Visu­al Arts

An Illu­mi­na­tion of Blessings

Ilene Winn-Led­er­er
  • Review
By – December 16, 2015

Ilene Winn-Lederer’s new book, An Illu­mi­na­tion of Bless­ings, may well have a dra­mat­ic effect on the read­er. The book makes the recita­tion of dai­ly bra­chos excit­ing and inter­est­ing. It is a com­pi­la­tion of thir­ty-six bless­ings orga­nized into six cat­e­gories: life, sus­te­nance, jour­neys, sight, wis­dom, and peace. Each prayer is pre­sent­ed in beau­ti­ful Hebrew and Eng­lish cal­lig­ra­phy, along with an exquis­ite illus­tra­tion and a schol­ar­ly and inspi­ra­tional com­men­tary. Marc Michael Epstein, not­ed schol­ar of medieval texts and Jew­ish cul­ture, suc­cinct­ly cap­tures the essence of the vol­ume in his intro­duc­to­ry com­ments; he states that it is remark­able, unusu­al, fas­ci­nat­ing and pre­cious.” It also sounds a sho­far call to mind­ful­ness,” there­by serv­ing to rein­vig­o­rate the tra­di­tion of say­ing bra­chos with kavanah, or focused atten­tion, instead of repeat­ing them robotically.

Winn-Led­er­er care­ful­ly select­ed the prayers to cov­er activ­i­ties through­out a giv­en day” and to help enhance your appre­ci­a­tion of our world’s pro­sa­ic and pro­found beau­ty with which we are all blessed.” This beau­ti­ful book of prayers deserves to be read and stud­ied many times over to help expli­cate the full mean­ings of the bless­ings we say ( or should say) every day. It is a delight­ful gift for peo­ple of all ages and vari­eties of rit­u­al observance.

Ilene Winn-Led­er­er attend­ed The Art Insti­tute of Chica­go and The Chica­go Acad­e­my of Fine Arts, and she is cur­rent­ly a board mem­ber of the Pitts­burgh Soci­ety of Illus­tra­tors. She is the author and illus­tra­tor of Between Heav­en & Earth: An Illu­mi­nat­ed Torah Com­men­tary. Her stun­ning draw­ings and paint­ings are includ­ed in pub­lic and pri­vate col­lec­tions through­out the Unit­ed States and Europe.

Relat­ed Content:

Car­ol Poll, Ph.D., is the retired Chair of the Social Sci­ences Depart­ment and Pro­fes­sor of Soci­ol­o­gy at the Fash­ion Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy of the State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York. Her areas of inter­est include the soci­ol­o­gy of race and eth­nic rela­tions, the soci­ol­o­gy of mar­riage, fam­i­ly and gen­der roles and the soci­ol­o­gy of Jews.

Discussion Questions