Masada is the ancient ruins of a fort located on the top of a rugged and isolated table-mountain at the southern-most edge of the Dead Sea. After the Legions of Rome destroyed the Second Temple in 70 CE the “Great Revolt of the Jewish People” ended, except for the surviving Zealots, who ﬂed to the fortress of Masada. Because the Zealots preferred death over slavery, 960 defenders chose to kill their families and then commit suicide before being captured. This controversial event in Jewish history is often observed as a symbol for a heroic struggle against oppression.
This piece is composed of wood, leather, and sinew, natural elements that reﬂect the color of Masada and its environment. The leather shape, a repeating and misshaped Star of David, represents the contentious acts committed at Masada. The clearer and more traditional Star of David lies on top of the leather and is made of shards, grout, and stones of actual Masada remnants. Each piece is from an archeological dig conducted onsite in 1964, given to me as a gift by the leader of the excavation.
In Masada we see the apex of Jewish history: persecution, exile, and deﬁance.
Actual clay shards and stones from Masada excavation, leather, wood, sinew
31 x 24 x 3 in.