Artist Elana Kann of Asheville has created the sculptureTikkun Olam Is A Verb. She and her sister Sheella Mierson lovingly gifted it to the Temple in honor of their parents Lotte & Seymour Meyerson and in honor of the Temple’s mission statement
Here is Elana’s explanation of how she imagined the sculpture’s elements, as she designed and built it. Other interpretations are valid as well!
Her hope is that people can see in it what they want and need, as their own lives intertwine with the parts of the world that touch them, and that everyone will find something in it with which to identify. And, her hope is that this will inspire the congregation with an important part of CBHT’s own Mission Statement–the determination to repair what is broken and heal what is suffering.
She envisioned three vertical layers to the sculpture. From the top the images portray brokenness–shattered shards of light or glass (Kristallnacht?); loneliness, pain and fear (child on left); anger & violence (fist); fire.
From the bottom comes healing, starting with the big hands that represent what people of various faiths or beliefs call God, Buddha, spirit, the sacred–whatever name people give to a force that unites us in compassion, love, and support. Those hands heal and support the community–the people in a circle with their arms around each other. This group could be interpreted as Beth HaTephila’s congregation.
And the middle shows various narratives that pass the healing on. The community of people who experience that love and compassion themselves reach out to heal the brokenness above. Again moving left to right, a hand reaches out to the lonely hurting child; below that a hand tries to put a broken piece back in place; two hands offer compassion to the violent fist, to help soften it; the handshake represents racial healing (and the top hand, made of oak, will deepen in color over the years so that it will be more obvious); a firefighter puts out the fire, while below that someone lights the Shabbat candles (a very different kind of flame); a gardener plants grape vines and receives an offer of another plant.
Elana can be reached via http://www.branchingoutwoodworks.com/
The piece is located directly across from the Rabbi’s office.