Thursday, December 19, 2019

Great book! Unique Point of View that Deserves the Highest Praise

Praise for Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media from Jewish and Christian spiritual leaders and experts on art and digital culture

“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

"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

“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

Photo above is one of the 50 photos in Through a Bible LensIt relates to the biblical Book of Esther where Haman’s plot to murder all the Jews in the Persian Empire is foiled.  Mel Alexenberg’s great-grandson Power Ranger Eliad and his Batman and Spiderman friends in their kindergarten in Israel are planning to foil the genocidal plot of today’s Persian ayatollahs. 

The book is available from AmazonBarnes and NobleFaithgateway, and most Internet booksellers

Thought-Provoking Synthesis between Spirituality and Technology: Reads Like a Swift and Soulful Breeze

Praise for Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media from Jewish and Christian spiritual leaders and experts on art and digital culture.

“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

“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

“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

Photo above is one of the 50 photos in Through a Bible Lens. The author's grandson Or Alexenberg photographed his brother Razel catching the Sea of Galilee in his hand. It is believed that Miriam's well that sustained the people of Israel in the desert on their exodus from Egypt came to rest after her death beneath the Sea of Galilee. 

Intellectually Exciting Book that Stimulates the Sensory Palate: Thinks Brilliantly Outside the Box

Praise for Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media from Jewish and Christian spiritual leaders and experts on art and digital culture.

“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

“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; professorial lecturer of Theology and Fine Arts, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

“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

Photo above is one of the one of the 50 photos in Through a Bible Lens. The photo relates to Abraham seeing three men (angels in disguise) approaching his tent as he calls out to his wife Sarah, “Hurry!  Take three measures of the finest flour!  Kneed it and make rolls!” (Genesis 18:6) Abraham then ran after a calf that ran away from him into a cave.  When he came close to intense light emanating from an opening at the end of the cave, he found himself standing at the entrance to the Garden of Eden. About to enter 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 barbecue? The Bible tells us that he chose to return to the tent and join his wife in making a meal for their three guests. Abraham realized that paradise is what we create with our spouse at home. Other visions of paradise are either mirages or lies.

The photo shows my wife Miriam sprinkling scallions on a potato casserole as we work together to make lunch for our guests. We enjoy paradise in our kitchen. Enjoy life with the wife you love through all the days of your life.” (Ecclesiastes 9:9)  See the whole story and recipe at Bible Blog Your Life

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Unique and Fascinating Book: A Mystical Computer Program for Spiritual Seeing

Praise for Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media from Jewish and Christian spiritual leaders and experts on art and digital culture.

“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 Bible Blog Your LifeMel Alexenberg is a wonderfully accomplished worker on a great project: to make art a conduit for the Divine. - Rabbi Dr. Shimon Cowen, author, Aesthetics and the Divine; director, Institute for Judaism and Civilization, Victoria, Australia

“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

“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; professor at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama

Photo above is one of the 50 photos in Through a Bible Lens.  It is based upon Genesis 2:3 “God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for it was on this day that God ceased all the work of Creation for us to continue His work.” It shows two of God’s creations, cloves and a citron (etrog), combined to create a ceremonial object with a fragrance that prolongs the sweetness of the Sabbath day as it comes to an end.   

Fresh Perspectives for Connecting the Biblical World with iPhone Culture

Praise for Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media from Jewish and Christian spiritual leaders and experts on art and digital culture.  

“Connecting the biblical world with the modern interconnected reality of today is inspiring on many levels.  I really enjoyed Through a Bible Lens because it gives us an amazing perspective on our own existence, especially in the age of 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                                                                                                                
“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 The Secret Life of God: Discovering the Divine within You; dean of Isralight and Yeshivat Oryta in the Old City of Jerusalem

“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

Photo above is one of the 50 photos in Through a Bible Lens. It is based upon Genesis 48:11 “Israel said to Joseph, ‘I never dreamed that I would ever see your face again, and God has even let me see your children.’” A descendent of Joseph’s son Menasseh works on a computer in Israel. She represents the amazing reunion of the lost tribe of Menassah after 27 centuries of exile in the farthest reaches of India.   

Astonishingly Innovative Book that Interconnects Art, Creativity, Religion and New Media

Praise for Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media from Jewish and Christian spiritual leaders and experts on art and digital culture.

“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

“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 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 Seeing God in Cyberspace; spiritual leader at Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut

Photo above is one of the 50 photos in Through a Bible Lens. It shows the author Prof. Alexenberg demonstrating that the entire Bible can be carved out of a potato. In Hebrew, the original language of the Bible, word statute is hok, a word derived from the same root as engraving, hewing or carving out. An engraved letter does not exist as a distinct entity independent of the material out of which it is carved. Hok suggests that our encounter with the Bible should be like carving letters out of everyday life to make the Bible and our lives integrally one to reveal God in our midst.   

The photo is based upon two biblical passages: If you will walk in my statutes…I will keep my sanctuary in your midst.” (Leviticus 26:3, 11) and For the Lord thy God walks in the midst of thy camp” (Deuteronomy 23:15).

Literate, Wise and Easily Accessible: Deepens Spiritual Sensibilities as it Extends Imagination

Praise for Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media from Jewish and Christian spiritual leaders and experts on art and digital culture.

“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

“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; scholar-in-residence at Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco 

“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

"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

The top photo above shows Rembrandt cyberangels flying in to the café at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  Why the café? The biblical words for angel and food are spelled with the same four Hebrew letters to teach that angels are spiritual messages arising from everyday life. This message that spirituality can be found everyplace you focus your smartphone lens is the major concept of Through a Bible Lens.

The bottom image from the book cover shows cyberangels spiraling up from a NASA satellite image of the Land of Israel on a smartphone screen illustrating the biblical verse: “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 in Jacob’s dream go up from Israel and go down throughout the world.

Artist Mel Alexenberg launches cyberangels from Israel to thirty museums throughout the world as an homage to Rembrandt on the 350th anniversary of his death. These museums have Rembrandt inspired artworks by Alexenberg in their collections. At Global Tribute to Rembrandt are posts for each of the museums and texts on the impact of digital culture on art by the artist, former art professor at Columbia University, research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, and professor at universities in Israel.

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...