The Book Will be Out Soon

Follow this blog to learn when Through a Bible Lens being published by HarperCollins Christain Publishing will be available from on-line book sellers and book stores.

In the posts below, read pre-publication reviews of the book by Jewish and Christian spiritual leaders and experts in digital culture from five continents. The colorful photographs in each blog post are selected from among the fifty photographs in the book that illustrate the text.

Monday, April 9, 2018

A Unique Point of View that Deserves the Highest Praise. Great Book!!

My grandson Razel catching the Sea of Galilee in his hand

“Like anything in God's world, smartphones and social media have the capacity for both blasphemy and blessing. Mel Alexenberg's important book Through a Bible Lens provides our generation the perfect model for the best usage of smartphones and social media to encourage greater appreciation for the Bible and the Land of Israel. Anyone who appreciates either will gain an important perspective from Alexenberg's lens.” – Rabbi Tuly Weisz, editor of The Israel Bible; director of Israel365 and publisher of Breaking Israel News: Latest News from a Biblical Perspective

"Through a Bible Lens offers a unique and personal challenge to the reader to integrate Bible Study, the creation that surrounds us, and our personal experience into a “living journal.”  Dr. Alexenberg’s approach offers a fun, yes fun, path to integrate pondering the deepest questions of Scripture with modern living and a literally visual journey through life.  Written from a Jewish Torah loving perspective, this book will be a joy to any lover of the Bible, Christian or Jewish.  I not only endorse it, I look forward to integrating these ideas into my personal encounter with Scripture." - Dr. Jim Solberg, author of Sinai Speaks; USA National Director of Bridges for Peace

“The iPhone has changed our culture and our ways of thinking and acting in the world. This book brings together spiritual thought, everyday practices of communication and interaction and profound insights about meaning and purpose in contemporary life in a brilliant and sustained exposition. Once again, Alexenberg has carved out a unique point of view that deserves the highest praise and a large readership. Great book!!” – Dr. Ron Burnett, author of How Images Think; president, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver, Canada

An Intellectually Exciting Book that Stimulates the Sensory Palate


Working with my wife Miriam in our Garden of Eden kitchen in Israel

“An intellectually exciting book that stimulates the sensory palate.  Drawing from the Kabbalah and Hebrew traditions, Dr. Alexenberg shares in-depth, meaningful insights about encountering God in the creative process through photography.  Using photography as the vehicle, we are guided, one idea at a time, to an understanding of what the author means by, ’looking up, looking out, and looking inward.’”  - T. Mandel Chenoweth, head of the Art Education Department, Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma

“The book's wonderful synthesis between spirituality and technology, heaven and earth, is exciting and thought-provoking. It is a practical demonstration of Solomon's wisdom: "Acknowledge God in all your paths."  Alexenberg's affirmation of the spiritual potential of the Internet, blogging, photography, new technologies and social media, brings to mind the dictum of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel: "The old will be renewed, and the new will be sanctified."  - Rabbi Chanan Morrison, author of Sapphire from the Land of Israel: New Light on the Torah Portion from the Writings of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook

“Who would have thought that there would be a way to connect smartphones to the ancient world of the Bible?  Professor Alexenberg has the expertise and experience to do so.  This is a unique and fascinating book.” – Dr. Gerald R. McDermott, author of Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently about the People and the Land and The New Christian Zionism: Fresh Perspectives on Israel and the Land; Anglican professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama

Thinks Brilliantly Outside the Box: A Journey Seeking Beauty and the Divine Within the Commonplace


Israel Baseball League players and bat boy with tzitzit ritual fringes stand for singing of Hatikvah 

