"Through a Bible Lens" is now available on amazon

"THROUGH A BIBLE LENS" IS NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON (click on book cover in right column)
Read PRAISE FOR THE BOOK on the right column for reviews by Jewish and Christian spiritual leaders and experts in digital culture from five continents. Scroll down to see colorful photographs selected from among the fifty photographs in the book that illustrate the text.

Through a Bible Lens speaks to millennials in the language of today's digital culture of smartphones and social media. It demonstrates to both young and old the most up-to-date thoughts on the interactions between The Bible and the impact of new technologies on contemporary life. Christians and Jews should buy this book for themselves as well as for their children and grandchildren.

A MUST-READ BEFORE VISITING THE HOLY LAND!! Learn how to share your experiences on social media and transform your smartphone photographs into biblical messages emerging from what you see. It's all in the book THROUGH A BIBLE LENS. Click on book cover in right column to see inside the book and buy it on Amazon.



Sunday, November 25, 2018

You CAN Tell a Book by its Cover!

Prof. Alexenberg's new book teaches the Bible to millennials and their elders in the language of smartphones and social media. Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Participate in Flying Cyberangels from Jerusalem in Israel to JerUSAlems in USA

Background and Instructions for Residents or Visitors to Jerusalem Israel

“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)
From Jerusalem in Israel to JerUSAlems in USA is an international digital art project that is a contemporary enactment of the biblical commentary that angels go up on Jacob’s ladder from the Land of Israel and come down throughout the world. 

Residents or visitors to Jerusalem are invited participate by documenting life in Israel’s capital by creating smartphone videos that explore the idea that the biblical words for food (malach) and angel (ma’achal) are written with the same four Hebrew letters to teach us that angels are spiritual messages arising from everyday life. 
  
The cover of my new book Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media shows a smartphone screen with digitized Rembrandt angels ascending from a satellite image of the Land of Israel. These cyberangels will emerge from videos you create. See http://throughabiblelens.blogspot.com                 

Your videos will be linked to others in a stream designed to fly via digital technologies from Jerusalem in Israel into the twelve states in USA having places named JerUSAlem: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont. See http://jerusalem-USA.blogspot.com

Instructions
Use your smartphone to create one-minute videos that present mini-stories about food – growing it, selling it, cooking it, eating it, etc.  Each of the videos should show different ways of experiencing food.  Choose two of your videos that best show an imaginative viewpoint and creative perspective. 

Email your name and where you’re from with your two videos as attachments to me at melalexenberg@gmail.com. I will interweave your videos with those created by students at Emunah College School of the Arts in Jerusalem and volunteers in the Bridges for Peace Food Project that feeds Jerusalem’s needy.

The sound track will be the renowned violinist Itzchak Perlman’s ethereal rendition of Shalom Aleichem, a song sung by Jewish families before the Sabbath eve meal.  You can hear the traditional melody for this song at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BDaDfmBQXA.  It is appropriately spiritual music for escorting cyberangels of peace on their flight from Jerusalem in Israel to the 12 states in USA that have JerUSAlems and then on to the rest of the world. 

The cyberangels will fly from Israel into museums, colleges, synagogues, churches, and bookstores in the 12 states.  At each place where they come down to earth, participatory events are being planned that that explore relationships between angels and diverse kinds of work.  The Hebrew word for angel (malach) is the masculine form for the feminine word for craftsmanship (malachah).

The photographs above are four of the 50 photographs in Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media that is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, other Internet booksellers, and bookstores. My book speaks to millennials in the language of today's digital culture of smartphones and social media. It demonstrates to both young and old the most up-to-date thoughts on the interactions between The Bible and the impact of new technologies on contemporary life. Jews and Christians should buy this book for themselves as well as for their children and grandchildren.

I am an artist, writer, and educator working at the interface between biblical consciousness, digital technologies, and global systems. I was art professor at Columbia University, research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, and in Israel, professor of art in Jewish thought at Ariel University, Bar-Ilan University, and Emunah College.  My artworks are in the collection of forty museums worldwide, from Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Jewish Museum of Prague, to Israel Museum in Jerusalem. In addition to being author of Through a Bible Lens (Elm Hill/HarperCollins), my dozen books include The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness and Educating Artists for the Future: Learning at the Intersections of Art, Science, Technology and Culture (both published by Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press). 

