How Jewish artists reclaimed Jesus as their own at the Israel Museum

By Shany Littman
Reuven Rubin’s 'Temptation in the Desert.'
ISRAEL---Though Jesus has traditionally been a taboo subject among observant Jews, he has served as a common theme for modern Jewish painters and writers. It’s not surprising, then, that it took so many years for the Israel Museum to dare to mount an exhibition in Jerusalem of Israeli art dealing with Jesus. That institution, the closest thing we have to a national museum, generally tries to rock the boat as little as possible. But time has apparently calmed the tempestuous feelings about “that person”: Quite a few religiously observant folk were spotted on a recent visit to the exhibition “Behold the Man: Jesus in Israeli Art” (which opened shortly before Christmas and runs until April 16.) None were visibly upset by the fact that Israeli artists were occupied with what was once such a volatile subject. [link]

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