The Art of Charity: 2nd Annual Art Exhibit Deemed a Success

By Arlette Cojab Jul 01, 2019 09:05 PM

On June 25 in the late hours of the afternoon, Lillian Haber’s house in Allenhurst, NJ was buzzing in preparation for the Second Annual Art Exhibit in honor of Laurie Seruya A”H. The entire ground floor was set up as an art gallery showcasing pieces so meticulously arranged and displayed that they almost looked as though they belonged to the decor. The art ranged from prints to sculptures including artists ranging from Matisse to community members you may see every day. Beyond the aesthetics, though, lies a truly beautiful cause behind this special exhibition.

Artwork on display by Rachel Greenstein at the 2nd Annual Art Exhibit.

Four years ago, Laurie Seruya succumbed to a long battle with colon cancer. In 2018, Seruya's cousin approached Haber with the request to raise money for Midreshet Eshel, a girl's seminary in Israel. Being a good friend of Seruya's and an art consultant, an art exhibition seemed like the natural choice for Haber. Last year’s event went smoothly with Haber raising enough money to purchase a plaque to hang in memory of Seruya in Midreshet Eshel. After last year’s success, Haber knew she had to keep it going.

Artwork by many artists displayed at the event for attendees to view and purchase.

“I already have the prints,” explained Haber. “All I have to do is find the space to hang them.” 

Most of the pieces on display are from collections Lillian has accumulated over the years while others are pieces submitted by local artists.

“It’s really beautiful seeing the community come together over art,” said Sarine Tebele, an attendee of the event.

Pieces by Henri Matisse on display.

The exhibit has really touched the hearts of our community over the years. Rachel Greenstein, an artist who submitted a few paintings for the exhibition, explained that knowing that the proceeds from this exhibit were going to the seminary in Seruya’s honor pushed her to overcome her shyness about her art. This experience has even pushed Greenstein to consider displaying her work in future exhibitions. 

Rachel Benun, another attendee at the event, commented that the cause was, “very fitting for Seruya because she was such a vibrant, dynamic, and progressive thinker.” 

"In honor of Laurie's endless positivity and friendship and for her constant devotion to her parents and children, she has been named a Founding Matriarch of Midreshet Eshel in the Old City of Jerusalem."

Benun, along with other attendees, were happy to see community artists being given exposure in an intimate setting where they can be appreciated.

Over the hours of the exhibition, groups came and went. Soon enough, “sold” tags could be spotted on pieces left and right. Don’t be discouraged if you missed the exhibit's opening night, the art will remain on display until June 30. 

Arlette is a talented writer currently working as Sephardic.Org's Summer events intern.