Saturday, December 20, 2014

Judith and Hanukkah

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Beheading Holofernes, 1620

T'was the 5th Night of Hanukkah and all through the house,
Cheese blintzes scent the kitchen
Sour cream delights the mouth.
Dairy products recall the courage of Judith
Who fed Holofernes cheese and wine
Then smote him to save the Israelites
In Bethulia, way before Antiochus IV's time.

The story of Judith of Bethulia who beheaded the Assyrian general Holofernes belongs to the Hebrew Bible's Apocrypha, right next to the chapters on the Maccabees, which tell the story of Hanukkah. We imagine that Judith's selfless act foreshadows the triumph of the Maccabees.

Here is the story of the Maccabees and Hanukkah.

Here is the story of Judith and Holofernes on,
And here is a video about Judith and Hanukkah.

Plus - more works of art that feature Judith: 

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith and her Maidservant, 1612-13

Alessandro Botticelli, Judith and Her Maidservant, 1472

Caravaggio, Judith Slaying Holofernes, 1598-99

Cristofano Allori, Judith and the Head of Holofernes, 1613

Valentin de Boulogne, Judith Slaying Holofernes, 1626

Donatello, Judith and Holofernes, 1460

Johann Adam Boller, Hanukkiah, c. 1705-32, 
Jewish Museum, NY, gift of Frida Schiff Warburg

Happy Hanukkah to all and to all a good 5th night,
Beth New York

aka Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
New York Arts Exchange

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