Their Portraits: Philadelphia Artists Honor October 7 Hostages

17mar2:00 PM4:00 PMTheir Portraits: Philadelphia Artists Honor October 7 Hostages

Event Details

Their Portraits: Philadelphia Artists Honor October 7 Hostages showcases the poignant work of eight local artists, depicting the individual stories of more than 200 hostages taken from Israel by Hamas.

On Sunday, March 17, from 2:00 PM-4:00 PM, a reception will be held at the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, providing an opportunity to meet the artists and come together as a community to reflect on the humanity behind each portrait and honor the resilience of those affected by this conflict.

Co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), the event stands as a testament to the power of art to inspire empathy and solidarity. Join us in acknowledging their courage, fostering understanding, and standing against antisemitism.

Registration for this FREE event is available HERE.

More about the Installation

Awakened by sirens as terrorists infiltrated Israel’s border on the morning of October 7, Philadelphia artist Sivia Katz Braunstein counted the hours while sheltering with her family in a safe room on the kibbutz where she was visiting family. Only later did she learn that some 1,200 people were murdered and nearly 250 were abducted on that terrible day.

After making her way home, Braunstein decided to use her artistic talent to raise awareness of the hostage crisis. She and a group of fellow women artists in Philadelphia — Nancy Gordon, Deborah Morris Zakheim, Judy Rohtbart, Jane Bennett, Carol Lert, Sue Seif, and Carol Sack Denmark — volunteered their time and talent to paint 8×10 portraits of each hostage, including the dead, the freed, and those still in captivity.

“We’re artists,” said Braunstein. “This is our way to bring attention to the men, women, and children forcibly taken from Israel on October 7th. They were just living their lives, like we are doing now, when Hamas invaded Israel and abducted them.”

From March 9 through April 14, the special art installation will span the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History’s 3rd floor atrium, offering a profound reflection on humanity’s endurance in the face of adversity.

Arrangements will be made to deliver the paintings to the families of the hostages in the coming months.

“In our core exhibition, we document how the American Jewish community has demonstrated resilience and responded to crises throughout U.S. history,” said Emily August, Chief Public Engagement Officer at the Weitzman. “What these artists have done in honoring the hostages will become a part of the ongoing story of American Jewish life that we strive to explore every day in our Museum.”

“The horrific October 7th massacre and its aftermath have presented a clear choice to the international community — stand with Israel in the fight to defeat terrorism and safeguard modern democracy or align with Hamas and the forces of tyranny,” Combat Antisemitism Movement CEO Sacha Roytman stated. “Nearly five months after the attack, more than 130 Israeli men, women, and children are still languishing in captivity, and this powerful exhibit embodies our call on countries across the globe to do everything in their power to help end this unimaginable ordeal and bring them home.”

“Amidst all the news of the war, it sometimes feels that the plight of the hostages has been forgotten. We speak about the hostages as a number, a group, not as individuals,” shared Jeffrey Lasday, Senior Chief, External Affairs at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. “The hostages have been held in horrendous conditions for over 150 days. This unique exhibit personalizes each hostage and brings their individual stories to life.”

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Time

(Sunday) 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Location

Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

5th and Market, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania