By Francesca Norsen Tate
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Daphne art gallery displays Judaica art
of Heights sculptor Gary Rosenthal
Just in time for Chanukah (also spelled Hanukkah), one can find a beautiful collection of Judaica at Daphne Art Gallery, 154 Montague St., in Brooklyn Heights. Gary Rosenthal, a widely-travelled metal sculptor who recently became a Heights resident, joined forces with Daphne Gallery owner Muhsin Kenis to exhibit the Judaica — a collection of menorot, dreidels and mezuzot — through mid-December. Chanukah begins at sundown on Saturday, Dec. 8.
Menorot, dreidels and mezuzot are the plural form for the words menorah, dreidel and mezuzah, sacred artifacts of Judaism and its holy days. Other examples of Judaica, which make wonderful gifts, are the goblets used at weddings and at Passover. Menorot hold the eight candles that are lit, one a day, throughout Chanukah. Dreidels are also a spinning toy popular around Chanukah, and are played in a variety of games. Mezuzot, filled with a miniature Torah scroll inscribed with a blessing, are placed at a slant on the doorposts of Jewish homes for protection.
Rosenthal’s Judaica highlights the exhibit of Chanukah through mixed metals and fused glass. The Judaica will be on view and for sale at the gallery through Dec. 16 (a Sunday, and the eighth day of this festival of dedication.
During a “Meet the Artist” reception last Sunday, Rosenthal and Kenis together told the story behind this exhibit. Gary lives in the neighborhood. B “After we bought our apartment, I went around the neighborhood. I was looking for a place to buy Judaica. I couldn’t find a single place in all of Brooklyn Heights to get Judaica. (menorot, prayer books, etc). I saw this gallery one Monday morning, and I went to Mushin — the owner—and said, ‘I make Judaica, and I think the neighborhood would like to have some Judaica. Would you like to do a show?’ He said,
‘Sure.’ That’s how it worked out. It was really a very nice combination, and he was very open to the possibility.” Rosenthal added, “Rosenthal said, “I want to create a piece of art that also had a Jewish purpose. And I wanted to make Judaica that was a piece of art.” So it’s a double goal.”
Gallery owner Muhsin Kenis has been at 154 Montague St. for 9 years, since 2003. His second-floor location is immediately adjacent to a storefront that was, for some 35 years, home to Summa Gallery. Kenis is also a craftsman who designs and makes frames. Speaking of Rosenthal, he said, “We have a creative link to each other. This is probably what brought us together at the same time. I was very impressed when he first came in with a couple of samples — with the quality and design of his work.”
Kenis selected pieces new to the Gary Rosenthal Collection (published via catalog) such as menorot inspired by on-trend colors and an oil menorah—a first for the artist. Rosenthal is known for contemporary Judaica, which he has designed and handcrafted for over 30 years with a team of a dozen artisans in his Maryland studio.
Explaining why he designed a menorah to accommodate oil, Rosenthal said: “An oil menorah reproduces the 168 B.C.E. miracle most closely. That’s when a day’s worth of oil burned for an astonishing eight days.” The miniature oil menorah in the exhibit is enhanced with a dreidel design laser-cut from steel.” The gallery is also showing a classical menorah in designer colors-- ‘Spring Green,’ ‘Sea Breeze,’ ‘Morning Sky’ and ‘Golden Gelt.’ [Gelt is Yiddish for money]. Rosenthal achieved the look of a sunrise by combining a half circle of glass mosaic with arcs of steel, embellished with brass and copper.
One of the artisans who contributed his skill to a particular line of mezuzot helps set it apart. This craftsman is one of two autistic employees on staff in Rosenthal’s Maryland studio. He enjoys and excels in weaving the copper strips that other artisans then fabricate to finish the sign of faith that Jews install on doorposts. “With all of my work, I really feel as if the tension and spirit that goes into making it, it’s important. The fact that John and Tim work on this We make a whole collection of works and mementos for Jewish weddings, such as the goblets that people step on. John does my lustering. He’s probably been part of over 10,000 weddings over the past 10 years.”
Chanukah means “dedication,” noted Rosenthal who admits to feeling blessed for having made functional art that’s beautiful all these years. “I look forward to meeting collectors and answering questions about my work and inspiration, most often based on biblical stories,” he said.
Gallery exhibit hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday noon to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed on Mondays.
St. Charles Borromeo Church
concludes fall concert series
The final concert in the St. Charles Borromeo Church Fall Concert Series presents a holiday feel, with the Grix Brass Quintet playing music of the Christmas season.
The Grix Quintet will perform works by Bach, Handel, Gabrieli, traditional Christmas Carols and other classic works. This ensemble is considered Manhattan’s cutting edge brass quintet. Grix specializes in the unique traditions of the brass quintet repertoire. While they regularly include Baroque-era works in their repertoire, the quintet also invests their creative effort in the proliferation of contemporary composers.
Throughout the history of Western music, brass instruments have been called upon to herald the coronations of monarchs, inspire the faithful in the world’s greatest cathedrals, and to rally the largest armies of the world before going into battle. Grix selects repertoire that features unique combinations of instruments. Each musician in Grix Brass brings an individual artistic perspective to the ensemble.
From traditional and contemporary classical training to innovative jazz influences, the musicians of Grix are individual artists in their own right who have studied with some of the most acclaimed brass performers in the 21st century such as Mark Gould, Dave Taylor, R. Allen Spanjer, and Per Brevig.
