I see life symbolically. I believe there are signs everywhere that, if we choose to see them, will guide us on our path. As I ventured into my own mystical Jewish art and calligraphy several years ago there were definite signs that Ben and Granpa were watching over me and cheering me on. Yesterday, there was another.... and it nearly took my breath away.
I went to see the large commission I created for Temple Reyim of Newton, MA. I had heard from one of the congregants that it looked fantastic and that people, including the rabbi, were “ooing and ahhing”. I wanted to see for myself. Indeed, the work looks great. It is so colorful and it’s position in the entryway is very welcoming. I was thrilled to see it firsthand.
After taking some pictures I ventured around the corner to the room just behind the wall where my artwork hangs. OMG!! There was a Ben Shahn print, one I know extremely well. It is the piece Ben used to make my Granpa a personal bookplate! The translation is “Where there is a book there is no sword.” Historians have noted that my Granpa brought that line to Ben’s attention.
When something as profound and out of the ordinary like that happens, I pay attention. I feel so grateful to be able to see life in such a delightful way and to feel so lovingly guided on this journey of life. Having Ben and Granpa so close, giving me what feels like a big “thumbs up” on my work in the world means a lot to me. I know Granpa hoped someone would continue his and Ben’s legacy of creating peace and understanding in our world by sharing stories, songs, and art. In my small way, I hope I am.