“For those of us familiar with the diverse and exhilarating work of Mel Alexenberg as an artist, educator and profound thinker, this latest book offers precisely the four things we would expect. The narrative thinks brilliantly outside the box. It synthesizes the realm of the abstruse and transcendent with the realm of the concrete and immanent. It crisscrosses disciplines, from science and technology to philosophy and mysticism to art as both historical and creative phenomena. Finally, the entirety is managed in a style both accessible and inviting. Those with prior knowledge of any or all of the disciplines from which Alexenberg draws will smile again and again in affirmation, and those entering without prior knowledge will be thrilled to understand things that they thought might be beyond them. This is one of those books that other thinkers will wish they had somehow thought about how to write, and to which readers of diverse sorts will simply respond by saying: wow!” - Dr. Ori Z. Soltes, author of Tradition and Transformation: Three Millennia of Jewish Art and Architecture; professorial lecturer of Theology and Fine Arts, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

“I am honored to see how Professor Alexenberg draws on my teachings and makes them come alive in the world of smartphones and social media. He provides a practical guide for photographing the splendor of God by opening your eyes in wonder in whatever place you find yourself. Seeing with eyes of wonder is seeing for the first time every time.” - Rabbi David Aaron, author of Seeing God: Ten Life Changing Lessons of the Kabbalah and The Secret Life of God: Discovering the Divine within You; dean of Isralight and Yeshivat Oryta in the Old City of Jerusalem

“In Through a Bible Lens, Mel Alexenberg continues his meandering journey seeking Beauty and the Divine within the commonplace. Gazing vertically and horizontally, across literary, cyber, aesthetic and earthly texts/spaces, the journey's end point is always the same - sublime joy in the revelation of God in the World, God as the world.” - Dr. Randall Rhodes, Provost, American University of Armenia, Yerevan

Inspiring Integrations of Sacred and Profane: A Program for Photographers to Weave Their Faith into Their Art


The Lost Tribe of Menasseh are no longer lost; they've returned home to Israel after 27 centuries

“The most recent, and arguably one of art’s most complete and compelling integrations of the sacred and profane.  Mel Alexenberg shows the way to the divine via digital imagery and heightened perception of its presence in the moving face of every person, place, and thing. The book is packed with wisdom and learning about Talmudic tradition, creative expression, and cyberangels. It reads like a swift and soulful breeze. I love every “byte” of it.” - Dr. Shaun McNiff, author of Earth Angels: Engaging the Sacred in Everyday Things and Imagination in Action: Secrets for Unleashing Creative Expression; university professor of Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

“Mel Alexenberg offers a scintillating experiment in creativity.  His work is an invitation to deepen your spiritual sensibilities as you extend your imagination.  An interesting and relevant approach to spiritual practice and creative expression.” - Jan Phillips, author of God Is at Eye Level: Photography as a Healing Art and Finding the On-Ramp to Your Spiritual Path: A Roadmap to Joy and Rejuvenation                                                                                                                                                                   
“There are many parallels in Christian thought and deed that should allow this excellent book to resonate with many people of faith. When I picked up Prof. Alexenberg's book, I happened to be reading a spiritual guide on contemplative prayer by an anonymous 14th century Christian mystic whose words find a parallel in Alexenberg's exhortation to seek the Divine out in the world in all that you see and photograph, and with love.  He has succeeded in creating a program for photographers, on a daily basis, to explicitly weave their faith into their art and ultimately, back into their worldview with a fresh perspective.” - Bob Weil, co-author of The Art of iPhone Photography: Creating Great Photos and Art on Your iPhone

Mystical Computer Program for Spiritual Seeing: A Magnificent Original Approach

Raising of the hand-written Torah scroll on Passover 

“Whether we see this book as a book of art – a mystical computer program for spiritual seeing – or a book about art – to actually see it, we must consult the beautiful blog at http://bibleblogyourlife.blogspot.com.   Mel Alexenberg is a wonderfully accomplished worker on a great project: to make art a conduit for the Divine. - Rabbi Dr. Shimon Cowen, director, Institute for Judaism and Civilization, Victoria, Australia

