Rabbi Zion Levy

Rabbi Tsion Levy

    • 100 USD $
    • 120 USD $


Rabbi Zion Rajamim Levy

Rabbi Zion Rajamim Levy was the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Panama for 57 years. His tenure is thought to be the longest of any religious leader in the region. He built up a Jewish community of 6,000-7,000 Torah-observant Jews in a country of 3 million.

Rabbi Levy was born in Jerusalem shortly after his parents immigrated to Palestine from Morocco. His father was Rabbi Yaakov Levy, a noted kabbalist at Beit El Yeshiva. He studied at Porat Yosef Yeshiva.

He arrived in Panama in 1951 at the urging of the Jerusalem beth din.

Levy built the ShevetAhim Congregation and community in Panama. To prevent power struggles between community factions and himself, Rabbi Levy established himself as the sole Torah authority. He also laid down the conversion law immediately: No conversions will be performed in Panama, ruling that all converts must undergo conversions in Orthodox rabbinical courts outside Panama and then be subject to a two-year probation period in Panama, where they would have to prove their commitment to a Torah lifestyle.

In his later years, Rabbi Levy oversaw the construction of new synagogues in Panama City and worked to smooth relations with the country’s Arab and Muslim communities.

By the time of his death, the ShevetAhim community numbered 10,000 Jews, 6,000 of whom are Torah-observant. The community included several synagogues, mikvahs, three Jewish schools, a yeshiva, a kollel, and a girls’ seminary, along with several kosher butchers.

Rabbi Levy suffered from ill health for several years. In October 2008, he felt unwell and was visited by two physicians from Israel’s Tel Hashomer Hospital. The doctors found him in critical condition and recommended that he be flown to Israel to Tel Hashomer. His condition improved initially, but on the evening of 23 November 2008 he succumbed to his illness at the age of 83. He was eulogized at Porat Yosef Yeshiva.

Rabbi Levy had two sons, David and Haim Levy. His wife, Rubissa Sarah, died shortly after her husband’s death.Haim Levy, a resident of Jerusalem, took over his father’s post in Panama as Chief Rabbi. He later resigned the post, and returned to Israel.

Mikhail ChapiroBorn in 1938 in Belorussia, he was captivated by painting since his early childhood. Thanks to his teachers, Peter Chernyshevsky and Boris Zvenigorodsky, the artists of great experience and talent, this endowment became his predilection, the raison d’être of his life. After 6 years of studies, he graduated from the Mukhina Institute of Arts and Industrial Design. He worked as a stylist for 7 years in the capital of Siberia, city of Novosibirsk.

He moved to Moscow in 1974 and since 1977 till 1987 he regularly exhibited in the Russia’s famous underground avant-garde centre at Malaya Gruzinskaya 28, which in 1981 became the home of his solo exhibition. Only with Perestroyka he was widely recognized in Russia. From 1988 to 1990 his paintings were exhibited at the Muscovite Modern Art Gallery MARS.

He was recognized by the intellectual elite. Great Russian ballerina Maya Plesetskaya, 3-times Olympic Champion in figure ice-skating Irina Rodnina, Nobel Prize Laureates Academicians Sakharov, Frank, Prokhorov – those are just few of the most prominent people who knew Chapiro and whose portraits he did.

In 1990 Mikhail Chapiro immigrated to Canada. He settled in Toronto and immediately joined the city’s artistic life. The “Hittite Gallery” held his solo exhibition in 1992. In 1993, he moved to Montreal, being fascinated by the singular charm of this metropolis and its people. Being highly productive, Chapiro has constantly enriched his collection with fresh subjects. In 1996 he had a solo exhibition at the Elgar community center in Verdun (a Montreal district).

While Chapiro’s themes always remained portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, animals, and flowers, his style has gradually evolved from a merely realistic formalist expression towards an unique painting technique allowing to express at best the softness and subtlety that forms the bottom line of the artist’s philosophy. Mikhail Chapiro is, by his substance, perception of the world, and even training, is a figurative, objective, realistic painter. What characterizes his painting is softness, subtlety, implicitly.

However, in some works from different periods, he had come close- and still does so today- to abstraction: mostly with his nudes and flowers, sometimes in portraiture and landscapes. Abstract painting has always fascinated him: during his Moscovite period in the Eighties, he created series of abstract compositions, which he continued once in Canada, in both Toronto and Montreal.

The rationale behind his work, what triggered him is as it has always been, asking the “What?” question-that is, he needs unequivocally an idea fuelling his creativity.
What he tells with one or another abstract work may be philosophical reflections about life, death, the good, the bad, the passage of our soul from the material world (the life on Earth) into the thin world (the soul’s life in the Cosmos); the return of our soul into material world- a sort of an infinite transfiguration-, and so on. It’s only then that he would care about the composition, texture, color, etc.

Abstract painting is for him the most interesting experiment, one of his art’s facets. Whether his paintings are realistic or abstract, his approach is equally sincere.