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CA$ 632
pledged of CA$ 30,000pledged of CA$ 30,000 goal
13
backers
7days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, September 27 2019 1:15 AM UTC +00:00.

Portraits of Emunah

A coffee table book of 90 Black-and-white portraits of orthodox rabbis, accompanied by quotes from the bible, chosen by the rabbis.

Portraits of Emunah

A coffee table book of 90 Black-and-white portraits of orthodox rabbis, accompanied by quotes from the bible, chosen by the rabbis.

CA$ 632
pledged of CA$ 30,000pledged of CA$ 30,000 goal
13
backers
7days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, September 27 2019 1:15 AM UTC +00:00.

About

PORTRAITS OF EMUNAH 

“honour the face of the old man”  

- Leviticus 19:32   

“Recite to me your verse”  

- The Talmud, Taanit 9a   

Many years ago, my late uncle Shraga (z”l) brought home a large painting of a rabbi.  He was so proud that he had “brought him back to the fold”.  From the first moment I set eyes on that painting, I was fascinated by it.

  Since becoming more religious, I have been invited to many homes for the Sabbath and High Holy days.  As a photographer, I always find myself compelled to seek out any photographs my hosts might have on display.  More often than not, I have found that orthodox Jews will display, even more prominently than family portraits, photographs of great rabbis.  

  However, I couldn’t help noticing, that the vast majority of these photographs are not formal portraits.  They are usually candid photos, snapshots taken on the spur of the moment, without any thought for lighting, composition, or even facial expression, and sometimes done without the knowledge of the rabbi.

  Why not create formal portraits of rabbis?  A high quality photograph that will honour the position of rabbi, while at the same time bringing into focus the gravitas, the wisdom, the accrued knowledge, the compassion, or even the humour of each individual rabbi.   

Rabbi Ventresca
Rabbi Ventresca

  This has become my passion project: a book of 90 black & white portraits of rabbis. 

  Rather than accompany each portrait with a short biography of the subject, or a list of his accolades, I feel that it is far more relevant to reinforce the primary goal of the rabbi: to bring people closer to the Torah.  To that end I am asking each rabbi to choose a single passage from the Pentateuch to be printed beside his portrait.  I am not asking for an explanation or commentary.  It does not have to be the one he deems the most important.  It can be a passage that reminds him of the day he met his wife, or even one that makes him laugh.

  The rest would be left to you, the reader.  Upon reading the chosen passage and studying the face of a rabbi, perhaps you’ll be curious as to why he chose that particular sentence?  Maybe your curiosity will inspire to study that passage further.

  After consulting with several publishing firms, I have determined that the cost of printing, publishing, and distribution of the finished book.  It has also become apparent to me that in order to complete the total ninety portraits in a timely manner, I need to be able to free up some time.  I am also very well aware that a book of portraits of Toronto rabbis, or even Canadian rabbis probably won’t sell very well. I will need to bee able to afford to travel to other parts of North America in order to create a reasonable cross-section of rabbis that will attract a much larger number of readers.

  To that end, I am setting my goal for this crowd-funding campaign at $30,000 as a bare minimum.  The more funds raised above this goal, the more resources I can devote to the project and the further afield I can reach to approach rabbis from other parts of North America.

  You can help in two ways:   

DONATE: Every penny helps and there are reward levels from as little as a $10 donation on up.     

GET THE WORD OUT: Please tell your friends, share this on Facebook or on Twitter.  Spread the word to everyone you can to help me make this project a reality.

Risks and challenges

What I am about to say may sound self-defeating. My biggest challenge will be the rabbis themselves.

Allow me to explain.

I have found thus far that rabbis, in general, are very humble. They tend not to seek notoriety or accolades. Many view their inclusion in my endeavour as "putting themselves forward." I've lost count of the number of times I have heard that objection.

While I have yet to hear a single rabbi object to the concept of this book, on the contrary, I have heard nothing but encouragement and suggestions. In fact, far too many feel they aren't "that big a deal." They almost invariably follow such self-deprecation with "you know which rabbi would be great for this..."

I have to match their reluctance with perseverance and persistence.

Another challenge is making the book more high-profile so that it will attract the interest of the Jewish community. While my mission here is not to put each individual rabbi on a pedestal, rather to honour the position of rabbi, I am cognizant of the fact that the book will gain far more interest if the book isn't just portraits of rabbis from Toronto. I will need to photograph rabbis from a wide cross-section of North America, at the very least. It would also be helpful to include rabbis who have earned wide-spread notoriety. In order to do that, I will need to travel. This will require both time and money.

With your help, that can be possible.

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    A "Thank You" in the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 20 or more About $16

    8x10 of Rabbi Ventresca

    You will receive an 8X10 print of the above portrait and your name will be inscribed in the "Thank You" section of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 30 or more About $23

    11x14 of Rabbi Ventresca

    You will receive an 11X14 print of the above portrait and your name will be inscribed in the "Thank You" section of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 75 or more About $57

    Signed copy of "Portraits of Emunah"

    You will receive a signed copy of the completed book “Portraits of Emunah” and your name will be inscribed in the "Thank You" section of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 150 or more About $113

    2 copies of "Portraits of Emunah"

    - A signed copy of the completed book “Portraits of Emunah” for yourself
    - A signed copy to be donated to the yeshivas and/or synagogues of your choosing
    - Your name will be inscribed in the "Thank You" section of the book.

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    Pledge CA$ 400 or more About $301

    Portrait session. (TORONTO ONLY)

    - One portrait session with the photographer, Mozes Yehudaioff, and an 8x10 print of the image of your choosing, from that session
    - A signed copy of the completed book “Portraits of Emunah” for yourself
    - A signed copy to be donated to the yeshivas and/or synagogues of your choosing
    - Your name will be inscribed in the "Thank You" section of the book.

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    TORONTO RESIDENTS ONLY

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