JAI Featured Artists/November

Debbie Korbel and Bill Aron


Debbie Korbel:

…is an artist whose creativity has been applied to various media including sculpture as well as writing television comedy scripts and song lyrics. Her work has been exhibited in multiple museums and collected internationally, including a public art display in Times Square, NYC. She is thrilled to include Steven Tyler from the band Aerosmith, as one of her collectors.

She has also been featured in numerous magazine articles recently: American Art Collector, Western Art and Architecture, Fine Art Connoisseur and Southwest Art.

“Everyone knows what it is like to lie on their back and “see” images in the clouds. As an adult, I approach my sculpture materials the same way by standing back and looking for what I “see” emerge.

Featured Artwork:

mixed media including bone, copper, wood, steel
46″ x 48″ x 27″


Website: DebbieKorbel.com


An exhibition of my images of the former Soviet Union is opening at The Wende Museum, Sunday, November 14th. All are invited. There will be 2 guided tours: 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with a public program at 3:00.


The Wende Museum
The Armory, 10808 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, California



Bill Aron:

Aron first gained international recognition for his book, From The Corners Of The Earth, introduction by Chaim Potok, which chronicles Jewish communities in Russia, Cuba, Jerusalem, New York and Los Angeles. A second volume followed, Shalom Y’all: Images of Jewish Life in the American South, introduction by Alfred Uhry.

His latest book, New Beginnings: The Triumph of 120 Cancer Survivors focuses on people whose diagnosis of cancer led to profoundly positive life altering experiences. Introduction by Jane Brody.

Bill has lately been working on large-scale multi-image panoramas of Israel by stitching together numerous frames into one photograph.

Many of his photographs have been exhibited and are found in the permanent collections of major museums and galleries throughout the United States and Israel.

Featured Artwork:

Yom Kippur Torah Reading, Leningrad, 1981

In the fall of 1981, I visited three cities in the Soviet Union: Leningrad, Minsk and Moscow. My encounter with Jews there overwhelmed me with feelings: admiration, helplessness, anger and compassion. I kept thinking that had my own father not emigrated when he did, I could be a Jew in the Soviet Union today.

After we pushed through the crowd outside into the synagogue, we made our way to the women’s section. When I looked over the balcony, I instinctively reached for my camera, and then froze. Since it was Kol Nidre evening, I wondered if the Russian Jews were going to object to my photographing on a holy day. I had been so worried about whether the Soviet authorities would allow me into the country with all my film and camera equipment, and whether they would interfere with my photographing, that I had not considered the feelings of the Jewish community. I quickly decided that my purpose in coming to the Soviet Union was to photograph, and if I held back, it would be a lost opportunity. So, with a great deal of anxiety, I began.


Website: BillAron.com
(323) 449-7938

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About JAI


Jewish Artists Initiative (JAI) is a Southern California organization committed to supporting Jewish artists and arts professionals. JAI aspires to be an agent of transformative change by organizing provocative exhibitions and thoughtful programs promoting diverse dialogue about Jewish identity and experiences. Founded in 2004, JAI remains committed to fostering Jewish culture in our community and beyond.


JAI was conceived by the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles in 2004. It was originally in partnership with the University of Southern California Casden Institute and the USC Roski School of Art and Design. For many years we have been under the fiscal sponsorship of the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity. Members include primarily artists, as well as curators and art historians based in Southern California. The artists go through a jurying process to be admitted as members.

We have collaborated with a great range of Southern California institutions including American Jewish University, Hebrew Union College, UCLA Hillel and USC Hillel as well as a variety of art galleries and public spaces. We have also worked and exhibited in institutions in other parts of the United States and Israel such as the Jewish Art Salon, Hebrew Union College, New York, the New York UJA and the Jerusalem Biennale.

JAI Executive Committee: Melinda Smith Altshuler, Bill Aron, Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik, President Georgia Freedman-Harvey, Anne Hromadka Greenwald, Gilah Yelin Hirsch, Randi Matushevitz, Hillel Smith, Debra Sokolow and Ruth Weisberg

How to Become a JAI Member: JAI welcomes applications for membership from artists and arts professionals. For how to apply and to view the selection criteria click on Membership in the navigation links at the top or bottom of any page. Questions: contact JAI at admin@jaisocal.org