This article appeared in The Times of Israel, IsraelSeen, and LinkedIn

Monday, November 12, 2018

Interconnects Art, Creative Processes, Religion and New Media Technologies



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

Monday, November 5, 2018

Launching Cyberangels of Peace throughout the World from Israel

“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)

An international digital art event will celebrate the launching my book Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media.  The event is illustrated on the book’s cover that shows digitized Rembrandt angels ascending from a satellite photo of the Land of Israel on a smartphone screen.
The launching is based upon the biblical commentary that the angels ascending and descending the ladder in Jacob’s dream go up from the Land of Israel and come down to earth throughout the world. 

Cyberangels as Messengers of Peace
The biblical word for “angel” and “messenger” are one and the same in Hebrew.  Cyberangels are messengers of peace rising up from the Land of Israel and descending into each of the seventy 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.

Peace upon You, Angels of Peace
The Hebrew word shalom means “peace.”  It is a greeting for both coming and going.  In Israel where I live, when I see a friend approaching, I greet him by saying “shalom.”   When a guest leaves my home, I also say “shalom.”  Shalom is akin to the word shalem, meaning “wholeness,” the integration of material and spiritual realms. 

The Sabbath eve meal in a Jewish home begins with the people gathered around the table singing the traditional song Shalom Aleichem (“Peace upon You”): 
Peace upon you, ministering angels, angels of the Highest, from the King who reigns over kings, the Holy One, blessed is He.  May your coming be in peace, angels of peace…. Bless me with peace, angels of peace….  May your departure be in peace, angels of peace, messengers of the Highest, from the King who reigns over kings, the Holy One, blessed is He.”

The words of the song were composed four centuries ago in the Galilee town of Tzfat (Safed) by Jews involved in exploring kabbalah, the down-to-earth spiritual tradition of Judaism.  Surprisingly, the well-known melody for the song, thought of as a centuries-old folk tune, was composed by the American composer Rabbi Israel Goldfarb in 1918 at Columbia University where he earned a degree in music education. (He studied in the same Columbia Teachers College building where I was professor of art and education in the 1970’s.)
45 years after Rabbi Goldfarb composed the music for Shalom Aleichem, he wrote: "The popularity of the melody traveled not only throughout this country but throughout the world, so that many people came to believe that the song was handed down from Mt. Sinai by Moses."  Shalom Aleichem played by the renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman creates an ethereal energy appropriate for launching cyberangels worldwide.  You can hear it at   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BDaDfmBQXA

“Angel” and “food” are written with the Same Hebrew Letters  
The biblical words for “angel” and “food” are written with the same four Hebrew letters to tell us that angels are spiritual messages arising from everyday life.



The Bible (Genesis 18:1-8) relates how three angels disguised as men appeared to Abraham while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day.  When he looked up and saw them a short distance from him, he ran to greet them and invited them to stay to eat.  He rushed to his wife, Sarah, and asked her to bake cakes for their guests.
Then Abraham ran to the cattle to choose a tender, choice calf.  The Midrash, a centuries-old biblical commentary, questions why Abraham ran after the calf.  It tells that he ran after the calf because it ran away from him into a cave.  Abraham discovered that he had entered the burial place of Adam and Eve.  He was drawn to intense light emanating from an opening at the end of the cave.  As he approached, he saw the Garden of Eden through the opening. 

This deeply spiritual person, the patriarch Abraham, found himself standing at the entrance to Paradise.  About to cross over the threshold into the pristine garden, he remembered that his wife and three guests were waiting for lunch back at the tent.  What should he do?  Should he trade Paradise for a barbeque? The Bible tells us that he chose to return to the tent and join his wife in making lunch for the three strangers.  They sat together in the shade of a tree enjoying the food that Abraham and Sarah had prepared.

Angels are Spiritual Messages Arising from Everyday Life

In his review of my book, Dr. Jim Solberg, USA National Director of Bridges for Peace and author of Sinai Speaks, points out how Jews and Christians who share an abiding love of the Bible seek spirituality in everyday life.   
"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”

My dialogue with Dr. Solberg lead me to learn how Bridges for Peace builds relationships between Christians and Jews in Israel and around the world by merging spiritual and material realms.  The Bridges of Peace website quotes from Isaiah (58:10-11):
“If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.”

Their Food Project provides over three tons of food every working day to needy people in communities throughout Israel from their food banks in Jerusalem and Karmiel, a city in the Galilee a short drive from Tzvat where the words for the song Shalom Aleichem “Peace upon You, Angels of Peace” was composed more than 400 years ago.

This blog post also appeared in The Times of Israel and IsraelSeen:

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/cyberangels-of-peace-fly-throughout-the-world/

https://israelseen.com/2018/11/11/mel-alexenberg-cyberangels-of-peace-fly-throughout-the-world/