Sacred Fragments

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In contrast to the Catholic tradition of burying people in churches and cathedrals, Jews do not bury their dead in synagogues. So why all the gravestones in this Prague synagogue?
“Sacred Fragments” is in response to my visit to Prague a few years ago and my ambivalent feelings about it’s synagogues, which only recently have been returned to the Jewish community and seem to function mainly as museums and concert venues to support the local Jewish community. These synagogues seem to be sacred fragments of what was left after the decimation of the Holocaust, and somewhat reminiscent of another set of sacred fragments brought to prominence through the movie Schindler’s list: The Jewish gravestones were taken when the cemeteries were destroyed and used as paving stones. During World War II, the Nazis attempted to not only eradicate the Jewish population from Europe but also attempted to erase any memory and trace of them.

While researching the subject I was appalled to find out that only in March 2013, the City Council of Lviv (Lvov) finally decided to stop using Jewish headstones as paving stones: They were still doing this until March 2013! 

I have joined these two images in an incongruous manner to set the observer on edge.

Note: Unlike most of my other paper cuts, this piece was cut by laser. I had completed the synagogue by hand and drawn in the gravestones when I fell and broke a rib where it meets the spine. I was unable to lean over to cut, but could sit upright in a chair. So, I digitized everything and sent it to be cut by laser.

$500.00 framed plus shipping      


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My Profile: The Gemara says that all of our constructs and paradigms exist as a result of suppressing information. From chaos, the sum potential of all that is possible - physicists call it white noise; statisticians call it raw data - we must push away that which is unwanted. We are left to work with our visions and patterns of reality. The big question is, how well do those visions match up to what reality actually is in all its inter-related complexity and detail. On Yom Kippur, we come face to face with the reality that "The hidden things belong to HaShem our God, but the revealed things are for us and for our children forever, that we might fulfill all the words of this Torah." (Deuteronomy 29:28). God's ultimate and uncompromising reality must hold us accountable even for paradigms we are NOT aware of! Many refer to this as "The law of unintended consequences." This is why what I hold dear is not answers, but an endless path of growing awareness that attempts to come closer and closer to reality as it really is - not the "reality" that is just a projection of some inner solipsistic construction within my brain. The questions- not the answers - lead me on that path. I have become deeply committed to a life long journey of learning, growth, change, love, discernment, service, play, commitment, questioning, and valuing disagreement. At my core is the notion that without self-doubt and without valuing difference and differing opinions, one cannot develop a fulfilling and meaningful life. My art starts as a white sheet of whole paper, which represents chaos - all the possible pictures that one could create on it - onto which I impose order. Simultaneously destructive and defining, my paper-cutting adds meaning to the paper. Cutting pieces out is a creative process that graphically reveals before me my deeper paradigms so that I can scrutinize them - so that I can better understand the limits and characteristics of the space in which those paradigms work and gain insight as to where they are no longer valid. But it is not just a discovery of my internal landscapes. It is a process of becoming aware of myself within relationship and covenant. It is my simultaneous love and awe of and participation in the splendor of God's continued creation. It is my Avoda.

One thought on “Sacred Fragments”

  1. Pingback: My Jewish Opinion on Forgiveness and the Holocaust and how it Inspires My Art | Layer by Layer

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