becoming the artist within you

Nachas- that special feeling of pride and satisfaction you get from others.
Interestingly you can't 'give' it to yourself. "Yidishe Nachas" is that special feeling that mothers and grandmothers would/do feel when the 'kinder' the children, or the 'anechkla' (grandchildren) do something that we value. And that is the point of the story. We show pride in certain actions, words, achievements, accomplishments, and sensitivities in our kids and that's one of the ways they learn what it is that we value.
I would do anything if only I could see again the smile of my own mother a"h. Her smile meant everything to me and I learned all those behaviors, words and kindnesses that I could do that would make her smile.

Nachas 2.o - this is what I call the next stage of nachas. When after years of 'input' -living a life of smiles and encouragement, directions and support it comes back to you. The first level is the direct sense of pride when the next generation is learning and the nachas you get is direct from their actions. The second stage is when they call to tell you what they know will give you nachas!
Case in point: After a recent plane ride with his young sons, my son called me with a "nachas report"
" Mommy,You are gonna love this"- he said knowingly, "When Yosef looked out the window of the plane he saw the incredible sunset, and he said 'Wow, I got to paint that!" as he tore open his backpack of art supplies."
"Yidishe Nachas" not only comes at the Seder. It is based on sharing our passions, our values, our appreciation every day of the year. My kids know how I love the mountains and the sunsets, the birds and the flowers and basically all of the natural world. It is sursprising that I still have full use of my arms from all the times I spent pointing enthusiastically and screaming "Look at the sunset, Look at the mountains"- But my kids learned, and have called me from wherever they are when they see a spectacular sunset.
2.0 nachas- seeing that we can transmit the values we live - by age 6 a child can respond to the natural world, spiritually with Brachot (blessings) and with a desire to engage with the world, and make it a part of himself by translating it into his art!
Trust me - for an artist, and a bubbie like me, this is real nachas!
So, nu?
What brings you nachas?

1 Comment

Much of what I have thought about in terms of being a 'green bubbie' is about finding our passions, working on them, and revealing them. Getting to the point in life where you want to connect and make those connections meaningful- because you finally realize that "Time is life" so make it count.

I 've always wanted to be an artist. Well, I've always had what others have called talent. My definition of 'talent' is having the guts to try things- art, music dance. So I am now trying my hand and my mind and connecting them to my spiritual quests to produce 'art work' What I have come to realize is that "going public" with what is deep inside us, gives us an energy boost that can actually reach the 'other'
So, take the time to write out your own ARTIST STATEMENT, and share it, here's mine, along with a description of a collage I have entered in a show.


Ruthie Feldman, also known as Dr. Ruth Pinkenson Feldman, “The Green Bubbie,” is an internationally recognized expert in Jewish Early Childhood Education. A self-taught watercolorist, Ruth has begun to study fine art collage. Her lifelong interests in studying Jewish texts and interpretation has led her to seek new media and new means for innovative expression of the deep wisdom in Jewish thought. A believer in the creative powers of each of us to seek meaning, and to find modes of expression that enable us to communicate with one another, Ruth has turned to abstract expressionism in her paintings and layered meanings in her collage work. She is constantly intrigued with the interpretations viewers bring to her works.


The Aleph-Bet has captured my imagination. Once I began thinking about the project, I wanted to explore the Torah’s description of the giving of the Tablets of the Ten Commandments--the letters could be seen from different directions; each was carved through the stone with a fiery force, the midrashic idea of an artistry beyond human capability. I was content to depict, in a mobile form, the idea of the letters rotating.

When I thought about the letter “Daled” I first thought about the many words that begin with that letter, and how the word in Hebrew, Delet (meaning “door”), seemed to offer a pictorial symbol--the letter itself as a door (opening). So I began to work on the concept of “the door to a Jewish home,” with a Mezuzah on the doorpost itself.

Much of my fascination with nature, and my efforts to include elements of the natural world in my artwork, brought me to the word Desheh (meaning “field”). I was intrigued by the “inside-outside” paradigm of a doorway (to the inside) and a field (outside).

I went back to my initial thoughts about the giving of the Torah at Sinai. The image of the “field”/desheh began to merge with the idea that, while there was lightning and thunder at the top of the mountain, the mountain itself was beautiful, with flowers and a fence keeping the people at a safe distance from the Divine Presence.

I hope that the finished piece captures the intrigue of inside/outside, of field and of home. I hope that the imagination of the viewer is piqued by the turning “Daled,” to see how the letters of the Torah come to life not in a fiery force on a mountain top, but as we bring them into our homes.

“My Daled” is my effort to combine these thoughts: one, the Hebrew words Delet (“door”) and Desheh (“field”), and two, the force and holiness of the Aleph-Bet. Just as they could penetrate stone, so too can they penetrate our lives.