A renowned designer of Judaica, Reichert has been creating Jewish ritual objects unique in their interpretive depth and beauty since 1995. Since 1996, when she won second place in the Philip and Sylvia Spertus Judaica Prize for her seder plate that now is in the permanent collection of the Jewish Museum in New York City, she has participated in invited juried exhibitions in museums around the world.
Reichert’s inspiration for the Lieberman commission, “Deeds of Giving Are the Very Foundations of the World,” comes from the first divinely commanded building project, the tabernacle in the desert.
“I had just finished reading in Exodus 25:1 about the building of the mishkan and what struck me was the generosity and enthusiasm of the original donors,” said Reichert.
Built from donations from the entire people of Israel, the mishkan was a project that defined and symbolized the community’s coherence. In the same way, the names of those with a heartfelt and enduring connection to CJE SeniorLife will be seamlessly integrated into Reichert’s artwork.
The materials Reichert chose—gold, silver, bronze and acacia wood—echo the primary materials of the mishkan as described in the Torah. A panel of translucent cloth recalls the textile donations that were also an essential part of the or
iginalmishkan and evokes a tallis, spread out to embrace the community.
“While there is no longer a mishkan,” said Reichert, “places like Lieberman Center play that essential role in Jewish life today.”
The art installation will include 613 naming opportunities, one for each of the seeds in a pomegranate, which is CJE’s logo. According to Jewish tradition, the fruit’s 613 seeds represent the number of mitzvot, or good deeds, in each individual.
“We wanted something that was more than just a list of names,” said Allyson Marks Greenfield, CJE’s Director of Development, who along with a panel of judges that included CJE Board members and leadership, selected Reichert’s proposal. “Amy’s interpretation deftly captures CJE’s spirit of community, its mission of enhancing the lives of older adults and the significance of the Jewish values underlying all that we do.”
Reichert holds a B.A. and M.A. from Yale University. She combines her studio work with teaching in college art and art history departments, including as Professor of Arts Administration at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
The project is scheduled to be installed at CJE’s Lieberman Center in Skokie in September. For more information on how to include your name, or the name of a loved one by purchasing a “plaque,” contact CJE’s Development Department at773/508-1025.
CJE SeniorLife is an innovative provider of community-based and residential programs, and services for older adults throughout the Chicago area. Over the past 40 years, CJE’s wide range of services has grown to include assisted living, counseling and care management, long-term skilled nursing, Alzheimer’s care, home health, wellness programs and much more. CJE is a partner in serving the community, supported by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation. For more information about CJE services, call 773/508-1000 or visit www.cje.net.