The historic dialogue between God’s word and humankind’s representation of God’s word is, in the Jewish context, the Torah. This concept and my piece serve as a meeting ground between God and man, where the physical and the ineffable meet.
The scribal pens, made of ivory, gold, silver, and wood, represent the contrast of synagogues and communities in the Jewish Diaspora. The animal skin suggests the parchment on which the scribe writes, while the horns are evocative of the wooden rollers around which the Torah scroll is wrapped. The ritual fringes (tzittzit) call to mind the prayer shawl, while the chains recall the Jewish People’s history of bondage and exile.
The piece’s form says as much as the components within it. The tension between organic and man-made is palpable — the parchment is twisted, the horns asymmetrical, the fringes ﬂowing, while the pens are mounted straight and even, as are the printed letters of the Hebrew alphabet above them.
Lastly, this piece is an invitation. It allows each of us to go forward and write our own Jewish story with the traditions and artifacts of ancient times.
Ink on leather pelt, leather strands, pens, animal horns, wood yoke parts, various brass objects
72 x 30 x 10 in.