Berit Engen WOOF and D'RASH - Weaving a Thousand Jewish Tapestries

HOLY DAYS II
– What they look like
 
The holy days sound, smell, and taste different from one another, and each is also visually distinct. I enjoy connecting a special day with specific ritual objects, colors, and shapes. 


HOLY DAYS III
How to live them
 
This series is inspired by and structured after the table of contents in the book The Jewish Way - Living the Holidays by Rabbi Irving Greenberg.
 
As I read this book, it seemed like all I had learned about Judaism fell into place, and the sacred days offered a more profound perspective.
In the conflict between my Jewish aspirations and reality, I struggle as I wander the Way to the goal offered by the Torah, the universal redemption.
 
The titles are based on YIVO’s list of Yiddish names for the holy days, (with the exception of Yom Hashoah.) Given that all the names are originally Hebrew, the difference is mostly a matter of emphasizing different syllables. I miss hearing these disappearing sounds at the times of the various yontifs and observances.


HOLY DAYS IV
– In their times and seasons

Spring, summer, fall, and winter. Day, twilight, night, and dawn.
Trees, flowers, fruits, and branches.  Sun, snow, rain, and wind.
Creation is our companion as we observe, celebrate, dance, mourn. and remember. And eat.


HOLY DAYS V
– The holiest of days
 
In these tapestries I have tried to convey what this day feels like.
Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement. White is the color of this day of vulnerability, judgment, and God’s grace. It shows best in contrast to black. Although there is no black in the synagogue, I imagine the Book of Life, the scale, and the gates in this dark color. I am not so comfortable with the contrast between the two as they place every shape and emotion into a sharp focus.


HOLY DAYS VI
– Apples and honey and...
 
I wanted to weave these two symbols of Rosh Hashanah and the autumn light as it is here in Oak Park, Illinois. But as we marvel at the new
year and the natural cycle, we need to keep in mind that Rosh Hashanah is about making moral and ethical choices and staking out history. Sometimes an apple is not just an apple.


HOLY DAYS VII
Keeping track of time

After the fall of the Second Temple, the tradition of having a decorative calendar for counting the Omer emerged. Then the tradition faded – people let go of it. In our times we are reviving it, this tradition with its potential for artistic fun and beauty.
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