Safed: Vertical City of Rhyme and Contrast

Leave a comment

Safed: Vertical City of Rhyme and Contrast By Jonathan Lyon                                 Inspired by Edith Green

For questions, purchase and/or contact information, see below.

About This Piece’s Construction

This special limited edition (12) art piece was made in honor of the opening of this exhibit in Safed. The paper cut is floated between two specially-designed, and individually hand-crafted, clear blocks of plexiglass, which are held together by strong magnets, to enhance its beauty.  The case was constructed to sit on a table or mantle in front of a solid background. Paper color, thickness, texture and pattern vary from one piece to another. Each special edition piece is signed and marked “Limited Edition No.X of 12.” After the limited edition is over, each piece will be signed and numbered.

My Reason for Calling this Art Piece “Safed: Vertical City of Rhyme and Contrast”

Whenever my wife Jane and I visit Safed, we are both struck by the contrast of residents (the very religious, mystical, and non-religious) living in such close quarters – and how that is reflected in the numerous types of art displayed in the artists’ colony. Yet, it seemed obvious to us that all of them and their art are offshoots of the same root stock. I symbolized this with the arch between the Safed General Art Gallery in the converted mosque (a contrast in and of itself from its previous use) and the Beyt Midrash on the left.

The Hassid walking between these contrasting elements is studying Talmud as he walks. We are left wondering about his awareness of others unlike him. We are teased at the possibility of his attitude toward the “other” by the upside down Menorah over the gallery. Does the inverted menorah symbolize the new use of the mosque for Jewish purposes or does it reflect an attitude that those “others” have turned dedication on its head? Because his head is buried in his Talmud, he may also be oblivious as to whether he is going down or up – Yeridah or Aliyah – a theme of verticality often used in terms of Teshuvah (repentance).

It is the awareness and appreciation of the fact that we are each on a personal journey of Yeridah and Aliyah that give us the ability to live in harmony – in rhyme with – and in appreciative contrast to each other.


This piece comes framed: $250.00 plus shipping

5.75″ X 8″ Paper cut on premium-quality, acid-free medium card stock

Copies are signed and numbered.

For purchase or questions, please feel free to contact me.


Telephone within Israel: 058-647-8411 Use this number to text me

Telephone from the USA call me in Israel using my Los Angeles line: (213) 259-8298

Posted by

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s