Special Projects

In addition to Joan Roth’s portfolios, collection, and publications,

she has been involved in numerous special long-term projects. 

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Documentary Film A Feminist Lens:

The Art & Activism of Photographer Joan Roth -  2022

A Feminist Lens: The Art & Activism of Photographer Joan Roth is an intimate portrait of internationally acclaimed photographer Joan Roth.

 

The film focuses on five decades of Roth’s pioneering use of her camera as a tool to advocate for homeless women in New York City, document leaders in the U.S. Women’s Movement from the 1970s to today, and shine a light on the diverse lives of Jewish women around the world

Executive Producer and Writer - Melanie Roth Gorelick

Producer, Director, and Editor - Pamela French

Films Website

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Holy Sparks: Celebrating 50 Years of Women in the Rabbinate - 2022

Celebrating 50 Years of Women in the Rabbinate with Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion and The Braid.

 

Holy Sparks pairs leading artists with 24 woman rabbis to illuminate the creativity, commitment, and vision of women who were “firsts” in their time. Their challenges and contributions, struggles and successes, represent the achievements of all women rabbis since June 3, 1972, when Rabbi Sally Priesand was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

​In 1972: (the first woman rabbi ordained in North America, by the Reform movement) RABBI SALLY PRIESAND was illuminated by the rainbows that brought blessing to her life in JOAN ROTH‘s dazzling digital photograph

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The Jewish North Africa Conferences 2019 in NY and 2022 in Morocco 

Joan Roth’s photographs of Ethiopian Jews were the featured exhibit at the opening of the Jewish Africa: Past, Present, and Future Conference in 2022, organized by the Association Mimouna, in coordination with the American Sephardi Federation and the Institute of Jewish Experience that took place in Rabat, Morocco. The Conference brought together experts, Israeli organizations, academics, and community leaders from Jewish communities throughout Africa - Ethiopia, Yemen, South Africa, Egypt, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Namibia, Algeria, Israel, the US, and more. The Conference was the second meeting and ground floor of this important effort to continue to raise up the lives and experiences of diverse Jewish communities worldwide.

 

Joan Roth’s exhibit Embracing the Rituals of a Moroccan Wedding was the featured exhibit in the 2019 Conference on Jews and Muslims of Morocco: Uncommon Commonalities held at the Jewish Heritage Museum in New York and organized by the American Sephardi Federation in partnership with the Association Mimouna and the Institute of Semitic Studies of Princeton NJ. 

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Jerusalem Biennial, Sept - Nov 2015

The second Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art showcased the work of nearly 200 Israeli and international artists. Joan Roth’s photography was part of the exhibit “Ima Iyla’a: The Art of Motherhood.”

 

This breakthrough exhibit aimed to challenge stereotypical images of the earthly mother, while asking, “How does the kabbalistic concept of Mother find expression in our world through human wisdom, empathy, and nurturing?” This and other existential questions were posed by twenty-five internationally acclaimed artists—including Joan Roth, Maya Zack, Joy Rose, Dorit Jordan, Gidon Levin, and Doni Silver Simons— leading to new interpretations of the real and the ideal of the maternal in the postmodern age of Jewish Art.

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Project Kesher- 1995 - 2014

Project Kesher’s mission is to build a Jewish community and advance civil society by developing and empowering women leaders. Joan Roth was the photographer for them from 1989-2014, supporting Jewish renewal activities in the Commonwealth of Independent States of the former Soviet Union (CIS) and a grass roots movement of multi-ethnic coalitions of women practicing social activism and human rights.

In 1994, Joan Roth documented Project Kesher's first International Conference of Jewish Women in Kyiv, Ukraine. In 2006, she returned during a worldwide campaign against domestic violence that Project Kesher leaders implemented throughout CIS. Traveling to the cities of Rovno, Lvyv, Lutsk, Kamenets-Podolskiy, Khmelnitskiy, and Kyiv in Ukraine, Roth met with Project Kesher activists and their local partners, to capture their lives and activism on film. Her work was exhibited around the world.

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Jews of Ethiopia - 1982 - Today

Joan Roth documented the Ethiopian Jewish community prior to its migration to Israel in the 1980s. Her seminal work highlights a culture that existed for thousands of years. Her work was widely exhibited. She continues to be involved with and documenting the Ethiopian Jewish community now settled in Israel.

 

In 1985, her work was featured as part of UJA/Federation’s NYC mobilization From Oppression to Freedom to support the airlifting of this community and their resettlement in Israel. Her seminal work was exhibited throughout the United States and Israel and continues to be shown to this day.

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Jewish Women's Archives Weaving Women’s Words Project  - 2002-2004

Joan Roth photographed Jewish Women in Baltimore and Seattle who were featured in community exhibits. The project aimed to discover the stories of whole communities of Jewish women through oral history interviews, videos, and images of objects central to their lives.

The Baltimore Community Stories

The Seattle Community Stories

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Jewish Women: A World of Tradition and Change - 1984 - Today

Joan Roth’s seminal work is on Jewish Women around the world.  Over the course of twelve years, she made forty trips to Jewish communities in Ethiopia, Yemen, Israel, Morocco, India, Bukhara, the Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria meeting and befriending women in all these communities.

 

Her work was published in a coffee table book, Jewish Women: A World of Tradition and Change in 1995, which provided insight into the lives of Jewish women in different cultures and shows the similarities shared by all in Jewish practice.

 

The book accompanied a 10-year international photo exhibit where Joan spoke to communities around the world. Joan continues to work on this topic until today.

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Shopping Bag Ladies of New York - 1970s


During her career, Roth has completed many important photographic essays. In the 1970s she brought her heart and camera to the plight of homeless women living on the streets of New York. Enabled by a grant from the Fund for the City of New York, Roth provided a breakthrough Report to the Manhattan Bowery Project in 1978.

 

Her work Shopping Bag Ladies of New York, which took eight years before completion in 1982, became a book of compelling photographs and poignant stories which made an immediate and lasting impact regarding an issue that was neither fashionable nor popular at the time.