This Token Partnership
Israel: Gated Community
Shaping Community: Poetics and Politics of the Eruv
Three exhibitions exploring a Jewish spatial practice
curated by Margaret Olin in three parts at the ISM Gallery of Sacred Arts, the Allan and Leah Rabinowitz Gallery (Slifka Center), and the 32 Edgewood Gallery.
Ellen Rothenberg. Measure 1, (c) 2012.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITIONS
Talmudic law interprets the biblical imperative to “do no work” on the Sabbath as forbidding the carrying of objects from a private space into a public space on that day. Because, however, the injunction against carrying would seem to contravene the biblical command that the Sabbath be “a joy,” the rabbinical corpus also instituted the eruv, a partnership that operates during the Sabbath to transform a neighborhood into a community with a shared dwelling place, within whose borders an orthodox Jew may carry a prayer book to the synagogue, push a stroller or wheelchair, and where children may play outdoors.
The eruv boundary is marked, so subtly as to be nearly invisible, by redefining urban fixtures such as utility wires with the addition of common pieces of hardware or fishing line. Yet the institution of an eruv demands the cooperation of surrounding communities and is often the center of acrimonious disputes and litigation. The concept of the eruv raises issues about public and private space, borders and limitations that speak, in multifold and fascinating ways, to wider concerns about multiethnic communities, immigration, and human rights.
The exhibition – displaying works of
Mel Alexenberg, Avner Bar-Hama, Daniel Bauer, Sophie Calle, Alan Cohen, Elliot Malkin, Shirin Neshat, Margaret Olin, Ellen Rothenberg, Ben Schachter, and Suzanne Silver – has three components. This Token Partnership: The Materiality of a Jewish Spatial Practice, at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, investigates the semiotics and the materiality of the eruv as a beautiful example of urban bricolage. In Israel: Gated Community, at the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale, ethereal photographs of Jerusalem eruv lines introduce a provocative juxtaposition of works that use the eruv to visualize contrasting positions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Finally, Internal Borders, at the Yale School of Art, explores the internalization of external borders in Jerusalem and Iran, and expands the exhibition’s theme beyond Jewish or Israeli concerns.
A series of events, including lectures, films, and concerts, examines the implications of the eruv in the world beyond its permeable borders.
~Margaret Olin, August 2012
presented by Yale Institute of Sacred Music with support from the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale and Yale School of Art.