Yaacov Heller

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Yaacov Heller
Yaacov Heller with his Adam (and Eve) sculpture
Jack E. Heller

1941 (age 81–82)[1]
Cleveland, Ohio
Occupation(s)Sculptor, jewelry designer
Known forSculptures of Biblical themes

Yaacov Heller (born 1941) is an Israeli-American sculptor and jewelry designer based in Boca Raton, Florida,[2] who is known for his sculptures of Biblical themes.[3][4][5][6][7] In 2020, he was the recipient of 22nd Annual Opal Awards by The Rotary Club of Boca Raton.[8][9]

Early life and artistic career[edit]

Heller was born in 1941 in Cleveland, Ohio, as Jack E. Heller into a traditional Jewish family.[10][11][12] He studied at the Cleveland Museum of Art and has served in the US Navy.[13][14][15] In 1965, he moved to California, and began to develop a wide range of custom-made gold jewelry.[16]

Heller quickly became friends with some of Hollywood's royalty, creating custom art for them – including earrings for Shelley Winters, paintings and sculptures for Sammy Davis Jr., and a special pendant for the hit show, "The Courtship of Eddie's Father." This pendant was commissioned to Heller by the show's producer, James Komack. Heller created 150 fourteen-karat gold pendants, which represented the "clasped hands logo" of the show. They were given as holiday gifts and worn by a "whos who" on the MGM lot, including Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley, and Bill Bixby amongst many others.[17]

In 1972 he became a resident of Jerusalem, Israel, and was a member of Kibbutz Urim.[18][19]

Since the 1970s, Heller has been commissioned to create silver and bronze electroformed-cast representations of Biblical figures. These were given to world leaders including Gerald Ford, King Sobhuza II, Husni Mubarak, Anwar Sadat, and John Vorster.[20][21][22][23][11][14][24]

Heller presenting Benjamin Ferencz his bust in a presentation July, 2019.

According to The Boca Newspaper and the Sun Sentinel newspaper, Heller has created a wide range of Judaica statues and busts, and figural statuaries such as the Fiddler on the Roof, Count and Countess de Hoernle, and the Bust of Benjamin Ferencz.[25][26]

In 2014, Heller was commissioned to create The Garden of Humanity, a memorial which recognizes the six major genocides of the 20th century.[27][28] It was unveiled April 25, 2015.[29]

On September 7, 2020, the documentary Two Heads Are Better Than One: Making of the Ben Ferencz Bust,[30] starring Ferencz and sculptor Yaacov Heller, world premiered.[31] It was produced by Eric Kline Productions and directed by Eric Kline.[32][33]

On December 17, 2020, Benjamin Ferencz was decorated with the title of 'Distinguished Honorary Fellow of the ICC' and his bust, created by Heller, was unveiled to be housed permanently at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.[34]


The Garden of Humanity in downtown Boca Raton, Florida, designed by Heller in 2015

Selected artworks[edit]

  • Clasped Hands, (1966)
  • David and Goliath, (1974)[36]
  • The Sacrifice of Isaac, (1972)
  • The Death of Samson, (1975)[37]
  • Elijah Rising to Heaven, (1976)[38]
  • Fiddler on the Roof, (1989)[39]
  • Flossy’s Fountain, (2003)[40][41]
  • Count Adolph and Countess Henrietta de Hoernle, bronze, (2011)[42]
  • Menorah, bronze, 15-feet high (2014), Congregation B’Nai Torah, South Boca Raton[43][44]
  • The Garden of Humanity, (2015)[45]
  • Bust of Benjamin Ferencz, (2019)[46][31]


