Artist Tobi Kahn receives ‘chaver’ honor, an ancient tradition with a modern twist

by | Jul 10, 2024 | Religion

(RNS) — “Chaver,” an honorific with origins in ancient Jewish history, has traditionally been awarded to rabbinical scholars and pillars of the religious community. But the title has evolved over the centuries, and on June 30, it was settled on Tobi Kahn, an Orthodox Jewish artist, at the Museum at Eldridge Street, in Manhattan.Kahn’s ceremony coincided with the unveiling of “Memory & Inheritance: Paintings and Ceremonial Objects,” a solo exhibition of Kahn’s art, which draws modern imagery from deep-rooted tradition.
Rabbi Saul Berman, professor of Jewish studies and Talmudic law at Yeshiva University and Columbia University, said the mix is exactly why Kahn was awarded the honor: “Each person who is awarded the title,” said Berman, “is recognized for a different kind of leadership, but all were recognized for a kind of lay leadership that encompassed spirituality, a sense of unity and a sense of responsibility.” 
Kahn’s career has long focused on fusing art, Jewish spirituality and healing. A teacher at the School of Visual Arts in New York, he helped to found the Jewish arts organizations Artist Beit Midrash, a community of writers, painters, singers and other artists who gather to study ancient and contemporary texts, and the Jewish art collective Avodah Arts. 
Tobi Kahn. (Courtesy photo)
“My being an artist, to me, is a religious act,” Kahn told Religion News Service. “I believe I was put on this planet to make art, to look at art as healing. I am an artist who is very proud to be a person of faith, who is Jewish, but I am an artist first. So to be accepted from the world I come …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nn(RNS) — “Chaver,” an honorific with origins in ancient Jewish history, has traditionally been awarded to rabbinical scholars and pillars of the religious community. But the title has evolved over the centuries, and on June 30, it was settled on Tobi Kahn, an Orthodox Jewish artist, at the Museum at Eldridge Street, in Manhattan.Kahn’s ceremony coincided with the unveiling of “Memory & Inheritance: Paintings and Ceremonial Objects,” a solo exhibition of Kahn’s art, which draws modern imagery from deep-rooted tradition.
Rabbi Saul Berman, professor of Jewish studies and Talmudic law at Yeshiva University and Columbia University, said the mix is exactly why Kahn was awarded the honor: “Each person who is awarded the title,” said Berman, “is recognized for a different kind of leadership, but all were recognized for a kind of lay leadership that encompassed spirituality, a sense of unity and a sense of responsibility.” 
Kahn’s career has long focused on fusing art, Jewish spirituality and healing. A teacher at the School of Visual Arts in New York, he helped to found the Jewish arts organizations Artist Beit Midrash, a community of writers, painters, singers and other artists who gather to study ancient and contemporary texts, and the Jewish art collective Avodah Arts. 
Tobi Kahn. (Courtesy photo)
“My being an artist, to me, is a religious act,” Kahn told Religion News Service. “I believe I was put on this planet to make art, to look at art as healing. I am an artist who is very proud to be a person of faith, who is Jewish, but I am an artist first. So to be accepted from the world I come …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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