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Myriam Jawerbaum, Argentina
Parshat Ki Tissa
I have chosen this parsha because I consider the giving of the Torah to be a main milestone in the history of the Jewish people, The PEOPLE OF THE BOOK.
The father's law, the prohibition of idolatry, the broken stone that allows the paper and enables the letters (or the text) to appear, the crevice that frees the interpretation, the words cut, reading, call, event-the reading event, share the same homophony.
If the first Tablets, the ones written by God's finger, are broken, the second ones must be written. These are the ones that prevail, and the ones that Moses, the human hand wrote, guided by an external voice. This law, which may fail, can have cracks, and invites us to inhabit and interpret are the uncertainties of the text.
The text starts with the letter Aleph, the first of the Hebrew word Anochi, meaning I, with which God begins his revelation in Sinai. Aleph is a silent letter, lacking significance, and that is why it projects us forward to a reading and interpretative culture. Aleph also represents the "one", the uniqueness of God, Adonai Echad.
In this work the crevice is present. It is the crevice of the broken stone, that separates God's writing from its human form, the stone from the paper, the revelation from the interpretation. It is also the crevice in the stone through which God reveals himself to Moses: "You may see my back" he states, only my steps, my footprints: "but my face will not be seen", only in the scripture of the law. It is a break that does not allow us to go back to the past, (like Diana Sperling wrote in her book Filosofía de cámara) so that the paper will become stone again.
"The–one-for–the–other, as well as the one-is-the-keeper-of-the-other, or the-one-is-responsible-for-the-other."
Myriam Jawerbaum was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1959 where she currently lives and works. She obtained a degree in Architecture at de University of Buenos Aires in 1983 and worked as an architect from 1983 to 1999. Myriam studied drawing and painting with Ahuva Slimowicz and Gullermo Roux, textile techniques and handmade paper with Silvia Turbiner and painting and etching with Mirta Kupferminc. She has worked as a Curator in "Tarbut Art" since 2000.
Reflections on Being a Jewish Woman Artist
I am, quoting Hanna Arendt "A Jewish Woman". I do not think that it is possible to separate the "woman" from the "Jewish" in me. Being a Jewish woman is something that has always been present in my life, in my values, while planning a family, nurturing my children, working in my studio, studying, making decisions, or when choosing to become an artist.
Neither can I classify my work, or part of it as Jewish art. Judaism, its values, ethics, laws, and philosophy, have always been present in who I am and in my creations.
If I work on children's undernourishment in my country or on the homeless, I do it from my Jewish point of view, and I listen to Cain's voice asking, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
"The–one-for–the–other, as well as the one-is-the-keeper-of-the-other, or the-one-is-responsible-for-the-other"
When I work in my series about books, I do it from my sense of belonging to the People of the Book.
"If God is, it is because he is in the book. If the saints and profets exist, if erudites and poets exist, it is because we find their names in the book. The world exists because the book exists; because existing is growing with one's own name."
—The Book of Questions Edmond Jabes
For me, being a woman, Jewish, and artist it is without any doubt being me.