An Unlikely Match: The James Francis Trezza Gallery and Illuminations on the Exodus

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

March 20, 2008, New York, NY

Illuminations on the Exodus is a functional fusion of magnificent artwork and Jewish learning. This unique window into the Passover seder experience will be exhibited at James Francis Trezza, 39 East 78th Street (just off Madison Avenue), New York City. A reception for the artist will be held from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8.

Illuminated and authored by Rabbi Matthew L. Berkowitz, an accomplished artist and sofer (scribe), Illuminations on the Exodus brings the experience of the Exodus to a deeper and more meaningful level through its three components: a portfolio of twenty-seven giclée prints (including three papercuts), a Haggadah, and a book of commentary, all produced entirely
in Israel.

Rabbi Berkowitz, who is Senior Rabbinic Fellow at The Jewish Theological Seminary, was formally trained in Jewish scribal art in Jerusalem and has completed the writing of Megillat Esther (the scroll of Esther read during the Jewish festival of Purim) and the illumination of several ketubbot (wedding contracts). His philosophy, painting as visual prayer that mirrors the humanistic and constructive core of the religious experience, is driven by his passion to use visual arts as a midwife that delivers text into the hands of a receptive audience.

According to gallery owner James Trezza, "I was touched by the beauty and sincerity of the work. Matt tackles religion's major themes—that of the nature of God, the nature of Man, and their relationship to the natural world. While I am not Jewish, these are questions that I ask also. I have never found a satisfactory answer, but I appreciate the inquiry. Matt's work dwells on these so deeply that any thinking human would find something in the work. As an art dealer, I cannot fail to appreciate the artistry and cohesiveness of the portfolio. By creating something so lovely, Matt has drawn together the universal themes of freedom and redemption with the power of beauty. It is timeless art, sophisticated, beyond the mere trendy, absolutely classic."

James Trezza has over twenty years experience in the art world. His gallery on Madison Avenue is known for nineteenth and twentieth century masterpieces and works of the finest quality. Trezza is also a successful film producer, including the Academy Award-winning Pollock.

To schedule an interview with Rabbi Matt Berkowitz or James Trezza, please contact Sherry S. Kirschenbaum in the JTS Department of Communications at (212) 678-8953.