By COLlive reporter
Photos by Chana Tzukernik ([email protected])
Artists and creatives gathered for a “Visual Arts Hakhel Event” that united many for an inspirational gathering at the Razag Ballroom in Brooklyn on Sunday.
Opening the event was veteran artist Michoel Muchnik who explained the intent of the Hakhel which was for Jewish unity and to “collectively gain inspiration in channeling our talents in serving Hashem.”
Yocheved Sidof, founder of Lamplighters Yeshivah, emceed the event and encouraged all to reach out with courage to use their talents in changing the world.
The Hakhel began with a powerful presentation by Rabbi Mendel Kaplan of Chabad Flamingo. He beautifully explained the positive view of Torah that not only condones creative expression, rather as he suggested, truly celebrates it.
Efraim Kahan, who is a Yeshiva student in Crown Heights, expressed his gratitude for the new inner peace he began to experience as a result of the Hakhel. “Hearing that being a Yeshiva student and an artist can go together and are not a conflict, made me feel not alone,” he said.
Addressing the creative process itself, kabbalah lecturer Shimona Tzukernik offered insight and an exercise in breaking through anything blocking our creativity.
Following that, Muchnik shared generously of himself and his artistic journey leaving the crowd laughing and uplifted.
“The event was truly a global success, with hundreds of people from 21 countries viewing the live feed,” said Shlomie Rabin, co-chair of the event.
Elke Reva Sudin, an artist and entrepreneur, said she appreciated the content and depth of the program. “It was minus the fluff, not superficial, very different from the art gatherings I am usually invited to,” she said.
There was a common sentiment among many participants of being connected.
“I appreciated just hearing that some of my challenges as an artist are shared by others,” said artist Estee Klein.
“I didn’t even realize how much I needed this, and I left feeling rejuvenated,” said Rabbi Fitz Rabin of Craft Sofer.
Others were moved to take themselves more seriously and not to squelch their creativity or belittle it. Rina Chulpaeva who closed her family’s retail store in Queens to come to the event, said she was “excited to learn that I can serve Hashem through my art.”
Muchnik ended off with ideas for creatives that are not specifically artists in the typical association and how one can apply the messages of the Hakhel to their area of creativity. Chaya Mushka Kanner shared, “I am leaving inspired to bring more spirituality and purpose to my work as a graphic designer.”
“It is my fervent hope that others see what was done and will take action in making Hakhel gatherings for their sphere of influence,” said Muchnik.
To donate please visit visualarthakhel.com