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April 25, 2015 / 6 Iyar, 5775
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Just Imagine…

Overall view of garden model

Overall view of garden model

Just imagine you are walking through a beautiful garden. Feast your eyes on the colors of the flowers, the grass at your feet, the leaves of the trees in shades from green to silver. Listen to the birds. Let the sunshine caress your face. Smell the perfume.

Schematic Map

Schematic Map

Paradise? Almost. Could anything be more perfect? Add another dimension. Let your mind, soul and emotions wander in an equally beautiful garden of Jewish wisdom and values, becoming more and more immersed in their essence as you gain spiritual insights.

This is a vision, but in the near future it will become a reality. It is the vision of David Moss, perhaps best known as the artist who revived the hand-made artistic ketubah, and created the remarkable Moss Haggadah. It is a project he is working on with the collaboration of Neot Kedumim.

Neot Kedumim is the Biblical Landscape Reserve in Israel, located mid-way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It recreates the physical setting of the Bible, covering an area of 2,500 dunams, approximately 625 acres, and comprises a series of natural and agricultural landscapes – the Forest of Milk and Honey; the Dale of the Song of Songs; Isaiah;s Vineyard and the Fields of the Seven Species. Israeli botanist Noga Hareuveni, who won the Israel Prize in 1994, created this vision.

Now let me tell you about David Moss, who has envisioned his special dream in this magical setting. He calls it The Garden of Exploration and his goal is to gather 4,000 years of Jewish wisdom and share it with you.

David is an artist whose life revolves around two quotations found in his studio on Khutzot Hayatzer, Jerusalem’s Artists’ Lane.

“In art, the best is good enough.” (Goethe) and

“A man who works with his hands is a laborer.

A man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman.

A man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.” 

(Louis Nizer)

Waysman-081613-ModelThe latter description applies to David Moss and the dream into which he is putting his whole heart. His Garden of Exploration will translate the essence of our spirituality into a physical experience available to everyone. When it is built (the pilot project is already underway) it will combine art, graphics, sculpture, architecture, music, film, landscaping and interactive digital media. Your every step in the Garden will bring you experiences you have never had before.

You approach a small, attractive building whose glass door beckons. You peer in and see others waiting at similar doors. You try the door – it is locked. But once there are ten people – a minyan or quorum – at all of its ten portals, the doors all magically swing open together and allow you to enter. Why? To let you experience the intimacy and warmth of a Jewish community which is vividly portrayed inside.

When this vision becomes a reality – and it is on its way – it will speak to you – no matter whether you are secular or affiliated with a specific stream. It will make you think about your beliefs, your values, your connection to Judaism in a fresh way. – every visitor will be affected differently.Waysman-081613-Multi-Dime

The Garden of Exploration will not be a place of entertainment, but a place to explore your deepest emotions, possibly to challenge and refine them and to decide how relevant they are to you. You will not be the same person when you leave as when you entered.

When the artist explained the project to me, I was reminded of a sampler hanging in my childhood kitchen. My mother had carefully stitched the words that have always stayed with me:

“The kiss of the sun for pardon,

The song of the birds for mirth.

One is nearer G-d’s heart in a garden

Than any place else on earth.”

All illustrations © 2013 David Moss

About the Author: Dvora Waysman is the author of 13 books, one of which, “The Pomegranate Pendant” was made into the movie “The Golden Pomegranate.” Born in Australia, she has lived in Jerusalem for 44 years.


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Fireworks going off over the Knesset to mark Israel's Independence Day

Israel is so much more than a refuge for persecuted Jews.

Just imagine you are walking through a beautiful garden. Feast your eyes on the colors of the flowers, the grass at your feet, the leaves of the trees in shades from green to silver. Listen to the birds. Let the sunshine caress your face. Smell the perfume.

His dream was to reach out to every Jew, even the most secular.

This is a remarkable book to assist those of us – and that means everyone – who are trying to find our way in life, with all its setbacks and pain, as well as for people who want to help people.

Forty-six years ago, in the first week of June, Israel stunned the world when it wasn’t looking. Four years later, Israel stunned me when I wasn’t looking.

Jerusalem was never real to me. It was a name I came across in books of Bible stories as a child. If I’d ever tried to imagine it, it would have been like places in my books of fairy stories. I knew it was a city with crenellated walls, with domes and towers and minarets. In my mind, I saw it peopled with old men with long beards and flowing robes, and women with clay jugs precariously balanced on their heads.

Jews all over the world celebrate Israel’s Independence Day – even those who have no intention of ever coming on aliyah, and many of whom have never even visited Israel. “It’s a kind of insurance policy” one overseas friend told me. “By supporting Israel financially and emotionally, I know that its sanctuary is available to me or my children or grandchildren should the need ever arise.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/just-imagine/2013/08/16/

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