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2016-12-02 digital edition

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December 2, 2016  RSS feed

Text: T T T

St. Pete Chabad to host exhibit by ‘pop art’ rabbi

A painting “Overflowing Blessings” A painting “Overflowing Blessings” If orange socks don’t come to mind when you think of an Orthodox rabbi, then you haven’t met Hasidic pop artist Rabbi Yitzchok Moully.

One of his images depicts a line of people – each dressed all in black except one, whose orange socks create a striking juxtaposition among the black silhouettes.

“You don’t need big dreads or tattoos to define individuality,” says Rabbi Moully, known as the Pop Art Rabbi. “In truth, Judaism really asks of us to find ourselves within the experience. It’s not about being a carbon copy. It’s asking us to find personal meaning within Judaism.”

An exhibition and sale of Rabbi Moully’s work titled “Post Pop” will be on display on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the Chabad Jewish Center of Greater St. Petersburg, 4010 Park St. N. The public is invited to a dessert reception with the rabbi that evening at 7. Rabbi Moully will lead a dialogue about his work and how it relates to his spirituality and religion.

Rabbi Yitzchok Moully Rabbi Yitzchok Moully Rabbi Moully was born in Australia, the son of a couple he describes as “hippy parents.” While he never went through formal art training, he was always passionate about photography as an outlet of self-expression. About 10 years ago he discovered silkscreen printing, which allowed him to print brilliantly colored images in a style he calls Hasidic pop art.

As a youth rabbi in New Jersey, he sees his work as a way to share his view of the Hasidic lifestyle and dispel the myths that abound about the Hassidic life. “There’s so much color on the inside,” he said. “There’s so much personality. It really is an approachable way of life.”

Rabbi Moully challenges preconceived notions. “I want my work to be a conversation piece. It’s not your grandparent’s Hasidic art. It’s a way for contemporary Jews and contemporary Americans to connect with each other.” Shabbat candlesticks, for example, share a canvas with a Zippo lighter. A Kiddush cup is next to a martini glass; a Torah next to an e-reader. Vibrant colors re-interpret ageless tradition.

Rabbi Moully says his work is infused with hope – hope that his images challenge, broaden or empower notions about faith and religion. And hope that his images will encourage a smile and bring joy.

Which is why he wears orange socks.

Rabbi Moully’s artwork will be available for purchase at the exhibit.

Refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP at

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