“Alexenberg proposes that text and image—something as simple as photos taken with a smart phone, and multiplied in their resonance by the internet—can be used as a consciousness raising tool, at once personal and collective. With such simple means, we can attune ourselves to the sacred dimensions of our lives from moment to moment. In fresh, clear language, he brings his detailed knowledge of Torah texts and what he calls "the down-to-earth mysticism of the kabbalah" to bear on daily life, showing how the annual round of sacred readings from that spiraling scroll provides prompts for deepening our personal and artistic practice.” - Peter Samis, co-author of Creating the Visitor-centered Museum; associate curator, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

"In Through a Bible Lens, Alexenberg offers us a magnificent and original approach that interconnects art, creative processes, religion and new media technologies. The book is an important contribution to the study of media and is a must read for anyone interested in our contemporary culture. – Dr. Lucia Leao, author of The Labyrinth of Hypermedia and The Chip and the Kaleidoscope: Studies in New Media; professor of Communications and Semiotics, Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil
 

Sophisticated, Highly Literate, and Astonishingly Innovative Book


Round hand-made matzah floating above the Mediterranean Sea 

“In his sophisticated and highly literate book, Prof. Alexenberg weaves in a playful way the threads between contemporary digital culture and traditional Jewish wisdom. In an original way, he invites us to connect the networked world of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, WhatsApp and Blogspot, with the concept of the unseen God.  Using the metaphor of the camera, he provides interesting and surprising intersections between new-media culture and theological issues.” - Dr. Yael Eylat Van-Essen, author of Digital Culture: Virtuality, Society and Information; art faculty at Tel Aviv University

“In his astonishingly innovative book, Mel Alexenberg quotes photographer Jan Phillips, who writes, “Everywhere I look, there God is looking back, looking straight back." Alexenberg is able to perceive that Godly gaze not only in nature around us or the heavens above, but in the smartphone we hold in our hand.” Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, author of thelordismyshepard.com: Seeing God in Cyberspace; spiritual leader at Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, Through a Bible Lens offers a template, a guidebook on how to experience innumerable images of the Divine in every moment and use blogging technology to disseminate them worldwide.  Professor Mel Alexenberg invites us to share the story of our own Divine journey through the wisdom found in this unique book.” - Bishop Robert Stearns, Executive Director, Eagles’ Wings, New York

Inspiring, Literate and Wise with Images of Joy, Warmth and Good Humor


My Power Ranger grandson Eliad and his superhero friends plan to defeat Haman/Hamas/Hezbollah 

“Inspiring on many levels.  I really enjoyed it because it gives us an amazing perspective on our own existence, especially in the age of the interconnected iPhone culture.” - Prof. Michael Bielicky, head of Department of Digital Media/Postdigital Narratives, University of Art and Design/ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany

“Strikes a balance between Kabbalah and contemporary culture. It is replete with imagery from both universes.  It is literate, wise, and easily accessible.  Alexenberg offers us an elegant and devout example of an evolved Jewish Weltanschauung.  Make no mistake; this is a serious contribution to contemporary neo-kabbalah.” - Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, author of God Was in This Place & I, i Did Not Know: Finding Self, Spirituality and Ultimate Meaning and Kabbalah: A Love Story; scholar-in-residence at Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco 

“I can feel your joy, warmth and good humor in your images. Your approach, while fundamentally spiritual and fired by a kindred spark as my own passion for seeing, is a mirror of a different sort of our mutual exploration of our humanity.” - Julie DuBose, author of Effortless Beauty: Photography as an Expression of Eye, Mind and Heart; director of The Miksang Institute for Contemplative Photography, Colorado

"Menahem (Mel) Alexenberg is "tov ro'i," "goodly of vision." He sees godliness and goodliness in even the most mundane, and instructs others to behold that vision. We are blessed to have such a wise teacher in our midst." - Rabbi Bezalel Naor, author of A Kabbalist’s Diary and The Limit of Intellectual Freedom: The Letters of Rav Kook; former head of institutes of higher Jewish learning in United States and Israel

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Celebrating Israel's Rebirth


70 symbolizes the nations of the world.  The Bible lists the 70 descendants of Noah after the great flood.  In Jewish tradition, these decendents fathered different nations that God “separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations” (Genesis 10: 5).  The Bible teaches that the nations of the world are not meant to speak one language as in the disastrous Tower of Babel episode.  Each nation has its unique and distinct voice to contribute to the grand planetary choir singing God’s praise. 

