Artist Hillel Smith is an LA native who has been painting Jewish murals around the city and around the world for the last few years. His murals are intended to be public markers of Jewish pride and Jewish presence in the diverse fabric of Los Angeles. Most of them feature ancestral Hebrew text--the Hamotzi, or blessing over bread on the back of a Kosher bakery; a proverb about finding wisdom at American Jewish University. He sees these pieces as a way to engage local Jews with their heritage, and as a way to express Jewish identity on large scale to all who pass by.
Artist, Hillel Smith
Hillel is also a JQ community member, and for his newest piece, he wants to create a mural dedicated to gay and Jewish pride. Included in the morning liturgy is a blessing to be said by women that reads, "Blessed are you, God ... for making me according to your will," in Hebrew, "she asani kirtzono." This bold statement that God created each of us intentionally in these myriad bodies and forms has distinct echoes of #bornthisway, though a millennium older than hashtags. As a result, this blessing has become a succinct and powerful articulation of gay pride in a Jewish context. The mural will feature this blessing in the original Hebrew and in English in Hillel's characteristic playful typographic style over a rainbow background, flecked with abstracted helices.
Sketch of JQ Mural
The mural would be located in the Melrose Alleys, a stretch of alleys on either side of Melrose Avenue between Fairfax and La Brea, that are famous for street art and have been the canvas for such luminaries as Shepard Fairey and Banksy. That area of the city also happens to be a crossroads of historic Jewish neighborhoods and gay neighborhoods, making the placement of the mural potentially meaningful to multiple constituencies.
JQ is the fiscal sponsor for this project, and all donations made in support are tax deductible. The mural will also feature a dedication to JQ, as well as angel supporters. We hope to raise $1500 to cover supplies and time dedicated to creating the mural. Your assistance is greatly appreciated!
Located at Camp Rama in Ojai, CA
Located at SIJCC in Los Angeles, CA
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Located at AJU in Los Angeles, CA