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An Exhibition of “Veiled Women: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Women in Israel”

Posted 01/31/2012
Posted by David Isgur

A photographic exhibition titled “Veiled Women: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Women in Israel,” will open with a reception on Monday, Feb. 13, from 3 to 5 p.m., in the Museum of Jewish Civilization (located in Mortensen Library on the University of Hartford campus, 200 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford).

The exhibit, featuring the work of award-winning photographer Lena Stein, explores a highly visible and, of late, highly debated practice in many parts of the world: women’s head-coverings. The exhibition is sponsored by the University of Hartford's Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, and will kick off the Greenberg Center's spring semester focus on the Middle East. The Feb. 13 reception and the exhibition are free and open to the public.

For the past two years, the Greenberg Center has looked at how and why Jewish, Christian, and Muslim women cover their hair as part of religious traditions that originated some 2,000 years ago. Over the summers of 2010 and 2011, students in the Greenberg Center’s summer study abroad program in Israel worked together with Arabic language and culture professor Maha Darawsha and Stein to study this trend among Jewish, Christian, and Muslim women.

“While many media reports about women in the Middle East and Europe feature photographs of women wearing veils and other face- and head-coverings, these stories explain little about the origins of this ancient tradition shared by many religions,” said Greenberg Center Director Richard Freund, who initiated the project.

The exhibition will be complemented by a lecture series, a workshop, and Middle Eastern cultural programs, all providing opportunities to explore how cultures and religions intersect in the Middle East and in Hartford.

At the heart of the exhibition is the artist’s attempt to understand how the women of Israel – Jews, Christians and Muslims; natives and tourists – experienced the act of head-covering or veiling. The show and accompanying guide are intended to give people an opportunity to contemplate the meaning of this act and to consider its significance in the context of history and modern society.

The exhibit will run through Sept. 1. For additional information, including museum hours, contact the Greenberg Center at 860.768.5729 or