Whatever Is Contained Must Be Released: My Jewish Orthodox by Helène Aylon

By Helène Aylon

Growing up an Orthodox Jew in Brooklyn, Helene Aylon spends her Friday nights in a sea of nuclear family because the Sabbath candles flicker. She goals of break out yet marries a rabbi and turns into a mom of 2. without notice her global splits aside whilst she is widowed at thirty. Aylon unearths a house within the burgeoning environmental paintings scene of the 1970s—creating transgressive works that discover identification, women's our bodies, the surroundings, disarmament, and the concept of God. ultimately she asks of Judaism what she by no means dared to invite as a toddler: the place are the women?

Examples of Aylon’s paintings integrated are her early doorways for the Jewish chapel at JFK airport, her peace pillowcases (including one worn through Grace Paley), and her present look for the hyperlinks among feminism and Judaism

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Extra info for Whatever Is Contained Must Be Released: My Jewish Orthodox Girlhood, My Life as a Feminist Artist

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Years of summer camp never made me outdoorsy. I had to face the truth: I was a Boro Park girl with a propensity for erotic Zionism. My suitor’s letters began to take on a tone of urgency, forcing me to confront my Israeli fantasies. I was wavering, yes, no, yes. When he gave me the task of securing a date for the wedding, I simply succumbed. I didn’t know yet how to imagine a truly different life than the one I’d been raised for. ” Once the decision was made, I plunged into the preparations, by which I mean preparing myself mentally as well as organizing the wedding.

It was only at the age of sixty that I dared to “come out” as a formerly Orthodox Jew. At Brooklyn College, I took a class with Ad Reinhardt, the abstract expressionist known for his all-black paintings. He gave us an assignment to paint a realistic self-portrait, and I worked with a mirror in front of me for weeks on end, studying my face as I painted. I got the feeling that Reinhardt was studying my face, too. At the end of the term he surmised something about me in that uncanny way he had about him.

At the summer’s end, before he headed back to his Texas homeland, he asked if he could meet me in Brooklyn for a trip to the movies. indd 34 4/11/12 3:38 PM son. I was afraid I would give him a heart attack if I went to a movie with a non-Jew cowboy. So I did the noble thing: I wrote an eight-page letter to Tex bemoaning the narrowness of tribalism and canceling the date, like those who give up the Nobel Prize for a just cause. After that summer, I started to daydream about leaving Boro Park and the house of too much attention.

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