In my continued role as the 2014 Eduardo Rauch Artist-in-Residence at the Heschel School in New York, I created an installation to invite the community to commemorate, on November 5th, the 19th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s death.
Reflecting on the life and death of Yitzhak Rabin, particularly against the backdrop of this summer’s events in Israel and the continued violence and uncertainty of our times, I turned to the Hashkiveinu, inspired by the image of the “Shelter of Peace” for which we beseech God. To represent the temporary and fragile nature of the longed-for “Sukkah of Peace,” I suspended a torn, imperfect expanse of fabric beneath which, the community gathered. The red sections of the fabric are a reminder of the blood that continues to be shed. The peace process, like the fabric, has been imperfect and tears us apart.
Today, we can’t help but connect the past- Rabin’s work for peace, cut short by his murder- with our current-day prayers for peace in Israel and between the divisions within the Jewish people. Particularly painful, and timely, is the fact that Rabin’s murderer was a fellow Jew. This makes the Heschel School’s pluralistic mission of education, understanding and acceptance even more urgent.
The spirit of Edy Rauch, for whom the artist residency has been established, is celebrated in every project I do at the Heschel School. To honor his memory for this particular project, I pinned hand-crafted green beads in the fabric, embedding Edy’s spirit in the commemoration of Rabin, through symbolic reference to Edy’s love of green ink pens and the environment.Twenty years ago, when Yitzhak Rabin accepted the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize, which he shared with Shimon Peres and Yasir Arafat, Yehuda Amichai attended and read an early poem of his titled “Wildpeace,” written in 1986, which was as fitting for those times as it is today:
Not the peace of a cease-fire,
not even the vision of the wolf and the lamb,
as in the heart when the excitement is over
and you can talk only about a great weariness.
I know that I know how to kill,
that makes me an adult.
And my son plays with a toy gun that knows
how to open and close its eyes and say Mama.
without the big noise of beating swords into ploughshares,
without words, without
the thud of the heavy rubber stamp: let it be
light, floating, like lazy white foam.
A little rest for the wounds—
who speaks of healing?
(And the howl of the orphans is passed from one generation
to the next, as in a relay race:
the baton never falls.)
Let it come
suddenly, because the field
must have it: wildpeace.