Visual sparkle and human delight flowed through our community last weekend. We scampered from event to event, Saturday night to Sunday night, and it was still impossible to cover them all. We mention just three highlights.
The art show at HEA was a treasure of Israeli jewelry, paintings, challah covers and other decorative weavings, photography, handcrafted kiddush cups and other Jewish ritual objects, and decorative books.
It was an example of the latter that really caught our eye. Cheryl Messer, an artist from Haifa, produced a very large-sized edition of the biblical book of Lamentations. The edition was a combination of print, drawings and text — but that’s not the thing. What made this modern reproduction of the biblical scroll poignant and meaningful was this: The drawings were based literarily on the biblical verses, and visually on the Holocaust. Verses were illustrated with scenes that any post-Holocaust Jew could recognize as from the ghettos and concentration camps. This was not just a device to make the biblical suffering meaningful with a familiar visual metaphor. This was a profound statement about the continuity of Jewish suffering and the unity of its meaning. From the destruction of the ancient holy Temple and the ancient holy city of Jerusalem to the Holocaust, the biblical words remain eternally relevant.
At the upsherin or first haircut of three-year-old Nosson Mintz of the South Metro Chabad, the young celebrant’s older brother Isaac Mintz gave a speech to the large crowd of celebrants. Now, Isaac Mintz is not even Bar Mitzvah; yet, in poise, content, concision and delivery, he might just as well have been way past Bar Mitzvah. His speech was an impressive demonstration of the health of the Jewish future.
In the evening Jonathan Rosenblum, a writer in Jerusalem, was the guest speaker at the Aish Denver annual dinner. Among his messages: What you acquire, you lose; what you give away, you keep. How so? Whatever objects one acquires will ultimately degrade or disappear. One’s brand new car, or even one’s home, not to mention lesser objects, will deteriorate over time. What one gives away, however, establishes a relationship. And relationships can and do endure. What you get, you lose; what you give, you keep.
We missed out on much else this past weekend, from a groundbreaking of a new Jewish center in Boulder to a meeting about end-of-life rituals in Denver. There was a time when one person could take in every Jewish weekend event. No more. Proof of our vibrancy, if proof were needed.
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