  1. ^ King, Dale (2016-07-01). "Boca artist Yaacov Heller makes imprint on city". Boca Newspaper. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
  2. ^ Lieberman, Randall P. "Sculptor Yaacov Heller discusses new projects". sun-sentinel.com. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  3. ^ "Davids triumph by YaacovHeller". www.artnet.com. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  4. ^ "The Judgment of Solomon by YaacovHeller". www.artnet.com. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  5. ^ "Possible Dinner to Include Major Art Show". Jewish Press. p. 1.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "David and Goliath by YaacovHeller". www.artnet.com. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Turning Biblical Heroes Into Metal Heroes". News View: The Israel Weekly News Magazine. December 1, 1981.
  8. ^ Riddick, Bill. "22nd Annual Opal Awards". The Rotary Club of Boca Raton. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  9. ^ "Recognizing the Rotary Club of Boca Raton's Opal Award honorees Sue and Yaacov Heller". www.congress.gov. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  10. ^ "Yaacov Heller | Yaacov Heller 1941- artist | The National Library of Israel". www.nli.org.il. The National Library of Israel. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  11. ^ a b "The Gifts Prime Minister Begin will take with him to Egypt". Maariv. August 25, 1981.
  12. ^ "Hellers Works Can Be Found World Wide". Israelitisches Wochenblatt. April 25, 1980.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "A Walk to Remember • Boca Magazine". Boca Magazine. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Israeli Artist Sculpture Presented to Mr. Vorster". South African Jewish Times. May 7, 1976.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "Giant Killer in Jerusalem". The Cleveland Press. December 16, 1978.
  16. ^ "A Walk to Remember". Boca Magazine. November 20, 2014.
  17. ^ Martinelli, Krista. "From Jerusalem to South Florida Sculptor Yaacov Heller Brings Peace Through His Works". Around Wellington Magazine. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  18. ^ "Information Center for Israeli Art | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem". museum.imj.org.il. Retrieved 2023-05-16.
  19. ^ "Yaacov Heller". Foundation Fine Art. Retrieved 2023-05-16.
  20. ^ "See Goliath Fall". The Texas District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. November 14, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ a b "Israeli Gifts for the President and Mrs. Ford" (PDF). Ford Library Museum.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ Israeli Gifts for the President and Mrs. Ford (PDF). Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  23. ^ "Knesset speaker delivers gift fit for a king". Jerusalem Post. September 9, 1981.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ "Statue big draw at show". The Star. May 6, 1976.
  25. ^ King, Dale (August 4, 2016). "Boca's icon of philanthropy Countess Henrietta de Hoernle, 103". Boca Newspaper. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  26. ^ "Countess' 99th birthday party set at Mizner Park". Sun Sentinel. September 14, 2011.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ Shatzman, Marci. "Garden of Humanity gathering rallies community against hate". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  28. ^ "A Stroll In The Garden of Humanity". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  29. ^ Shatzman, Marci (May 6, 2015). "'Never Again': Peace park dedicated in Boca". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2020-07-27.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. ^ "Two Heads Are Better Than One: Making of the Ben Ferencz Bust". IMDB.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  31. ^ a b "Benjamin B. Ferencz receives Distinguished Honorary Fellowship of the International Criminal Court". www.icc-cpi.int. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  32. ^ "Boca artist Yaacov Heller still creating masterworks at age 80". Boca Raton's Most Reliable News Source. 2021-03-09. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  33. ^ "Two Heads Are Better Than One World Premiere". YiddushFest.org. September 7, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  34. ^ "Benjamin B. Ferencz receives Distinguished Honorary Fellowship of the International Criminal Court". www.icc-cpi.int. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  35. ^ "2019 Exhibits". DePauw University. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  36. ^ "The Bible in Silver". The Jerusalem Post. December 30, 1977.
  37. ^ "Heller Yaacov | Samson's Death | MutualArt". www.mutualart.com. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  38. ^ "Elijah Rising to Heaven - Aug 06, 2017 | J. Sugarman Auction Corp. in FL". LiveAuctioneers. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  39. ^ Fiddler on the Roof in Douglas Gardens. "From Jerusalem to South Florida Sculptor Yaacov Heller Brings Peace Through His Works". Around Wellington Magazine.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  40. ^ "Flossy's Fountain, Mizner Park, Boca Raton, Florida - Fountains on Waymarking.com". www.waymarking.com. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
  41. ^ Yari, Ethel (December 28, 2001). "WOMAN GIVES $250,000 FOR FOUNTAIN". Sun-Sentinel.com. Retrieved 2021-03-31.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  42. ^ "Count Adolph and Countess Henrietta de Hoernle - Boca Raton, FL - Statues of Historic Figures on Waymarking.com". www.waymarking.com. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  43. ^ "B'nai Torah Menorah". Yaacov Heller.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  44. ^ "Synagogue to dedicate Yaacov Heller sculpture". Sun Sentinel. April 4, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  45. ^ "Garden of Humanity Gathering Rallies Community Against Hate". Sun Sentinel.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  46. ^ "Benjamin Ferencz Bust". Yaacov Heller. Retrieved 23 October 2020.

External links[edit]