How Do We Remember?
Image copyright Zion Ozeri
Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, Israel, 2010
(ז) זָֽכְרָ֣ה יְרוּשָׁלִַ֗ם יְמֵ֤י עָנְיָהּ֙ וּמְרוּדֶ֔יהָ כֹּ֚ל מַחֲמֻדֶ֔יהָ אֲשֶׁ֥ר הָי֖וּ מִ֣ימֵי קֶ֑דֶם...
(7) All the precious things she had In the days of old Jerusalem recalled In her days of woe and sorrow...
Traditionally, Jews put stones on graves when they visit the final resting place of a loved one. On Tisha B'Av, our mourning practices mirror those of an individual who has lost a relative. Marking and remembering the touchstones of our lives before the destruction is a theme throughout the commemoration of Tisha B'Av, as in this quote from the book of Lamentations.
What feelings does this image evoke for you? How might it help us comprehend both the past and the present?
Some elements of the photo to consider are:
- What are the three main parts of the image?
- What gives the photograph movement?
- Which shape is repeated?
In the Bible, stones are often used to mark places where important events occurred (the stories of Jacob and Joshua are two examples).What do you think is the impact of using stones to mark our memories?
How else might you memorialize a person or place that you miss?
What Gives Us Hope?
Image copyright Zion Ozeri
9th of Av at the Kotel
(טז) עַל־אֵ֣לֶּה ׀ אֲנִ֣י בוֹכִיָּ֗ה עֵינִ֤י ׀ עֵינִי֙ יֹ֣רְדָה מַּ֔יִם כִּֽי־רָחַ֥ק מִמֶּ֛נִּי מְנַחֵ֖ם מֵשִׁ֣יב נַפְשִׁ֑י הָי֤וּ בָנַי֙ שֽׁוֹמֵמִ֔ים כִּ֥י גָבַ֖ר אוֹיֵֽב׃ (ס)
(16) For these things do I weep, My eyes flow with tears: Far from me is any comforter Who might revive my spirit; My children are forlorn, For the foe has prevailed.
In the book of Lamentations, the story of the destruction of Jerusalem is about the physical destruction of a place and all her inhabitants, as well as the near-collapse of the relationship between the Jews and the Divine Presence associated with this place.
What effect does the shadowy area have on this image?
What divides the image and centers it?
Is there anything in this photograph that feels hopeful to you?
How might you go about repairing a broken relationships? How is it the same as or different from rebuilding a city or a nation?
What Kind of World Do We Want to Live In?
Image copyright Zion Ozeri
Kabalat Shabbat, Santiago, Chile, 2004
אמר רב המנונא לא חרבה ירושלים אלא בשביל שביטלו בה תינוקות של בית רבן...
Rav Hamnuna said: Jerusalem was destroyed only because schoolchildren there were interrupted from studying Torah...
More than once, the Talmud explains the destruction of the Jerusalem based on a behavioral trend at the time. Here, it is the fact that society stopped prioritizing the education of it's youth that leads to the downfall of a city and a way of life.
How do you see the transmission of tradition playing out in this image?
Why might no longer teaching the words of Torah to young children be a cause for destruction?
What do you think are the most important components of a well-functioning society?