When US presidential hopeful Joe Biden announced his running mate, Kamala Harris, Connecticut artist Jeanette Kuvin Oren had one, clarifying thought: “B”H,” the acronym of Biden-Harris, or “B’ezrat Hashem.”
B”H is the well-known shorthand for “Thank God” (Baruch Hashem) or “With God’s help” (B’ezrat Hashem), Hebrew phrases oft-used by observant Jews, who will often tack one expression or the other onto the end of a sentence or thought.
“I instinctively think ‘b’ezrat hashem’ in my head a lot of times,” said Kuvin Oren, a contemporary artist specializing in Judaic art, fiber art, mosaics, stained glass, calligraphy, papercutting and painting, creating commissioned works for synagogues.
On the night of the announcement, Kuvin Oren did not waste a moment, and ran to her computer to come up with a quick sketch. Within an hour, she’d settled on the red, white and blue logo and had posted it on Facebook, looking for her concept to spread among like-minded folk.
It did, quickly.
Within minutes, Kuvin Oren began receiving messages and comments about the logo.
“People started asking for kippot and hats right away,” said Kuvin Oren, “but I didn’t want to have a basement full of kippot and hats.”
Kuvin Oren was not looking for a business opportunity. Rather, she wants anyone who understand the B”H reference, that is, fellow members of the tribe, particularly those who voted for Trump four years ago, to reconsider and switch teams in the upcoming elections.
“It’s all for the purpose of engaging the Jewish community in supporting Biden,” said Kuvin Oren. “I wanted to speak to people who left the Democratic party because they felt it wasn’t supporting Israel and I think there is no better friend to Israel than Biden. I want to change their minds.”
Over the last four years, said Kuvin Oren, she has found herself meeting fellow Jews who said they had voted for Trump because of his promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, which he did in 2017.
“We Jews can’t only vote based on moving the embassy,” said Kuvin Oren, who spends part of each year in Israel, in a Jerusalem apartment she and her husband own that is located across the street from the new US embassy location.
“I meet with all kinds of synagogues all the time, and I travel between here and Israel, and I really have trouble understanding my Jewish friends who have supported Donald Trump,” said Kuvin Oren, whose US residence is in Connecticut, in what she describes as a primarily Democratic district.
She shared her logo with former senator Joe Lieberman, a friend from her Connecticut community, and he shared it within his circles.
Kuvin Oren had already copyrighted her design, but was not motivated to make merchandise. When a friend of a friend from Park City, Utah with a merchandising business contacted her, she agreed to have them use her logo, but to donate all proceeds to the Biden-Harris campaign.
“I felt this rush,” said Kuvin Oren. “I’ve been wanting and aching to create something that would help change the administration in the US.”
Kuvin Oren has seen other versions of her logo floating around the internet, but she doesn’t care.
“It’s an existential moment when I can’t sit idly by and not do anything,” said Kuvin Oren. “The most important thing is getting the Jewish community to come back to real values.”