My First & Best Art Teacher
By Amichai Lau-Lavie
1982. Michael Jackson’s Thriller. ET phones home. Israel fought in Beirut. Tobi Kahn
was teaching me how to draw at the Hebrew Arts School in Manhattan. I was 13. What do I remember? His endless energy, big hair, and how impressed I was that he was this religious man, wearing a kippa, totally devoted to art. In many ways, it was Tobi’s passion for the integration of sacred and secular, art and religions – that inspired me to choose many of my life’s paths – artist, seeker, and now, spiritual leader in the making.
With gratitude and admiration, it is a huge privilege to honor Tobi at our Lab/Shul Gala on June 17 with our very firstRitualist Award.
We kept in touch over the years. When we held our first High Holidays services downtown and needed an ark for the Torah Tobi offered to lend us the hand crafted ark he designed. We’ve been privileged to open and close its ornate doors for a few years now, at different locations.
Two years ago I got to be his student again – this time at the Jewish Theological Seminary where Tobi leads faculty and students on a year long Artist-in-Residence Program. With his guidance I created Remains to Be Seen -an exhibit of mixed-media inspired by the Geniza – the sacred trash of society.
In a recent PBS interview Tobi said:
On June 17 at City Winery he will guide us as we will co-create new objects and rituals to sanctify the thresholds of our bodies and the doorways of time. Sounds mysterious? Join us at the Gala for a truly unique Mezooza Makeover and get what I got from Tobi all those years ago: life-long inspiration from one of the world’s greatest masters of ritual art.
|Lab/Shul Mezuza – hand made design by Tobi Kahn. Limited Edition Only.|
Can’t join us on June 17? A tax-free gift in honor of Tobi will be most appreciated. Stay tuned for our news next week about our silent auction – which includes a limited edition of hand crafted mezuzot – created by Tobi Kahn just for Lab/Shul