Berit Engen WEFT and D'RASH: A Thousand Jewish Tapestries


THE SCROLL  HERSELF  (I)
– PIFS: Parchment, Ink, Feather, Scribe

 
I remember the awe that filled the sanctuary in our synagogue many years ago when an older scribe, a sofer STaM, came to talk about the holiness of the Torah scroll itself. While I was used to studying the text, this way to look at the book appealed to the artist in me: tools, materials, calligraphy, and rules for executing the crafts needed to complete the task of making a scroll from scratch to finished object, not to mention hard work, dedication, and a sense of a higher purpose.

​(4/4 tapestries)



THE SCROLL (II)
– Shalom, Good Lookin'!

 
This series reworks the striking elegance of the Biblical text as written with ink on parchment in a Torah scroll. To weave the heartfelt affection we have for the Torah and her graphical beauty, I chose tones of red and red-related objects in the tapestries and as part of the tapestry names. Red is, after all, the passionate and the show-off color. Black touches accentuate focus and add visual intensity.

​(8/10 tapestries)



THE SCROLL  (III)
– Adorned Is She


Standing in the ark facing the congregation, wrapped in gorgeous mantles and dressed up with dazzling ornaments, the proud-looking Torah scrolls beam when the doors are opened and light shines upon them. I chose to highlight the use of silver prominent in the Ashkenazi tradition. I like its in-my-face and visible-from-a-distance implementation of Hiddur Mitzvah: the principle of beautifying sacred rituals and ritual objects.
 
(3/3 tapestries)
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