Vayehi / Vehaya

I’ve been developing some visual ideas as I research buildings in West Philadelphia that were once synagogues.

Jewish history project - Studio view

Jewish history project – Studio view

One idea revolves around the Hebrew word, Vayehi – meaning, “And it was”.

I found this word in a  illumination from a 14th century prayerbook.  It’s the first word of the Book of Ruth. This context is less important to me than the simple symbolic meaning of the word as it relates to my project of researching Jewish history.

14th century South Germany Mahzor

14th century South Germany Mahzor

So I’ve been playing with this word, both with its meaning, and with the word as a symbol:

Vayehi

Vayehi

In my process of exploring this word, I’ve found myself thinking of ways of putting it to use that might refer to larger Jewish histories.

Vayehi marginalia

Vayehi marginalia

This work led me to the thought – wouldn’t it be interesting to pair this word Vayehi with images from the past, and the word Vehaya – “And it will be” – to images of a possible future?

Investigating the physical remnants of Jewish religious life in West Philly may be leading me both back and forward to a more expansive view of Jewish, and world, history.

Advertisements

About zoecohenart

artist www.zoecohen.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: