In the Optimism paintings, I start with the question: Judaism an optimistic religion? My first thought was of the Yiddish folk tale where the man asks the rabbi what to do because his house is too crowded. The rabbi tells him to move his chicken, rooster and goose into the home, too. The man returns to the rabbi and he’s more miserable than ever. So the rabbi tells him to bring the goat into his house. This process continues until the man reaches his depths of misery. Finally, the rabbi tells him to take the animals all back outside. The poor man learns that “things could always be worse” as he luxuriates in the freedom and space of the home he once thought was so crowded. On some level, I believed that story represented Jewish optimism: One should be happy with what she has. As I thought about this story, though, I found a different type of optimism — an optimism found in faith.