Helène Aylon inspired thousands with her evocative art pieces, advocating for women’s equality, peace and the environment. She passed away on April 6 due to complications from COVD-19.

Born on Feb. 4, 1931 in Brooklyn, N.Y., she attended grade school at Shulamith School for Girls and high school at the Midrasha.

She met her husband, Mandel H. Fisch, in high school; they married in 1949. They moved to Montreal, where he served as a rabbi, and had two children before he passed away from cancer, leaving her back in Brooklyn at age 30.

Aylon enrolled at the Brooklyn College, where she studied art and went on to have a rich career. Her first notable work in 1965, called “Ruach (Spirit, Wind, Breath),” was a 16-foot mural for the long-gone Synagogue Library at John F. Kennedy International Airport; it displayed Judaism through the eyes of women.

A self-described eco-feminist, she created anti-nuclear and eco-activist art, visiting Hiroshima four decades after the nuclear bomb. She made series after series of work—many with overt or underlying Jewish themes—that was exhibited at museums and galleries throughout New York, the United States and the world. She traveled extensively and went on to teach art in several U.S. states.

Aylon’s work is displayed in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Jewish Museum in New York City, as well as at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

In 2012, she wrote a memoir, Whatever Is Contained Must Be Released: My Jewish Orthodox Girlhood, My Life as a Feminist Artist. In 2016, she won the Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award.

Aylon, who was predeceased by her second husband, is survived by her children, Nathaniel Fisch and Renee Emunah; and five grandchildren.

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