Special Exhibitions

Listen to the Trees — האזינו לעצים

On view in The Gallery at Chochmat HaLev until April 10.

“Listen to the Trees” is an homage to the redwoods, oaks, bay laurels and other species I have encountered, inspired by regular walks through the East Bay hills. Scientific evidence revealing plant-to-plant communication reinforces my own spiritual feelings of connection to all that lives, including trees.

I made most of these photographs during hikes in Oakland’s Joaquin Miller and Redwood Regional Parks. Some are “straight” photographs; others are made with photo-stitching software. I hope to inspire viewers to experience trees in new and mind-opening ways, to help us draw closer to our arboreal and other non-human neighbors. The trees have much to teach us if only we stop and “listen” — with all our senses.

Tom Levy is a San Francisco native, and award-winning photojournalist and writer. Over the last decade, his photography has been influenced by his experiences with Earth-based Jewish spirituality. He lives with his wife and teenage son in Oakland. This is his first solo exhibit since 1999.

The Sacred in All Shines Everywhere

The allegorical works of Hyla Shifra Bolsta

On view in The Gallery at Chochmat HaLev through January 31, 2020

Aharon Wheels Bolsta, the son of the artist and Chochmat musician, will be at the opening to talk about his mother’s work.

This retrospective of the allegorical works of Hyla Shifra Bolsta features images from her book, The Illuminated Kaddish. After the death of her friend Laura, Hyla began a series of twenty-one paintings as a visual exploration of the Kaddish, the ancient Jewish prayer recited for the dead. Over a period of six years, she studied the prayer, composed illuminated calligraphy, pulled images from her earlier works, collected passages from sages and rabbis on prayer and death, and created the one hundred-and-twelve page book.

Hyla Shifra Bolsta (1946-2013) was an accomplished artist with work shown throughout the USA, Europe, and Israel. With a B.A in Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute, she applied her artistic talents to fine arts, murals, ceramics, illustration, and design. Her long-dormant interest and love for Jewish spirituality was rekindled at Chochmat Halev in the early 2000’s when her son Aharon began playing music at services.