The glass sculptures and artwork of acclaimed international-artist Jeremy Langford grace hotel lobbies, synagogues, office buildings and religious sites. But it would seem that his greatest creation is a work in progress – himself. Langford has reinvented himself so many times and in so many ways one would be hard pressed to fit him into any mold.
Langford’s most well-known work is the glass sculptures in the Kotel tunnels, but his creations grace Kever Rachel and the ohalim of the Rambam, Shmuel HaNavi and David HaMelech as well as secular locations like Trump Towers in Miami and various buildings in New York. His current project is a donor wall of stone in the City of David, depicting Jewish history from the time of David HaMelech to the Second Temple period.
Chain of Generations, depicting Jewish history from the Matriarchs and Patriarchs to the present day, and situated in the Kotel Tunnels, is his greatest work both in size (40 feet high and weighing 15 metric tons), depth, and in ambition. It’s also his favorite work and garnered the 2008 Thea award, bestowed by the Disney Corporation on projects whose achievement has been determined to be of “outstanding” quality.
Very holy work for a man who grew up in a Dutch-English family that was “Secular LeMehadrin.” Langford says he always felt there was something more, something beyond physicality, and he went looking for it. He found it as a student of Kaballah under the guidance of Rav Baruch Ashlag zt”l. After Rav Ashlag’s death, he founded the Ashlag Heritage Foundation.
Though the native of Brighton is a serious artist and deep Kabbalist, Langford has an easy air about him and a sense of humor that sets his blue eyes twinkling. He is a believer in natural medicine and founded a floatation center, Galim, with his late wife, Yael, who had been a neuroscientist. His daughter Naomi, a naturopath who also coaches underprivileged youth in Rehovot, currently runs it.
“Neurofeedback and floatation [in an isolation tank] helps people relax,” he says. “Artists better access their creativity and children with ADD and ADHD reach calmer states without drugs.”
Besides Naomi, Langford’s other four children are also very accomplished in their fields. His son, Boaz is a cave researcher who recently unearthed coins from the Bar Kochva revolt. Racheli is a neuroscientist specializing in resuscitation and clinical death. She also founded JFriends, a non-profit in the UK to bring Jewish singles together for Shabbat meals and other social events. David runs a high-end glazing company and set up an organization for humanitarian aid based on similar work he did during his army service, and Ruta, an artist and architect, works in his studio in Ramat Gan. Langford himself has just turned sixty and married his second wife, Tamara, six months ago.
When still a child, Langford was curious to see what would happen if he dropped some glass in a kiln. Someone saw his early experiments with glass and suggested he apprentice. He did, but after a while, frustrated with limitations, he developed his own techniques and has been creating unique and beautiful designs ever since.
Interestingly, his family history reads like a who’s who in entertainment. His grandfather was a royal entertainer at the court of Edward VII. His father, Barry Langford, worked with Tom Jones and the Beatles and developed Israeli television as an advisor from the BBC when he made aliyah in the 1970s. When Langford walked into his father’s home for the first time sporting a kippah perched precariously on his Afro (this was the ‘70s), his father was in rehearsal with a rock band. The music stopped, literally, the drummer dropped his drumsticks and his sister wouldn’t talk to him for a week.