Illustrating the Talmud, Daily


An artist and an observant Jew, Jacqueline Nicholls truly fulfills the biblical commandment to write your own Torah. She’s an avid student of Judaism, and her reactions frequently take the form of art projects. She’s invented a series of kittels that explores the ways clothing is used as a vehicle for meaning and identity, and her Ghosts & Shadows portraits depict women from Talmudic stories.

Her newest undertaking is her most ambitious. Each day for the next 7 years, Nicholls, along with tens of thousands of others, is studying the entire 2,700-plus-page Talmud at the relatively brisk rate of one page a day, an undertaking called Daf Yomi. And every day, she draws a representation of one teaching: Draw Yomi.

For the tractate Eruvin—the laws of boundaries—Nicholls presents visually arresting work which both eases access to the laws and their difficult language and distills the lessons into simple, elegant teachings. Check out, for instance, her thoughtful, whimsical meditation on Eruvin 77’s lesson to “make a wall accessible to both sides, not just the one that’s most convenient.”

Why just read the Talmud, when you can gaze at it?

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