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Laura Beckman
Laura Beckman is a freelance writer and illustrator from Saint Louis, Missouri.

America’s Seven Deadly Sins: The Political Art of Norm Magnusson


by: on September 24th, 2011 | Comments Off

New York-based artist and political activist Norm Magnusson applies a personal approach to national issues in a series of paintings entitled “America’s Seven Deadly Sins,” and an ongoing collection of provocative road signs entitled “The I-75 project.” He uses his background in economics, extensive research, shrewd marketing sense, and playful sense of humor to spark dialogue about what’s going on in our country.

#7 of America's Deadly Sins: U.S. National Arrogance. Painting by Norm Magnusson. Click on the picture above to see more art.

To see more of Magnusson’s work, visit the Tikkun Daily Art Gallery and visit the artist’s website.


A Star is Born: Metaphorical Portraits of America


by: on July 18th, 2011 | Comments Off

Artist Carl Gopal’s interests are expansive, but he is by no means a dilettante. He is gifted with an ability to analyze current events in the context of the “big picture” without getting overwhelmed, weaving together schools of thought as diverse as popular culture and politics, spirituality and quantum physics. He is afraid that amid the exhilaration of rapid scientific advancement, we are losing the sense of humble awe at the universe that spurred our curiosity in the first place.


And Starring Benjamin Netanyahu as Norman Maine

To see more of Gopal’s work, visit the Tikkun Daily Art Gallery and visit the artist’s website.


Teetering on the Edge of Creation: Painting the Zohar


by: on July 7th, 2011 | 10 Comments »

The Zohar, like many other Jewish mystical texts, is veiled in a shroud of secrecy. Part of its power resides in its illusion of exclusivity, its silent challenge to the novice who dares to break open its pages. Artist Michael Hafftka animates stories from the Zohar in the context of his personal life, inviting all of us to search for an element of the sacred within.

Book of Concealment 16: " The Ancient One to the Short-Tempered One - separated and cleaving, not really separate..."

To see more of Michael Hafftka’s work, visit the Tikkun Daily Art Gallery and visit the artist’s website.

In conservative Jewish tradition, there is an aura of spiritual elitism surrounding the Zohar; access to the Kabbalah is limited to those over the age of thirty-five, settled down, and married. Hafftka rejects these regulations. “I think those rules are nonsense, they were instituted specifically for control,” he says. “There’s nothing that I’ve read in the Zohar that shouldn’t be read by anybody and everybody.”

For Hafftka, the poetic Zohar inspired a much stronger emotional connection to Judaism than prayer, services, and the requirements of religious ritual. He believes that the poetry of the Zohar has the potential to reinvigorate a more fluid side of Judaism that might have greater appeal for young, questioning Jews like me. It also offers fodder for artistic creativity. I agree that the Zohar has a special resonance for my generation. In a 2010 survey by LifeWay Research, 72 percent of young adults aged 18-24 characterized themselves as less religious than their parents, yet more spiritual. The Zohar, Hebrew for “splendor” or “radiance,” explores the relationship between the “universal energy” and man. The fierce self-examination and personal growth it inspires is relevant to both Jews and non-Jews, theists and secularists.