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Sheva Chaya Shaiman is the artist who created the exquisite, spiritual JewishMOM.com logo in the banner above as well as the covers of both my books. I thought it would be interesting to ask Sheva Chaya a few questions about her life as an artist and as a JewishMOM of 5 kids.

Where are you from originally? Denver, Colorado

At what age did you become an artist? I started really getting into painting and drawing in college, at the age of 18.

Where did you study art? I studied painting at Princeton University, and also in Paris, on a semester abroad, which I spent mainly going to various museums. I studied glassblowing, more specifically lampworking, at Red Deer College in Alberta, Canada and privately in my studio in Tsfat.

When and how did you become religious?
I started to get interested in Judaism in college, in the mid 90’s. I loved Israel the first time I came (when I was 17) because I saw a great energy and joy for life in the people here. I also loved the landscape of Israel, so colorful and varied. I saw Judaism is “alive” in people, that they “live” Judaism, and their lives were obviously on another level. I started to learn Hebrew, loved the language, and heard about Rebbe Nachman, Rav Kook, Shlomo Carlebach, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and found myself blown away over and over again how by beautiful the teachings of the Torah are. After living in the Old City of Jerusalem while spending a semester abroad at Hebrew University I was committed to Shabbos, and learning as much Torah as I could. I loved the chevra (people) so much in Israel, I always wanted to come back until I realized I wanted to live here.

How do you balance motherhood and your art?
My children inspire me so much! They have inspired paintings—of them, of mothers with children, of Noah’s Ark. They are like a gateway into a different way of looking at the world, seeing its wonder and simplicity. I am also inspired to make beautiful meaningful artwork which conveys a world of redemption, of joy, and of the Jewish people and the land of Israel shining and thriving.

Of course, I also do art projects with my children, and I’m constantly impressed with their expressions. I find that I need to spend some time alone as well, painting, blowing glass, making videos, and that gives me the clarity and patience to be more present with my children.

As a mom with 5 kids, is it hard to find time to work on your art? Yes! It can be nearly impossible, but I have found that somehow HaShem opens the gates and there are new waves of creative expression through the phases of motherhood and child-raising. I have found that pregnancy can be an ultra-creative time (it is!), and that with every kid, new windows into creativity are opening.

What is your favorite kind of art? I love art that is alive, fresh, fun, full of joy, and helps uplift people. If you mean what media, it is often a toss-up between glassblowing, painting, and videography. At the moment, I love the glasswork because I am able to share it with people. I do glassblowing presentations in my gallery in Tsfat, and simultaneously explain the “deeper” side of glass. By touching on Kabbalistic ideas connected to glass and glassblowing, we can see that the simple act of creating something new can open our hearts and minds to connecting deeper—to HaShem’s world, to each other.

What do you love best about being a Jewish mother?
The whole experience is such a gift! Ashreinu! We are so blessed! To pick one thing, I would say Shabbos! It is such an honor to get the opportunity to share and be together, to celebrate HaShem’s creation, to learn beautiful Torah teachings, to sing together.
What do you love best about being an artist? I love that I can give something to people. To gladden hearts, to brighten homes, and to share what I have deep inside—-and, on a simple level, I love to be involved with colors!

What are some of the newest projects you are working on?
I started to make chandeliers with glass pomegranates on the lights (see: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=258645&id=641153548&l=1997f0d427) I love seeing the light shine through the glass.

I also recently created a music video
(for women only) for the hit song “Miriam’s Drum” by Tziona Achishena, which shows an array of new paintings and video footage of our recent NY tour.
I particularly love the message of the video, which is the circle of women dancing, and I hope to publish a children’s book about Miriam the Prophetess, and paintings in this video will be the starting point.

Learn more about Sheva Chaya in this video:

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I was pretty shocked (and also thrilled) last week when one of my blog posts received just over 4000 views- doubling my all-time JewishMOM.com blog record. Below is the post which is making JewishMOM.com history! (Special thanks to Yikrat Friedman of www.Parasha.org for the link that sent so many people my way).

Here’s the winning post:)
Hear Aaron Razel’s Newly-Released Hit Song!

If you love this song, vote for it to win as best new song at Reshet Gimmel: In order to vote, check off song #5 as well as 4 other boxes, and then click the orange box on the bottom of the screen and fill out your details on the next screen.

If you know Hebrew, click here to vote for the song to win as best new song at Israeli Army Radio.

Aaron Razel last month with his newborn son, Eliya Mordechai. Photo by Efrat Razel.

I have been waiting for FOUR WHOLE YEARS for Aaron Razel to put out a new solo album. And I’m sure I’m not alone– Aaron Razel is one of the most popular musicians in Israel today.

