The famed Eldridge Street Synagogue, built in 1887, unveiled its new stained-glass window last month, as the culmination of a 24-year restoration of the once-abandoned building on the Lower East Side.
Artist Kiki Smith and architect Deborah Gans were commissioned to create the circular glass mosaic, which consists of over 1,200 pieces of glass. No documentation remains of the original window, which was damaged over time and ultimately replaced in 1944 with clear glass blocks.
When word began to spread that she was organizing a workshop involving snakes, tolerance and Jewish values, the idea sounded wonderful to some people and terrible to others, says Vivian Stadlin, whose event took place Sunday at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan.
“Snakes play a role in many of our stories,” beginning with Genesis, she notes, adding that they’re often the source of trouble and symbolize evil speech.
If someone in Israel were to ask why this knight was not like all other knights last week, the answer was simple: the knights of Alik Gershon, a Ukrainian-born grandmaster chess player, were joined over 18 hours by hundreds of fellow chess pieces. Including 1,050 other knights, 525 kings and 4,200 pawns.
In Jewish lore, Hadrian, a Roman emperor 20 centuries ago, was bad news. He built a large temple to the goddess Venus in Jerusalem, and another one dedicated to the worship of Jupiter on the ruins of the destroyed Second Temple. He abolished circumcision and brutally quashed the Bar Kochba revolt, continuing to persecute Jews and Judaism.
So starts Yevgeni Yevtushenko’s epic 1961 poem about the then-unknown killing field near Kiev.
The world largely did not know that the Nazis, aided by compliant Ukrainian police, slaughtered 33,771 Jews in a ravine during two days at the end of September 1941, the largest number of Jews who lost their lives in a single Final Solution operation.