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  • Hillels of Georgia

Hillels of Georgia Welcomes New Art Installation to the Marcus Hillel Center

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

Atlanta - For over a decade, the Marcus Hillel Center at Emory University has hosted rotating exhibits of Judaic art, fulfilling the mission of the Center to be a place to explore Jewish arts, culture, spirituality and community.

This month, Hillels of Georgia is welcoming a new installation of local art to the walls of the Marcus Hillel Center.

Ruth Simon McRae's exhibit, "Threads of Ritual," showcases dramatic and intricate Jewish ritual textiles, including talitot and challah covers. The pieces use evocative colors and dynamic texture to tell the stories and histories of the Jewish people.

McRae's interest in textiles began in childhood. In her father's interior design studio a young Ruth found herself surrounded by beautiful fabrics. Further inspired by the fashion of the 1960s, she pursued a formal education in the arts studying painting at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Philadelphia College of Art. In 1970, she purchased a 100-year-old loom and taught herself to weave, focusing on pictorial tapestries.

After reading the writing of American textile artist Anni Albers, McRae was inspired to continue her studies in the arts with a focus in textile design. After receiving her Bachelor of Science in textile design from Philadelphia University, McRae pursued a career as a textile designer and in 1978 moved to Georgia and earned a Master of Science in textiles from the Georgia Institute of Technology. In Georgia she pursued a career in industrial textiles and floor covering design.

After her cousin pointed our the complex handmade textiles she created would translate well into talitot, Ruth began using her skills in textile design to create Judaic pieces. Says McRae, "I started with autobiographical themes, or more simply, themes from my life: the landscape in our backyard, the garden, studies in white to express a feeling of holiness, watercolor painting. From there I moved on to tallit that were inspired by various materials and color combinations."

The infatuating pieces adorn the walls of the Marcus Hillel Center and even hang from the ceiling in the Center's sanctuary. Hillels of Georgia CEO, Elliot B. Karp, remarked, "Ruth Simon McRae's exhibit encapsulates the beauty of everyday Jewish ritual which serves to center and connect our Jewish people. I am thrilled to share this exhibit with our students and the wider Atlanta community."

The exhibit will be on display through November 15, 2021. It is open and free to the public during Hillels of Georgia's office hours, 9:30 am - 5:30 pm Monday through Friday, excluding all Jewish holidays. All students, staff and visitors to the Marcus Hillel Center must wear face masks while indoors. We ask you to respect our policy for the safety and well-being of our community.

Please join Hillels of Georgia for an exhibit opening Sunday, September 26 from 3:00 - 5:00 pm at the Marcus Hillel Center, 735 Gatewood Rd, Atlanta, GA 30322.

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