Their concert takes place on Saturday, December 15 at 7 p.m. in the church. A reception follows. Tickets for the concert are $10 will be sold after Mass on Sunday Dec. 9. Tickets will also be sold at the door on the day of the concert.
Advent/Christmas services and pageants
The service of Lessons & Carols is beloved in the Anglican and Episcopal Churches, and is a special tradition with the Parish Choir of Grace Church-Brooklyn Heights.
This year’s Lessons & Carols, on Sunday, Dec. 16, focuses on the joy and wonder of the Incarnation and Nativity. The choir, under the direction of Paul Richard Olson, sings festive works of Johann Georg Eberling, John Gardner and Peter Warlock, and more contemplative motets of Boris Ord, Egil Hovland, Richard Averre, Arthur Baynon and Charles Wood. Organ works by Buxtehude and Bach are also featured. The service begins at 5 p.m., with a 4:45 p.m. organ prelude.
Grace Church’s Children’s Christmas Pageant is presented the morning of Dec, 16, at 10:30 a.m.
The children of St. Charles Borromeo Church will reenact the story of the birth of Jesus, complete with carols and costumes, when they present their 2012 Nativity Pageant during the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Dec. 16.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Bay Ridge has a full schedule of Christmas activities and services. All are welcome here.
This coming Sunday at Bethlehem is Christmas Carol Sunday. The entire liturgy on December 9 at 10:30 a.m. is entirely sung—with no sermon. The congregation is welcome to sing along with the Bethlehem choir as to celebrate the season with favorite Christmas songs. Refreshments follow, of course.
The children of Bethlehem Lutheran Church will teach adults their take on the true meaning of Christmas. The annual Children’s Christmas Pageant takes place on Dec. 23 at 10:30 a.m. A luncheon follows. Bethlehem Church is at Ovington and Fourth avenues in Bay Ridge.
Outreach continues to hurricane victims
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Deputy Borough President Sandra Chapman were scheduled to host an Interfaith Clergy Breakfast on Tuesday to address the Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery efforts in Brooklyn. A panel discussion with religious and community leaders and emergency response personnel was part of the agenda.
Maronite Cathedral helps
Hurricane Sandy victims
By Salma T. Vahdat
Special to the Brooklyn Eagle
Following the dictum of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, “when, for love of God, we share our goods with our neighbor in need, we discover that the fullness of life comes from love and all is returned to us as a blessing in the form of peace, inner satisfaction and joy,” the Community of Faith of Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral sprang into action to relieve the suffering of victims of Hurricane Sandy.
John Safi, past president of the Parish Council, Joseph Shaia, Jr., current president and Joseph Shaia, Sr. cathedral trustee, spearheaded the cathedral’s relief effort. The call was published for donations of clothing, food, water and other necessities to sustain friends and neighbors in the New York region so devastated by the killer storm. The response was overwhelming and included many trips by the two Josephs to pick up the donations and deliver them to Catholic Charities for distribution.
The people of New York are no strangers to tragedy, as evidenced by the cohesiveness of our city following the demonic attack of Sept. 11, 2001. As then, our city has marshaled all effort to assist the recuperation, both materially and spiritually, of our neighbors who have suffered such tremendous loss. The cathedral family is energized in its role of brotherly love. It is interesting to note that the Gospel just prior to the Oct. 29 storm was the command to “clothe the naked, feed the hungry, comfort the sick etc.” We are following that admonition and in return are filled with love and compassion. Our own Khalil Gibran has said: “God has placed in each soul an apostle to lead us upon the illumined path. Yet many seek life from without, unaware that it is within them.”
St. Charles Borromeo Church was able to send a check for $4,315 to Catholic Charities, thanks to the generosity of its parishioners, to help with the Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts.
Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens continues sending aid to the victims of the tragic storm. In addition to their financial contribution, the St. Charles parishioners offered their prayers and provided non- perishable foods and clothing.
Milestones in Faith
Grace Church marks 164 years
of worship in its sanctuary
Grace Church-Brooklyn Heights celebrated the 164th anniversary of the very first worship service in Grace Church during services on Dec. 2. This past Sunday was also the first Sunday of Advent, which Christians consider the start of a new liturgical year.
Grace Church-Brooklyn’s seeds were planted when parishioners grew tired of having to commute by boat across the East River to its sanctuary in Manhattan, especially after the latter moved from Downtown to its current site at Broadway and 10th Street. For a while, the Brooklyn delegation worshiped at another Protestant Episcopal church on Sidney Place, named Emmanuel Church. The parish grew so rapidly — with 120 new members in one single year — that Emmanuel couldn’t assimilate them all. In 1847, the congregation formed a new parish, called Grace Church, which was incorporated in 1847. The site on Sidney Place eventually became the new home for St. Charles Borromeo Church, a Roman Catholic parish that is active to this day.
According to the Grace Church history webpage, http://www.gracebrooklyn.org/about-us/the-history-of-grace-church, “a building committee was appointed under the leadership of the newly elected Wardens, Colonel Tunis Craven and Henry E. Pierrepont, and the parish’s first rector, the Rev. Francis Vinton. Richard Upjohn, a distinguished architect known for his contributions to the Gothic Revival, was chosen to design the new church building. A lot was purchased on the corner of Hicks Street and Grace Court for $15,000. The church’s cornerstone was laid on June 29, 1847, and the first service in the completed building was held on December 10, 1848. The total cost for the structure: $46,737.52.”