So I was really happy and surprised to hear the fantastic new song “What did You Do Today?” on the radio last Sunday, and the announcement that this song will be featured on Aaron Razel’s soon-to-be-released album.

I LOVED the song, and I right away started working on a music video for it– with a JewishMOM twist;) My favorite photo in the video is, of course, the one of Aaron holding his month old baby, Eliya Mordechai. SO CUUUUTE!

I became totally obsessed with making this video this week, it kept me up too late and wake me up too early and distracted me throughout the afternoons with my kidlings. Efrat Razel, my dear buddy and Aaron’s wife, helped me out a lot with it as well with advice and photos. This video completely gobbled up my week, and is the reason why there are fewer posts than usual this week…Enjoy!

CLICK TO RECEIVE THE #1 WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FOR JEWISH MOMS

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Winner at the Delta County Fair, Colorado (LOC)photo © 1939 The Library of Congress | more info (via: Wylio)
Mazal tov to Chaya Cohen of Jerusalem for winning the “Best Advice I Ever Received Contest”!

Chaya is one of 29 JewishMOM.com readers who signed up for the 4-week free trial offer of Rabbi Aryeh Nivin’s life-altering Personal Development Chabura, and Chaya’s name was chosen at random to win an entire 12-week session of the Chabura!

The truth is that I am so happy that Chaya won in the end. I have never met her, but over the years Chaya Cohen has been one of my most loyal readers, and she has helped me immensely on many, many occasions.

It was Chaya who told me about Dina Friedman’s parenting class, which I am taking now and LOVING! On occasion, Chaya has provided me with much-needed and fantastic blog-related technical advice (she is a professional website developer). It is Chaya who sends me inspirational parenting stories that I love so much and have shared in my peptalks. Once Chaya even caught a typo a few minutes before I sent out my weekly newsletter that would have been really, REALLY embarrassing if she hadn’t pointed it out to me.*

Mazal tov, Chaya! And THANK YOU!

*In an blog post a few weeks back I referred to one of the greatest rabbis of the previous generation, Rabbi Dayan Fisher, as “infamous” instead of “famous.” I wrote this because I had mistakenly thought that infamous meant VERY famous (that’s what living in Israel for 18 years can do to you. My Hebrew’s not native-level perfect, and my English no longer is either). FYI, for those of you who also don’t know, infamous actually means “Having a reputation of the worst kind.”

The weirdest thing about this potentially-incredibly-embarrassing “Famous/Infamous” incident was that the week I posted that article I had been trying and trying to send out that week’s newsletter, but all of a sudden my computer filter went absolutely ballistic and started blocking EVERYTHING.

It was incredibly bizarre, and I was totally frustrated because this filter issue meant that I wouldn’t be able to send out the newsletter on time. I tried to remind myself through all the stress and frustration that “Hashem is making this happen, and He must be doing it for a reason!” but I wasn’t really convinced.

And then, while fiddling with my ballistic filter and making zero headway, I received Chaya Cohen’s Email explaining to me that I really did not want to write “The infamous Rabbi Dayan Fisher.” I thanked Chaya effusively, and fixed my mistake. And within a few minutes my newsletter was on its merry way. Weird, right?

Thank you, Chaya, for your careful reading, and thank you Hashem for saving me from my own stupid whopper of a JewishMOM blooper!

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In this wonderful video from Naaleh.com, a mother asks how she can raise her daughter so that she doesn’t feel like a second-class citizen. I loved Rebbetzin Heller’s response, made me laugh and moved me too. Rebbetzin Heller is THE BEST!
Forward video to 27:36 to watch

Vodpod videos no longer available.


CLICK TO RECEIVE THE #1 WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FOR JEWISH MOMS

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CLICK TO RECEIVE THE #1 WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FOR JEWISH MOMS

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Aaron Razel last month with his newborn son, Eliya Mordechai. Photo by Efrat Razel.

I have been waiting for FOUR WHOLE YEARS for Aaron Razel to put out a new solo album. And I’m sure I’m not alone– Aaron Razel is one of the most popular musicians in Israel today.

So I was really happy and surprised to hear the fantastic new song “What did You Do Today?” on the radio last Sunday, and the announcement that this song will be featured on Aaron Razel’s soon-to-be-released album.

I LOVED the song, and I right away started working on a music video for it– with a JewishMOM twist;) My favorite photo in the video is, of course, the one of Aaron holding his month old baby, Eliya Mordechai. SO CUUUUTE!

I became totally obsessed with making this video this week, it kept me up too late and wake me up too early and distracted me throughout the afternoons with my kidlings. Efrat Razel, my dear buddy and Aaron’s wife, helped me out a lot with it as well with advice and photos. This video completely gobbled up my week, and is the reason why there are fewer posts than usual this week…Enjoy!

CLICK TO RECEIVE THE #1 WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FOR JEWISH MOMS

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