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Faith among friends: Three scribes discuss their calligraphic art


A trio of prominent Jewish, Christian and Muslim calligraphers will collaborate to create a work of art in a special interfaith communitywide event to be presented by Union and the Schenectady Jewish Community Center on Sunday, Sept. 18.

“Three Scribes: Friends in Art” begins at the JCC 1-4 p.m. and will be followed by a lecture and discussion with the artists at 5 p.m. at the Nott Memorial.

The program features a display of calligraphy of verses contained in the Torah, Bible and Quran in Hebrew, English or Latin and Arabic by Neil Yerman, Karen Gorst and Mohamed Zakariya respectively. The artists will work on a new piece that afternoon and then donate it to the JCC. They will also discuss how their passion for their scriptures inspires and connects them.

The scribes have known each other for many years. Yerman, who grew up in Brooklyn, worked in the brokerage industry and advertising before pursuing a career that combines calligraphy and art. Gorst, a calligrapher and illuminator for more than two decades, is a specialist in paper, ink and Medieval And Renaissance art technique. Zakariya, a California native, is a convert to Islam who studied Islamic art in Turkey in the 1980s and is the designer of the “Eid Greetings” U.S. postage stamp.

Sunday’s program is also supported by the Anti-Defamation League’s A World of Difference Institute, Interfaith Community of Schenectady, Islamic Center of the Capital District, Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, Muslim-Catholic Dialogue Committee, Jewish–Catholic Dialogue Committee, Children at the Well and Schenectady B’nai B’rith.