Ruthie Feldman, also known as Dr. Ruth Pinkenson Feldman, “The Green Bubbie,” is an internationally recognized expert in Jewish Early Childhood Education. A self-taught watercolorist, Ruth has begun to study fine art collage. Her lifelong interests in studying Jewish texts and interpretation has led her to seek new media and new means for innovative expression of the deep wisdom in Jewish thought. A believer in the creative powers of each of us to seek meaning, and to find modes of expression that enable us to communicate with one another, Ruth has turned to abstract expressionism in her paintings and layered meanings in her collage work. She is constantly intrigued with the interpretations viewers bring to her works.
The Aleph-Bet has captured my imagination. Once I began thinking about the project, I wanted to explore the Torah’s description of the giving of the Tablets of the Ten Commandments--the letters could be seen from different directions; each was carved through the stone with a fiery force, the midrashic idea of an artistry beyond human capability. I was content to depict, in a mobile form, the idea of the letters rotating.
When I thought about the letter “Daled” I first thought about the many words that begin with that letter, and how the word in Hebrew, Delet (meaning “door”), seemed to offer a pictorial symbol--the letter itself as a door (opening). So I began to work on the concept of “the door to a Jewish home,” with a Mezuzah on the doorpost itself.
Much of my fascination with nature, and my efforts to include elements of the natural world in my artwork, brought me to the word Desheh (meaning “field”). I was intrigued by the “inside-outside” paradigm of a doorway (to the inside) and a field (outside).
I went back to my initial thoughts about the giving of the Torah at Sinai. The image of the “field”/desheh began to merge with the idea that, while there was lightning and thunder at the top of the mountain, the mountain itself was beautiful, with flowers and a fence keeping the people at a safe distance from the Divine Presence.
I hope that the finished piece captures the intrigue of inside/outside, of field and of home. I hope that the imagination of the viewer is piqued by the turning “Daled,” to see how the letters of the Torah come to life not in a fiery force on a mountain top, but as we bring them into our homes.
“My Daled” is my effort to combine these thoughts: one, the Hebrew words Delet (“door”) and Desheh (“field”), and two, the force and holiness of the Aleph-Bet. Just as they could penetrate stone, so too can they penetrate our lives.