Yona Verwer 


“It’s a Thin Line: The Eruv and Jewish Community in New York and Beyond”

 


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Copyright Yona Verwer 2000-2017. All rights reserved.

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The Jewish Press

January 11, 2013


By Richard McBee


Yeshiva University Museum – Center for Jewish History
15 West 16th Street, NYC; 212-294 8330
www.yumuseum.org
Until June 30, 2013

Excerpt:


Jewish law prohibits carrying an object from a private domain to a public domain (or vice versa) or within a public domain on the Sabbath. One who intentionally carries, knowing the prohibition on the Sabbath is libel to the death penalty by a Jewish court. The creation of an eruv establishes, where possible, an extended private domain in which such carrying is permissible.

“... Strikingly in one display case the exhibition documents three mid-20th century arguments against any Manhattan Eruv: Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (who, while he opposes, does not condemn rabbis who would permit), Rabbi Shimon Schwab, and Rabbi Theodore Adams. This strict halachic position is still upheld on the Lower East Side. Courageously one artist, Yona Verwer, protests. 


Her “Tightrope” (2012) prominently raises another aspect of the overall concern for the broader Jewish community. The lack of an eruv “excludes women, children and sick people from fully participating in Jewish life and synagogue community.” Her installation depicts 16 panels with images of downtown communities affected by the lack of an eruv. 


Her artwork includes not only images from these synagogues but also community voices captured on 3 video monitors that express the pain and frustration caused by rabbinic refusal to establish an eruv on the Lower East Side. This is a powerful protest artwork on the part of observant Jews that dovetails directly into earlier rabbinic concern over Sabbath desecration by the non-observant. It demands that the eruv, introduced for the benefit of the observant, must also be understood and be created for those of our community who are in need; i.e. the vulnerable and the non-observant...." 


Read full article here.


Tightrope (2012) Acrylic on canvas, LCD Monitors by Yona Verwer

Courtesy Yeshiva University Museum