Berit Engen WEFT and D'RASH – A Thousand Jewish Tapestries


THE EXILE (I)
– Leaning on Willows

Psalm 37 expresses desperate feelings of being exiled from God. Composers from Bach to the Jamaican trio, The Melodians, have popularized the first lines. The words echo the emotions of many people who live in exile (even voluntarily), are without a home, or feel estranged from society while fully aware of their own minority background.


- 8 single tapestries. (Open-ended series.)
- Click on images for more information.



THE EXILE (II)
 – Dwelling and Wandering

For centuries, where the Jews settled down, they were often forced to uproot and move, and when they had no choice but to wander, people wondered why they could not settle down.
One finds the phrase “dem goles shlepn” in the moving Yiddish song "Oyf’n Pripetshik." Translated into English and transferred to the North American experience, the phrase may take on a comic feel, as in the title of Michael Wex’s hilarious novel Shlepping the Exile.


- 4 single tapestries. (Open-ended series.)
- Click on images for more information.



THE EXILE (III)
– A Story Whose Final Tapestry Is True
 
I. B. Singer wrote: “When a day passes, it is no longer there. What remains of it? Nothing more than a story. If stories weren’t told or books weren’t written, man would live like the beasts, only for the day.” 
Each tapestry has white in it, the color of redemption: snow, tzitzit, birch trees, and finally, the hair of one of my husband’s relatives of whom it was said that his hair turned white overnight during one of these periodical atrocities.


- 4 tapestries. (Series completed.)
- Click on images for more information.



THE EXILE (IV)
– Where There Are Jews, There Are Fish
 
While studying the many aspects of Judaism, I learned that what my family eagerly ate for dinner eight days a week growing up in Norway is a creature of great significance in Jewish cooking and lore. I felt at home.


- 4 single tapestries. (Open-ended series.)
- Click on images for more information.



EXILE (VII)
– Hope on a Larger Scale

On a Jewish note: participating in political life is what Jews do when they are allowed full citizenship, and Jews contributed greatly to the election of President Obama. On a personal note: As a child in Norway, I wrote letters to Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. Each individual and generation yearns for its own redemption tale. I, along with so many others, found mine in this election.


- 3 single tapestries. (Series completed.)
- Click on images for more information.
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