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Pinkas Synagogue Prague

$155.00

Prague, Czech Republic

We toured the 7 synagogues in Prague that were open (the Spanish Synagogue was closed), and while this one was probably the least ornate, it was definitely the most poignant and emotional.

At first, you don't really notice the names on the wall.  They are written small enough (maybe 1" tall letters) and in a continuous paragraph style as opposed to a list, that from far away, it looked like faint texture.  It was only as you got closer did you realize what you were seeing.  And the names just went on and on and on, filling each and every wall.

I think that we hear about tragedy every day, so much so, that it almost becomes clinical.  Sure, 80,000 is a big number, but it's small compared to 6 million.  But when you see their names, 80,000 names, stretch on and on, you realize that each one of those names doesn't represent just a number, but a person.  A person who was once living, with all the same hopes and dreams as you and I have.  At that point, 80,000 becomes way, way too big of a number.

 

Facts:

  • Built in 1535 as a private family synagogue
  • The floor is below ground level, and was afflicted by floods and moisture
  • The wrought iron Rococo grill that adorns the bimah (the raised platform used for Torah readings) was donated by a local businessman in 1793.  You can see this grill in my original photo and kaleidoscope artwork
  • Between 1955-1960, the walls of the synagogue were covered with the names of the 80,000 Czech Jewish victims of the Holocaust.  The names are arranged by the communities from which they came, and include their birth and death dates.  In many cases, death dates were unknown, so the date they were moved to the ghettos or their deportation date to the concentration camps was used
  • The Old Jewish Cemetery is right behind the synagogue
  • On the first floor is a permanent exhibition of drawings by the children in the Theresienstadt concentration camp (a combo concentration camp and ghetto).  The artist Friedl Dicker-Brandeis gave art lessons to the children and encouraged them to explore their feelings and fears through their drawings.  Most of these children, as well as Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, died in Auschwitz.  She hid the drawings in Theresienstadt before being deported, where they were later found.

Process And Size Guidelines

I handcraft each piece in my home studio, located just outside of Kansas City, MO.

Most of the photos I use were taken by me on my travels near and far.    I review each photo, looking for striking colors and strong structural elements.    If you think of the entire design as a pie, I am looking for a perfect “slice” of pie within the picture.  Once I find it, the slice is mirrored and repeated in a circular fashion to create the whole pie, i.e. the kaleidoscopic design.

 

The design then is printed multiple times onto photo paper and I hand cut different elements from each copy of the design with scissors (yes, scissors!). After the cutting is done, I reassemble the pieces into tiered layers separated by foam core, creating the unique three-dimensional kaleidoscopic effect.  Finally, I mount the piece onto mat board and frame it in a shadow box, adding a small copy of the original photo to the piece.

 

 

Each design is available in multiple sizes.  The larger the piece, the more layers the design will have, which gives you even greater depth and dimension.  The larger size also allows for more intricate cutting, providing more texture and more "wow"!

 

 Size
Outside Dimensions Inside Dimensions Frame Color
10x10
9.75" x 9.75" x 2" 9" x 9" x 1.5" Black
13x13
13.5" x 13.5" x 2.75" 12" x 12" x 2.25" Black
16x16
18.5" x 18.5" x 4" 16" x 16" x 3" Custom made reclaimed cedar with museum quality plexiglass front