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Tag: Judaica

Meet the artist Shraga Landesman

Pomegranate Hebrew Seder Plate by Shraga Landesman

When you visit the Website of artist Shraga Landesman you’ll see this quote:

“My spiritual sources are the Bible and the ancient cultures that lived in the region. A disappearing world that I miss which does not exist anymore. I confront this world my way, trying to decode familiar cultural codes from those magic objects that these cultures left behind”.

Shraga Landesman was born in Israel where he studied sculpture and painting at the Oranim College of Art and Tel-Hai College. There was seemingly no limit to the borders of Landesman’s creative output. In 1982 he won first prize in a documentary photograph competition in Israel. His photographs were widely exhibited in Haifa.

At this successful juncture in Shraga’s career, he traveled through Europe where he was exposed to the origins of Western culture, hints of which were left there by the ruins of ancient civilizations such as that of Greece and Rome. Inspired by this, he enrolled at Haifa University, concentrating on small scale sculptures. A constant itch for creative expression led him to the designing and creation of ceremonial Judaica – this is what he is best known for, and this has been the focus of his artistic output since 1996. Shraga Landesman’s creations in functional Judaica are even featured at several museums, galleries and fine craft-stores throughout Israel, Europe and the United States.

Shraga’s Judaica comes in the form of mezuzot, Hanukkah menorahs, pesach items, candle holders, serving items, havdallah sets, Kiddush sets, and more. Currently his photography focuses on Birds of Israel.

The Future of Jewish Web-Surfing

jewish InternetLast August saw the release of 4Wall LLC’s Jewish Internet Metric Study. It is a project aimed towards helping the Jewish community understand the “hurdles and opportunities” presented by the Internet. Certainly the idea behind this research flies in the face of fliers posted in residential ultra-orthodox areas in Israel which read, “אינטרנט מביא סרטן” or ‘The Internet Brings Cancer‘.

Using the practices of the Mckinsey Consulting Firm to get a close-up look at the “Jewish Web”, 4Wall examined data from search engines, taken from between April and June of 2009 to get an understanding of “Web engagement, traffic, demographics, content architecture and market response.” The study analyzed current traffic volume and the four year change in traffic volume of 32 Jewish search terms.

Researchers were surprised when they found an apparent steady decline in Jewish Web-surfing. The main five terms on the decline of the four year spread included: “Judaica” (-54%), “Reform Judaism” (-66%), “Anti-Semitism” (-74%), “Jewish Dating” (-85%) and the largest drop, “Kabbalah” (-87%).

The five highest searches were: “Jewish,” “Israel,” “Holocaust,” “Jerusalem” and “Kosher”. Still even these terms generate less traffic than they did four years ago. The complete sample set of 32 Jewish terms drew an average decrease in search traffic of 25%.

Five search terms, however, became more popular since 2005, these are: “Rosh HaShanah” (49%), “Chabad” (21%), “Challah” (16%), “Matzah” (10%) and “Yom Kippur” (9%).

Despite the decline in Jewish search terms, though, the study DID find a rise in traffic to Jewish news, blogs, education and general information sites. Actually there was a 62% increase in traffic to Jewish news Websites, just within this past year.

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