The Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
The 2015 Dorothy Saxe Invitational: Tzedakah Box
Exhibition Apr 9–May 17, 2015
The 2015 Dorothy Saxe Invitational: Tzedakah Box will not be on view: Apr 10–14 and May 11–12, 2015
Started in 1984 and now in its tenth iteration, The 2015 Dorothy Saxe Invitational is an important component of The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s long-standing tradition of inviting artists from a variety of backgrounds to explore a Jewish ceremonial object within the context of their own medium and artistic philosophy.
For this Invitational, artists were invited to create works of art that reinterpret the tzedakah box (orpushke in Yiddish), a traditionally humble container found in synagogues, Jewish homes, and institutions in which charitable donations are deposited. This ritual object relates to one of the most important obligations in Judaism—the obligation to give to those in need regardless of your means. Hebrew for “righteousness,” tzedakah is the act of charity in Jewish culture and faith, and the tzedakah box is a physical reminder of this commitment. While it is not linked to any specific holiday, it is traditional for coins to be placed in the box on Shabbat. Making the act visible in this way allows it to become a teaching tool for the next generation.
Participating artists were encouraged to interpret this unique object from a contemporary perspective, exploring its ongoing relevance and universality. Working in a wide range of media, from wood to glass to paint and graphite, the artists have explored many facets of the tradition.