Religious Artifact and Creativity Panel Discussion 5.5.21

Join Rabbi Lauren Tuchman in a discussion of “Religious Artifact and Creativity” with artists Diane Fredgant, Ruth Simon McRae, Barry Goldstein, and Bonnie Zuckerman. The online panel discussion will begin at 7:00 p.m. and conclude at 8:00 p.m.

Rabbi Lauren Tuchman is a spiritual leader, speaker and educator. Ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary in 2018, she has taught at synagogues and Jewish venues throughout North America. Rabbi Tuchman was named one of Jewish Week’s “36 under 36” for her leadership concerning inclusion of Jews with disabilities in all aspects of Jewish life. In 2020, she was honored by the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA). Her website is

Diane Fredgant is a Portland-based silk painter and sculptor. At age 23, she began her career as a stone and clay sculptor. Making use of her advertising degree, she worked in Los Angeles as a print production manager, where she developed her eye for detail and color. After moving to Albuquerque, she redefined her artistic path by learning the art of silk painting and is still fascinated by the medium and learning new techniques 25 years later. Silk’s unique qualities make it perfect for the wearable, practical art that Diane favors. Pulling inspiration from Jewish texts, the natural world, and conversation, she mixes holiness and beauty in her art. Each person has a unique relationship with the divine, and Diane strives to capture that connection for her customers. She is honored to be able to share her art and worldview with those around her. Diane is the president of ORA Northwest Jewish Artists and is a member of the American Guild of Judaic Art.

Ruth Simon McRae is an artist who works in a wide range of mediums – painting, collage/mixed-media, textiles and ceramics She is particularly interested in expressing personal and family history through Judaic textiles. Her educational background includes an M.S. Textiles degree from Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. Textile Design from Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science. She also studied painting at Philadelphia College of Art and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. McRae lives in a 120 year old home in Taylorsville, Ga, a small town in the northwest corner of the state. Website:,

Barry Goldstein lived as an outsider in disparate small towns across the U.S. for most of his life. I was The Jew. Alone. Exposed. Fast forward, age 45, my professional career culminated with selling my business to a large publicly traded company. Despite my success, I was left with a void of meaning and purpose. Esoteric wisdoms of the world seemed to hold great possibility yet fell short. Art became my vision for a new professional identity. A chance meeting of a rabbi, years of conversation and study and my eyes opened to an inheritance that I had pushed away for most of my life. Surprisingly, I came to realize my art has all along been filled with expressions of the burning flame of my Jewish identity. My art has been the catalyst to finding me. Website: , facebook:

Bonnie Zuckerman creates highly detailed, one of a kind hand-painted ceramics. She uses a wax resist technique to create a stained glass effect on her pieces. Each piece of art tells a whimsical story and incorporates imagery from her personal visual lexicon. Favorite subjects include birds and other animals, flowers, and fairy tale landscapes. Bonnie graduated from Towson University with a degree in Illustration. She studied abroad in Florence, Italy, where she completed an independent advanced study in painting. Bonnie works in a variety of other media as well, including watercolor, acrylic, oil, collage, drawing, printmaking, and fiber art. Bonnie has exhibited her work in a variety of juried and non-juried shows throughout Maryland. Website: , Instagram: bonnie.zuckerman.

This event is presented as part of Jewish Authenticity and Identity, a visual arts exhibition curated by Ori Z Soltes on display at Adas Israel Congregation from April 5 – May 15, 2021. Authenticity and Identity is presented with support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Jewish Artists of the National Capital Region.