Cemetery in Prague
A film by Allan Miller and Mark Podwal
First Run Features, 52 minutes, $24.95
Built by Angels: The Story of the
By Mark Podwal
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 48 pages, $16
“House of Life” is no travel agency pitch for Prague, though it is jam-packed with fascinating historical facts and beautiful landscape shots. The first time a Star of David was officially used as an emblem for the Jewish community was on the tombstone of Rabbi David Gans (1541-1613), the author of the “Tzemach David.” On the stone, a goose symbolizes the surname, while the star, allegedly the shape of King David’s shield, reflects the historian and astronomer’s first name.
Praying on the High Holidays. Image from “Built by Angels”
I have never been to Prague so I cannot vouch for the authenticity of its representation in the book and in the documentary. But I am fairly certain that if I ever get the chance, I will be well prepared for both the surfaces of the landmarks I encounter, as well as the mystical and magical aspects that lurk beneath.
Menachem Wecker welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a painter and writer, residing in Washington, D.C.
About the Author: Menachem Wecker, who blogs on faith and art for the Houston Chronicle at http://blogs.chron.com/iconia, welcomes comments at email@example.com.
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