וארא | Va-eira
Shoshana Gugenheim, USA/Israel
Some Jewish scholars teach that the blood plague is a Divine retribution to the Egyptians for trying to hold back the Israelites’ sexual intimacy and reproduction. “Water and blood,” Bonna Haberman, z”l, taught, “are associated in the Torah with the sacred rituals of women’s bodies and the Tabernacle, both flowing with the blood of life and loss of life.” Here, in the bloodying of the Nile, the Egyptian river of fertility, we once again bear witness to this sacred duality. This plague of blood sets the stage for this artwork honoring the Israelite women, their fertility, their sexuality, and their role in the Divine liberation.
Professional Background Shoshana Gugenheim Kedem is the Founding Artist and Director of Women of the Book. As a social practice artist and maker, cultivating change through collaboration and encounter is a primary medium. Kedem’s works often engage Jewish communities in facing difficult questions within Jewish practice. Her artwork is exhibited and collected in Israel, Canada, and the US.