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Dybbuks, Ibburs, and the Transmigration of Souls in Jewish Folklore

A dybbuk in Jewish folklore is a demonic dislocated human spirit of a person who has died that, because of unatoned sins, wanders until it finds a haven in the body of a living person. The dybbuk will not leave its host, unless exorcised. In contrast, an ibbur is a benevolent spirit in Jewish folklore, believed to take possession of a living person for positive results, and leaves its host voluntarily without intervention. Belief in dybbuks, and to a lesser extent ibburs, was especially prevalent in sixteenth–seventeenth-century Eastern Europe. . . .

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Golem

The Golem is one of the most widely recognized characters emerging from Jewish folklore. Through centuries the story of the Golem has maintained popular appeal, but also inspired global imagination. Today the Golem motif continues to appear with many meanings over time . . .

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FOCUS

LILITH

Lilith is one of the most famous figures in Jewish mythology. A female demon (mazikim), Lilith endangers pregnant women and children, and is a sexual predator. Over the centuries, many artists illustrated the demoness through various depictions until the twentieth century when Lilith infiltrated pop culture, inspiring characters in video games, films, and songs. Lilith has also become one of the greatest feminist figures . . .

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milk and honey

In the tale of “Milk and Honey,” a young boy follows his goat into a cave that magically transports both of them from fields of Eastern Europe to a hillside in Jerusalem. The goat had been grazing there, which explains its sweet and rich milk. In Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid, artists Vera Iliatova, Mike Rothfeld, Chris Sollars, and Inez Storer all pull icons from this story for their works of art. . . . 

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Queen of Sheba

The character of the Queen of Sheba appears in the holy texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and is the subject of much legend and interpretation in Jewish and Ethiopian traditions. . . . 

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Rooster Prince

“The Prince Who Thought He Was a Rooster” is a story of a prince who has decided that he is a rooster and acts accordingly. After the King and Queen’s extensive attempts to find a cure, a wise man arrives with a promise. The wise man’s approach has been retold especially in the context of education and social service. . . .

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Teacher Resource

This exhibition guide is a multimedia adventure through the world of folktales, storytelling, culture, and contemporary art. Intended for educators or anyone interested in exploring the themes and ideas of Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid, this guide may be used before or after a visit to The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM), or as a stand-alone resource for teaching. . . .

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HAPTIC ENCOUNTERS

Haptic Encounters is a collaborative project with writer and professor Georgina Kleege that investigates how tactile and kinesthetic explorations of works of art can engage all visitors with the possibilities for appreciating art through a non-visual sense. . . . 

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