These drawings, inspired by old photographs, focus on different aspects of traditional Jewish life in the shtetl’s (small towns) of Eastern Europe from as early as 1901 until the outbreak of WW2.
I have attempted to portray the holiness and purity of even the simplest of Jews who lived in a world steeped in Torah and Jewish values. I have used light as a metaphor representing the spiritual illumination which permeated their world despite the darkness of persecution and pain which had enveloped Jewish communities for generations. Light is symbolic of the Jewish soul, reaching forever upwards towards its source, impossible to extinguish even under the darkest of circumstances.
Several drawings depict secret Torah learning in the Warsaw Ghetto. Despite the brutal destruction of these ancient communities, our generation is testimony to the fact that we have risen again from the ashes, stronger and more determined to succeed in our task of being “a light unto the nations”.
In this work I have used existing photographs as a source. I am grateful to the many unknown photographers who captured these images and in particular to the work of Roman Vishniac.