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"Let There Be Light" by Kem Alexander

If you go

› What: “Light: Religious and Secular.”

› When: Through Friday, Dec. 16.

› Where: Jewish Cultural Center, 5461 North Terrace.

› Admission: Free.

› Phone: 423 493-0270.

› Email: atreadwell@jewishchattanooga.com.

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"Bride Queen" by Flora Rosefsky
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"The Hope of Being Heard" by Gabrielle Mizrachi-Mallin

The artists included in "Light: Religious and Secular," the new exhibit at the Jewish Cultural Center, have found myriad ways to imbue their works with light.

"This exhibit was created as way for both religious and secular people to begin to celebrate the diversity of light this season," says exhibit curator Ann Treadwell, program director for the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga.

She notes that Hanukkah, the Jewish "Festival of Lights," begins the evening of Dec. 24, this year. The festival is observed by the kindling of lights on the menorah for eight nights.

"Light: Religious and Secular" will run through Friday, Dec. 16.

The invitational exhibit features art in all media by 18 artists from Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. Seven are from the greater Chattanooga area.

Photographer Tom Cory of Chattanooga contributed "Dawn, the Iceberg Lagoon (Iceland)."

"The combination of dawn light, moving water and ice created a truly remarkable scene," he recalls. "By using a long exposure, I attempted to create an image that implied both the beauty of moving water and the soft light of dawn. The icebergs in the background had a beautiful light blue tone, adding another dimension to the mix of light, color and movement to this fascinating scene."

Gabrielle Mizrachi-Mallin of Toledo, Ohio, who specializes in Judaic 3-D digital collage and ketubah (Jewish ceremonial) art, has titled one of her works "A Great Miracle Happened There."

"In this art piece, the liquid background, a symbol of the spilled sacred oil, reflects the dramatic sky at dawn, reminding us to never give up hope that, with each new day, our Creator listens and answers our prayers," she explains in her artist statement. "The fire below the eight ancient oil lamps represents the miraculous flame that continued to burn, keeping alive the hopes of the Jewish people. Deep within the center lays a red pool, representing the blood of the courageous Maccabees who valiantly subdued their oppressors. In each corner, heavenly blue Hebrew letters, Nun, Gimel, Hay, Shin — acronyms for the [Hanukkah] phrase 'Nays Gadol Hayah Sham,' 'A Great Miracle Happened There,' stand as reminders for us to open our own eyes to the daily miracles and blessings that God bestows upon each of us every day."

Flora Rosefky of Atlanta also chose a religious reference for her "Bride Queen."

"For many, the Shabbat (day of rest) begins at a prescribed time before sundown each Friday when we light the Shabbat candles," she says. "Shabbat has a strongly feminine connection, perceived as being both a bride for her beauty, yet also seen metaphorically as a queen for her rules. In my dreamlike vision, the Sabbath Bride Queen floats into one's home or the synagogue, making us slow down and perhaps helping us to appreciate that moment of holiness and light when she enters our life."

Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays or by appointment. The gallery will be closed today and Friday, Nov. 24-25.

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