Kulanu’s Artist-Scholar in Residence, Jonatas Chimen

A journey of discovery

Jonatas Chimen and Harriet Bograd In the Tent
In the Tent

Jonatas Chimen didn’t know that he was Jewish until he was 18. He grew up with Jewish practices, and knew he was part of a special community in Brazil, but it was only when he moved to Miami at age 16 and people commented that he might be Jewish that he started his quest to discover his origins. Jonatas is a crypto-Jew, and can trace his family history back to the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition. He marked his embrace of Jewish practice through a special Orthodox return ceremony rather than a conversion, since his ancestors never abandoned their faith even in the face of persecution.

Jonatas’ unique art

Jonatas Lecturing
Jonatas lecturing at Temple Emeth in Teaneck, NJ

As an artist and scholar, Jonatas has experience traveling the world to share how his personal story comes through in his artistic creations. He talks about broader experiences of Jewish identity, immigration, and exile. His famous tent creation, named “In Thy Tent I Dwell”, is a huge collage of letters, photographs, documents from his family history, as well as a quarantine room that exiles were put in, and contains sounds and smells from the places Jonatas’ ancestors lived. The experience of assembling the tent is a powerful experience for event participants, whose input makes the Tent a collective project. Jonatas can turn your venue into a living museum and art gallery for the weekend, sharing a variety of his artworks alongside the Tent installation. See what participants are saying about his events here.

Bring Jonatas to your community

Presenting the Journey Collection
Presenting the Journey Collection

Jonatas is available on weekends to visit your community as artist-scholar in residence, creating an unforgettable experience that can be shomer shabbat friendly. Within the US, a single event costs $2500, or for even better value you can host up to four events for $3600.

In the past, Kulanu speaking tour events have been hosted in houses of worship of all different religions and denominations, as well as universities and community organizations. We encourage co-sponsorship events to spread the costs and responsibilities. Here is what we ask of our event hosts:

  • An honorarium of $2500 for a single event or $3600 for a weekend with up to four events.
  • A primary contact to be responsible for the event and for Jonatas while he is in your area.
  • Accommodations, meals, and local transportation for the speaker (home hospitality is great!)

If you’re interested, please complete these quick and easy next steps:

We support our hosts by providing a comprehensive online Event Planning Kit.

Packing up the Tent
Packing up the Tent