CRC welcomes artist Siona Benjamin for Spiritual Enrichment Shabbat Weekend


Indian-Jewish artist Siona Benjamin spent more than a year working on a painting that would be transformed into a 15-foot wide circular mosaic installed in the floor at Central Reform Congregation. Benjamin returns to CRC Feb. 3-4 for a Spiritual Enrichment Shabbat Weekend. Photo: Kristi Foster

Central Reform Congregation will welcome artist Siona Benjamin for a Spiritual Enrichment Shabbat Weekend, Feb. 3 and Feb. 4. 

Benjamin is an Indian-Jewish artist who spent more than a year working on a painting that would be transformed into a 15-foot wide circular mosaic installed in the floor at Central Reform Congregation. 

The collaboration of CRC’s founding rabbi, Susan Talve and Benjamin has resulted in other stunning works of art that adorn the building in the Central West End. In addition, to the fifteen-foot in diameter Zodiac Floor, there is the  Scroll of Esther, the Torah Cover and Ark Curtain which combine the depth of Jewish Learning with the artist’s Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Christian, and Buddhist roots and influences.

The designs bring the many cultures together with creativity, courageous content and vibrant color. The religious figures on the floor are people of color; brown, black and blue.

Benjamin will be CRC’s Artist in Residence Friday, February 3 and Saturday, February 4 with a dedication of the new Torah Cover and Ark Curtain. She will give teachings at the Friday Night and Saturday Morning services as well as leading a hands-on Shabbat Lunch and Learn session and a Tu b’Shvat Seder Saturday Evening.

The events planned include: 

• Friday, Feb. 3: Kabbalat Shabbat at 7 p.m. Siona Benjamin’s unique perspective as an Indian-American-Jewish artist has inspired her to create art that represents her transcultural and multicultural narrative. Often featuring blue characters, Benjamin’s work illuminates vibrant colors, cultural and religious symbols in various mediums to create works that have synergy and meaning and challenge each of us to explore our own unique identities. Join CRC for a Shabbat teaching featuring Rabbi Susan Talve and artist Siona Benjamin followed by a festive oneg.

• Saturday, Feb. 4: Shabbat Morning Services at 10 a.m. CRC will dedicate a new Torah cover and ark curtains designed by Benjamin. A festive oneg will follow the service.

• Saturday, Feb. 4: Lunch and hands-on workshop with Siona Benjamin, 12:30 p.m. Lunch available with advance registration and $10 donation.

• Saturday, Feb. 4, Tu B’Shevat seder in the CRC oneg at 7 p.m.: Share in the mystical ritual of the full moon that assures the refructification of the fruit trees. Learn more about the mysteries of our zodiac floor from the artist. Join us for heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine, and a chocolate dessert reception. Merchandise by Benjamin will be available for sale, including an auction of original prints with images from Zodiac Floor and Torah Cover. Attendance with advance registration and $36 donation.

CRC is located at 5020 Waterman Blvd. For more information, visit them online.