Since the beginning of Zionism that brought Jews back to their ancestral homeland, a community of Christians who share with Jews an abiding love of the Bible have recognized the miracle of Israel’s rebirth with their praise and support.

United States Vice President Mike Pence opened an event to celebrate Israel Independence Day in the White House by saying:  “On this day, the fifth day in the month of Iyar in the Hebrew calendar in 1948, nothing short of a miracle occurred.  On that day, in the ancient and eternal homeland of the Jewish people, the State of Israel was reborn. On that day, the Jewish people’s 2000-year exile, the longest exile of any people anywhere, ended.”

This week, my wife Miriam and I had a guided tour through the conceptually and aesthetically powerful Friends of Zion Museum founded by Dr. Mike Evans in the heart of Jerusalem. The Museum’s powerful high tech interactive exhibits trace the emergence Christian Zionism and documents the growing friendship of Christians from many nations for the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.

The next morning on a rooftop terrace overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, I was interviewed by Josh Reinstein for his Israel Now News program viewed by 35 million friends of Israel.  Josh Reinstein is director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus and president of Israel Allies Caucuses in governments around the world.  He talked with me about my forthcoming book Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media being published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing.  It is a commemorative edition celebrating the 70th year of Israel’s miraculous rebirth.

The cover image of Through a Bible Lens shown above is based upon a serigraph in the collection of the Israel Museum that I created in Jerusalem.  It shows two digitized Rembrandt angels ascending from a satellite image of the Land of Israel that are emerging from a smartphone.  It illustrates the commentary of the eminent 11th century biblical scholar Rashi that the angels in Jacob’s dream go up from the Land of Israel and come down to earth in the 70 nations of world. “He had a vision in a dream. A ladder was standing on the ground, its top reaching up towards heaven as Divine angels were going up and down on it” (Genesis 28:12).

Angels are spiritual messages arising from every facet of your life that you can photograph with your smartphone and share with others worldwide through social media.

My book teaches how biblical insights can transform smartphone photography and social media into imaginative ways for seeing spirituality in everyday life.  It speaks to Jews and Christians who share an abiding love of the Bible by inspiring the creation of a lively dialogue between our emerging life stories and the enduring biblical narrative.

See praise for the book from Jewish and Christian spiritual leaders and experts on digital culture from nations on five continents at http://throughabiblelens.blogspot.com.

I am professor emeritus at Ariel University where I taught the courses “Judaism and Zionism: Roots and Values” and “Art in Jewish Thought.”

From The Times of Israel,18 April 2018, the 70th anniversary of Israel's Independence (also at IsraelSeen and LinkedIn)

Book Cover




“He had a vision in a dream. A ladder was standing on the ground, its top reaching up towards heaven as Divine angels were going up and down on it.” (Genesis 28:12)

The cover image is based upon a serigraph in the collection of the Israel Museum that was created in Jerusalem by the book’s author, artist Mel Alexenberg.  It shows two digitized Rembrandt angels ascending from a NASA satellite image of the Land of Israel while emerging from a smartphone.  It illustrates the biblical commentary that the angels in Jacob’s dream go up from the Land of Israel and come down to earth throughout the world.  A smartphone has the power to make this vision a reality.

The angels carry a message to each of the 70 biblical nations populated by the descendants of Noah that God “separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations” (Genesis 10: 5).  They convey God’s message that the nations of the world are not meant to speak one language as in the disastrous Tower of Babel episode.  Each nation has its unique and distinct voice to contribute to the grand planetary choir singing God’s praise.

A Unique Point of View that Deserves the Highest Praise. Great Book!!

My grandson Razel catching the Sea of Galilee in his hand “Like anything in God's world, smartphones and social media have the c...