Janet Shafner, z”l, USA
Janet Shafner has woven together significant and seemingly shamanic events of parashat Chukat: the red heifer — a cow brought to the priests as a sacrifice whose ashes were used for the ritual purification of an Israelite who had come in contact with a corpse; the death of Miriam and the consequent disappearance of the well which had provided water for the Israelites on their desert journey; and the copper serpent fashioned by Moses as an antidote for those bitten by the serpents that an angry God sent upon the Israelites for their complaints against God and Moses. Shafner takes these events and unites them in a midrashic tale of mystery and power.
Professional Background Janet Shafner, z”l [1931–2011], received a BA degree in art history from Barnard College and an MA in studio art from Connecticut College. Shafner taught and curated at the Lyman Allen Art Museum in New London, Connecticut. Her works have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions, as well as in museums and private collections. Following her death in 2011, a retrospective of her work was held at the Hebrew Union College-JIR Museum in New York City.