Valley Beth Shalom, Encino
August, 2016 - January, 2017
Ayekah — where are you? Where are we? And where will we go from here?
In Martin Buber’s short treatise on Hasidic thought, The Way of Man (1964), he relates a story of Reb Shneur Zalman, the first rebbe of Chabad. In this tale, a soldier challenges the Rebbe, asking him: “If God knows everything, why did he ask Adam in Garden, where are you (ayekah)? Reb Shneur Zalman responds: “Ayekah is not a question for Adam, but for us. In every generation, God calls out to us: “Where are you in the world? You have such few days on Earth – how will you use them?”
This year, the VBS clergy selected this question – Ayekah? Where are you? – as the guiding question for the High Holy Day season. They have broken the question down into six, sub-questions – asking where we stand with regard to our own personal inventory, our relationships, our giving level, our creative output, our Jewish life, and our openness to self and communal renewal.
Each of the artworks selected for this exhibition, from five immensely talented Southern Californian Jewish artists – Ellen Cantor, Will Deutsch, Hillel Smith, Isaac Bryjegard-Bialik, and Doni Silver Simons – reflects on different aspects of these timely and timeless questions.