BIZAYON: Israeli Company Degrades Gedolei Yisroel By Making Them Into “Action Figures”


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The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design has created a new display that has infuriated some members of the Charedi community by creating action figures of renowned Gedolim such as Maran Hagaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef, the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZATZAL, the Baba Sali ZATZAL and others.

Kikar Shabbos reported the display which it states: “is presented in a particularly shameful manner.”

The figurine of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and the Lubavitcher Rebbe are presented as muscular figures who wear form-fitting and tight clothing, as opposed to their traditional garb of Rabbi Ovadia’s cloak and the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s black Frock. The Baba Sali is presented in a purple cloak, and all three are dressed wearing capes, the kind that are normally seen on figures such as Superman or Batman.

Elad Schwartz, the creator of the display, was interviewed by Kikar HaShabbat and claimed that he intended no disrespect to the Gedolim or the Charedi community.

“They are like Spiderman. They led an entire group of people and paved the way for tens of thousands of followers. In the display, I attempted to capture their strength and greatness,” Schwartz told the reporter from Kikar HaShabbat.

The figurines themselves were the work of a secular student who spent mnths researching the Gedolim and then designed what he felt represented their image as he saw it.

Another student was interviewed, one who had just graduated from the prestigious design academy and wished to remain anonymous. He was quoted as saying: “Charedim have a different worldview than the secular artists who worked on these pieces. Art is the pinnacle of the ability to express the personal view of the artist, this view or expression of the artist is unbound and free from all limitations, regardless of what they may be. Therefore, it can also be rebellious and provocative at times. It is natural for a society like the Chareidi world to not be a fan of artistic expression or work, as this type of society requires a high wall to protect it.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. While I never approve of art that offends, is there, perhaps, a message there for us to learn from, too? Maybe that so many of us know so little of our own gedolim’s amazing, deep and complex teachings and instead can repeat fantastical stories about them that probably never happened thereby reducing them to fictionalized characters.

  2. I think that the gedolim depicted would have laughed at the display, if they had noticed it at all. They had more important things to deal with to pay attention to such trivialities.

  3. Agree entirely with Olesker. I think the artist who created the designs had no intention of demeaning the gedolim and in the case of Maran Ovadia, Z’TL, I suspect would actually have taken it as a compliment. A secular artist is conveying the gadlus of these individuals in a way that modern pop culture will understand. Hopefully, the Chareidi media, who show no restraints in demeaning secular leaders (aka making women political leaders invisible in news photos of events where they appeared) will lighten up, get a sense of humor, and find something else to kvetch about.

  4. Better than a marvel figurine. Yes, they are exaggerated depictions. It’s not the yeshivish way, but maybe it will inspire people to follow gedolim. Figurines are for kids. How about when a kids coloring book depicts Moshe rabbeinu with a streimle and long curly peyos? There was a time when pics of gedolim were a problem. The world changes. You either learn how to adapt or become obsolete.

  5. I do not see any bizayon to the gedolim. It may not be my cup of tea, but I do not se these figures as being particularly disrespectful.

  6. אָרוּר הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה פֶסֶל וּמַסֵּכָה תּוֹעֲבַת יְהוָה מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵי חָרָשׁ וְשָׂם בַּסָּתֶר