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Days of Awe inspires artists
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Days of Awe inspires artists

Opening of holiday-themed exhibit at Temple Beth Miriam

The art show is the first in a series of events intended to engage the Jewish community, says Temple Beth Miriam spiritual leader Rabbi Cy Stanway.
The art show is the first in a series of events intended to engage the Jewish community, says Temple Beth Miriam spiritual leader Rabbi Cy Stanway.

The synagogue is a place for quiet reflection and for several weeks, beginning on Sept. 10, visitors to Temple Beth Miriam in Elberon will have Jewish-themed art to contemplate. 

The “Days of Awe Art Show” — referring to the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur — promises pieces that are not merely decorative, but meaningful on a deep, spiritual level.

“This is a time for serious introspection, a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before the Day of Atonement,” said Renee Freedman of Wanamassa, the event’s cochair.

 “The Talmud maintains that Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and God,” said Freedman, whose father was once president of the Long Branch synagogue. “To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against him or her, if possible. We will be showing art that reflects these themes.”

Freedman’s cochair, David Nussbaum, is a third-generation member of Temple Beth Miriam, which was founded in 1888. “The goal of the art show is to relate not only to temple members but the entire Jewish community of Monmouth County — especially, but not exclusively, artists and art lovers,” he told NJJN. “We even have some non-Jewish artists and photographers participating, and anticipate visits from many non-Jewish art enthusiasts.”

The show is the first in a series of activities designed to strengthen connections between community members and the temple. 

“The plan is to engage all people with an example of how enriching synagogue involvement can be,” said Rabbi Cy Stanway, spiritual leader of Temple Beth Miriam. “We’re broadening and experimenting with things we’ve never done before,” referring to creative worship services and new social action and social events, along with the traditional adult-education programs, picnics, and activities. 

There will be a competitive aspect to the event with a best in show award and additional winners in four categories: painting, photography, drawing, and mixed media. Entries for the juried Days of Awe show were limited to two-dimensional pieces, and the winners will be announced at the opening reception. 

The two jurors rating the work are Freedman and Arlene Mollow of Ocean. Freedman has been painting primarily in oil and drawing for more than 30 years and has shown and sold in New York City and Connecticut. Mollow, an experienced art juror, has exhibited professionally for more than 40 years in one-person and group shows throughout New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

The exhibit will feature a special tribute to Clara Gee Stamaty, a longtime member of Beth Miriam and an accomplished artist, whose cartoons have appeared in The New Yorker, Seventeen, The Ladies’ Home Journal, and other publications. 

“She is a remarkable woman with a remarkable broad-ranging body of work spanning 75 years,” said Nussbaum, who noted that Stamaty is 98 and regularly attends yoga classes. 

She was born in 1919 in Piqua, Ohio, and has been a member of Beth Miriam for nearly 65 years. Following the death of her first husband, Stanley Stamaty, she married Milton Ziment, who is 97 years old. 

“She and Milton have been together 32 years and are mainstays of our temple; until recently, he taught many of our b’nai mitzvah students,” Nussbaum said. 

At the opening reception, Freedman, Nussbaum, and Ziment will offer brief remarks following an invocation by Stanway. Wine will be served and there will be live music by Peter Nussbaum, a professional composer and arranger who is also David Nussbaum’s brother.

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