Artistic Perspectives on the High Holy Days

Various artists share their perspectives on the High Holy Days using a variety of materials such as water colour, acrylic, aerosol, and stitching. This time of year is of great importance for many people and the six artist’s work visualizes that sentiment strongly.

Yitzchok Moully

Shofar 5782 (2021): aerosol on plastic fence.
Shofar 5778 (2017): acrylic and ink on canvas.

It has become an annual tradition of mine to create a new shofar painting Erev Rosh Hashanah after mid day. The Torah tells us, when we blow the shofar on Rosh Hashanah we bring in a new -higher-light of God that has never previously been in this world. These are my attempts to convey this new sublime light coming into the world.

To see more of Yitzchok Moully’s artwork, please visit his website:

Rachel Braun 

Gates of Repentance (2009): Blackwork embroidery, cotton DMC thread on cotton aida cloth; 7″ x 7″. 

Gates are important in Jewish motifs, whether physically in the city of Jerusalem or metaphorically in prayers and psalms. This embroidery, part of a series of three, presents stylized gates in blackwork embroidery patterns, all framed by sacred text.

About the text: Eleazar Kallir, the 6th century payyetan (liturgical poet) living in the Land of Israel, wrote the text stitched into this embroidery as refrains for three separate piyyutim (liturgical poems). Those words are now incorporated into the neilah (concluding) service of Yom Kippur as the prayer “Petach Lanu Sha’ar” meaning, “open for us the gates.” In this prayer, we plead with a merciful and forgiving God to keep the gates of repentance open to us, even as the day wanes. The full text that defines the embroidered gates reads: “Open for us the gates, at the time of the closing of the (Temple) gates, for the day wanes. The day will end, the sun will set, so let us enter Your gates. We pray, God: turn to us, forgive us, pardon us, be merciful with us, be compassionate to us, grant atonement to us. Vanquish sin and transgression.” While the Gates of Repentance are always open to those of changing heart, the urgency of the arrival of nightfall, after a day of Yom Kippur supplications, has inspired this heartfelt poem along with many moving musical settings for these verses.

To see more of Rachel Braun’s artwork, please visit her website:

Lynne Cassouto

Talmud Torah (1995): Water and acrylics. 

To see more of Lynne Cassouto’s artwork, please visit her website:

Nona Zilberberg

Kotel, the blue dream (2023): Acrylic on canvas, 30×40.

To see more of Nona Zilberberg’s artwork, please visit her website:

Susie Lubell

To Life (2011): Watercolor and micron pen.

To see more of Susie Lubell’s artwork, please visit her website:

Elizabeth Langer

Captions (clockwise):
Devarim (Words): 2021, collage, acrylic, paper, canvas. 
Holy Ark (Aron Kodesh): 2018, collage, paper, board, digital reproduction, acrylic, aluminum, joint tape. 
Six Days of Creation (2010): collage, acrylic, paper, joint tape. 
Kodesh (Holy): 2008, collage, paper, board, monotype, ink. 

To see more of Elizabeth Langer’s work, please visit her website: 

Header image: Yitzchok Moully: Shofar 5778 (2017): acrylic and ink on canvas.

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