It’s All About Art at CBSRZ Nov. 4

The Jewish Jackie Series, silkscreen on canvas, by Deborah Kass
The Jewish Jackie Series, silkscreen on canvas, by Deborah Kass

What does Rembrandt have in common with Barbie, that iconic emblem of childhood? Or Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek's Dr. Spock, with famed artist Marc Chagall? All will be included in art historian and editor Robin Cembalest's upcoming talk at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester,"Funny, You Do Look Jewish: Reflections on a Career Covering Jewish Art," on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 3 p.m.

Cembalest describes her presentation as a personal tour through a complex and fascinating field: "I like to describe the talk as a chronicle of illuminators, storytellers, provacateurs, diasporists, conceptualists, crypto-Jews, and more," Cembalest says.

Cembalest, the longtime executive editor of ARTnews, is also a columnist for the online Jewish magazine Tablet, in which a recent article of hers on the late artist Sol LeWitt discussed his design for the CBSRZ ark, later famously replicated on the LeWitt yarmulkes. LeWitt was a member of the CBSRZ congregation.

Cembalest, a graduate of Yale, currently writes about the arts as well on her blog, She also has served as arts editor of the venerable Jewish weekly The Forward. She started her career as an editorial assistant at Artforum.

Her upcoming talk will include figures from Moses to cartoonist Art Spiegelman, author of the graphic novel Maus that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992; and Deborah Kass, whose portraits of Barbara Streisand, entitled The Jewish Jackie Series, echoed Andy Warhol's paintings of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Marilyn Monroe.

The event, sponsored by CBSRZ and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, is free and open to the public. Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. For more information, call the synagogue office at


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