructionist synagogue in NYC. She is a craftsperson who does liturgical stitchery using symbols of the mystical tradition of kabbalah.

Marchienne Rienstra is a minister in the Reformed Church of America and currently serving as interfaith minister at the community of Mother's Trust, in Ganges, Michigan. She has taught at Western Theological Seminary, has authored two books on spirituality, and is a spiritual director and artist.

Ghazala Munir teaches at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is vice-president of the Interfaith Dialogue Association of Southwest Michigan. She is a former Coolidge Fellow of ARIL, and has written an essay titled "Muslim Women in Dialogue-Breaking Walls, Building Bridges " in Muslims and Islamization in North America.

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