Berit Engen: WEFT and D'RASH – Weaving a Thousand Jewish Tapestries

 Inspired by Shir haShirim: Colors of Spring With Red for Love

(4/-- tapestries)

– Inspired by M'gillat Rut: The Beauty of Biblical Minimalism

I have tried to capture the story in three colors only.
The book is short, to the point, and beautiful. It recounts universal themes like famine, migration and vulnerability. Specifically, it records what Ruth, the Moabite and stranger, is best known for: choosing Judaism.

(14/15 tapestries)

– Inspired by Eikhah: Sounds of Wailing and a Glimpse of Return
Ice-blue is a lonely color, the dark hues denote destruction and despair, and the willow foreshadows sitting exiled by the rivers of Babylon. The green is a reminder of the quiet cycle of day and night in spite of historic turmoil. Our distant past shines in a recorded memory and illuminates a future whose outcome relies on a plea to God fulfilled and a promise kept by us.

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– Inspired by Kohelet: Life and Loss in Hues of Green
The series is based on the famous chapter 3, verses 1-8, which states that there is a time for everything, including birth and death. These words are soothing when we are in mourning. Hidden in the tapestries is a story of dying early in life, reflecting Kohelet’s cynical sentiment of hopelessness. There might be a time to die, but some die too soon. We can do nothing to influence natural or manmade conditions. 

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–  Inspired by M'gillat Ester: Drama in Divergent Lines

The personalities of the queens, the uncle, the king, and the villain are expressed in theatrical lines against background curtains with subtle nuances.

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 – Chant Five and Sefer Yonah!

I enjoy the cyclical chanting of the scrolls in synagogues on Passover, Shavuot, Tisha b’Av, Sukkot, and Purim. In addition, the Book of Jonah (Prophets) is chanted on Yom Kippur. The melodies fit the sentiments of the respective holy days. Hiddur mitzvah, the concept of beautifying the commandments, here through musical notes and the very basic instrument of the voice, add a profound dimension to the reading and help with the intuitive understanding of the texts.

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