Thursday, June 13, 2019

Praise from Christian and Jewish Leaders and Experts on Digital Culture

See praise from Christian and Jewish leaders and experts on digital culture for “Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media" at Israel365.

THROUGH A BIBLE LENS provides the perfect model for the best usage of smartphones and socialmedia to encourage greater appreciation for the Bible and the Land of  Israel.” Rabbi Tuly Weisz, editor The Israel Bible

THROUGH A BIBLE LENS 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, USA National Director, Bridges For Peace.

THROUGH A BIBLE LENS offers profound insights about meaning and purpose in contemporary life in a brilliant and sustained expositionGREAT BOOK!” Dr. Ron Burnett, president, University of Art and Design, Vancouver. 

THROUGH A BIBLE LENS is a unique and fascinating book. Who would have thought that there would be a way to connect smartphones to the ancient world of the Bible?” Prof. Gerald R. McDermott, Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, Alabama. 

THROUGH A BIBLE LENS’s wonderful synthesis between spirituality and technology, heaven and earth, is exciting and thought-provoking.” Rabbi Chanan Morrison, author of Sapphire from the Land of Israel. 

THROUGH A BIBLE LENS is an intellectually exciting book that stimulates the sensory palate. Shares in-depth, meaningful insights about encountering God in the creative process through photography.”  T. Mandel Chenoweth, head of Art Education Department, Oral Roberts University. 

THROUGH A BIBLE LENS 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, professorial lecturer of Theology and Fine Arts, Georgetown University. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Celebrating Shirel's Birthday on Jerusalem Day 2019

My granddaughter Shirel from Yeroham is on the left with cousins from Sderot and Dimona. The photo was taken on June 2, 2019 at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day, Shirel's 25th birthday. It is based on the iconic photo below of the first Israeli soldiers to reach the Kotel in 1967 when Jerusalem was liberated after 2,000 years of occupation by foreign powers from the Romans to the Ottomans.      

In creating the "Bible Blog Your Life" project, my wife Miriam and I invited our granddaughter Shirel to be the guest blogger for the post "Numbers 2: Jerusalem Means Seeking Peace." See the post at

The "Bible Blog Your Life" project forms the core of my book Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Bible Inspired Legacy Thrones Created by Christian and Jewish Elders

Jewish Legacy Throne in Miami
An Open Letter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from Israeli Prof. Mel Alexenberg

As a citizen of both Florida and Israel, I applaud your visit to Israel and thank you for being the most pro-Israel governor in America.  I appreciate that you brought with you Floridian businessmen, university administrators and faculty, religious leaders, and elected officials to work with their Israeli counterparts in developing collaborative Florida-Israel projects.

You would enjoy knowing about the collaborative Florida-Israel “Legacy Thrones” monumental art project created when I was dean of visual arts at New World School of the Arts in Miami.  I worked with my college students and elders from Miami’s Hispanic, African-American, and Jewish communities to create three twenty-foot high, two-ton thrones that visually convey the stories of each of the ethnic communities.
Hispanic Legacy Throne facing Biscayne Bay
Through aesthetic dialogue between young people and elders valued traditions of the past were transformed into artistic statements of enduring significance. Together, young and old hands shaped wet clay into colorful ceramic relief sculptures collaged onto three towering steel and concrete thrones that stand facing Biscayne Bay in Margaret Pace Park. See photos of the project at  

In addition to being intergenerational and multicultural, the “Legacy Throne” project created a vibrant dialog between Christians and Jews.  The Catholic Hispanic, Protestant African-American, and Jewish elders worked on each of the three thrones in one huge studio at NWSA.  Working alongside each other and learning about each other’s cultures, they came to realize how much they shared in experiences and in values. The theme of the “Legacy Thrones” project became the biblical passage “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when we sit together” (Psalm 133).  Biblical images formed in clay adorned all three thrones.
African-American Legacy Throne
The elders shared their commitments to living in freedom in America and to biblical values. Freedom from slavery and from the tyrannical regimes of Hitler and Castro shaped their reminiscences. Some women had heard first-hand stories of slavery on Southern plantations from their grandmothers. One Holocaust survivor spoke about having to bite the umbilical cord of her child born in hiding in an underground pit.  Cuban exiles talked about escaping the brutal oppression on the island they loved.

The ceramic relief sculptures could only be epoxied to the front of the thrones resting horizontally on the studio floor.  Completing the backs had to wait for cranes to lift them in place vertically and install them facing the bay.  The long delay in finishing the park found me back in Israel.  My wife artist Miriam Benjamin and I worked with students at Emunah College School of the Arts in Jerusalem to create the relief sculptures to adorn the back of the Jewish throne.  They were shipped to Miami where our former NWSA students completed the throne with Israel-made ceramic Hebrew letters. The “Legacy Throne” project became the first collaborative Florida-Israel art project.

 Retiring after a decade as dean at NWSA, I returned to Israel to accept a professorship at Ariel University.  I was happy to see you honored by Ariel University and hear you say: “This recognition means a lot and I am humbled to be the recipient.  Let it be known that Florida will always stand with Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East.”  I am certain that the partnership that you forged between Ariel U. and Florida Atlantic U. will be rewarding to both universities.

The writer is author of Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media and former dean at New World School of the Arts in Miami, professor at Columbia University, research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, professor at Ariel University, and head of Emunah College School of the Arts in Jerusalem.

THROUGH A BIBLE LENS explores the Bible, the best selling book in the world, from the viewpoint of life in today's digital era.

Scroll down to see praise for Through a Bible Lens  from Jewish and Christian spiritual leaders and experts in digital culture. In his highl...