2012 – oil on canvas, 160×200 cm / 63×79 in
“Jerusalem is a port city on the shore of the age of ages. The Temple Mount is a great ship. The shofar sounds out sunset: one more has set sail”. Yehuda Amichai
For three and a half billion people, half of the world’s population, Jerusalem is a holy city.
Christians and Muslims have their holiest sites in other parts of the world, whereas for Jews it is here, at the foot of the Temple Mount with the Kotel or Wailing Wall depicted in my painting. For all three monotheistic religions, there is only one God, and this God is Love. If therefore one day the Jewish capital could become a city of freedom for all religions, substituting the present fear and hate with God’s universal principle of Love, humanity would have a much brighter future.
Several years ago, in honor of “Pax Medicalis”, an association of Jewish, Muslim and Christian doctors, I created the “Golden Olive” trophy, a prize awarded every year to personalities who have worked for peace between the three monotheistic religions. This trophy in white marble takes its inspiration from the Torah, which 3000 years ago laid down the fundamental principles which I am following in my “Conscience” work: : Kindness to the needy, benevolence, faith, compassion for the suffering, a shalom-/ peace-loving disposition, and a true and contrite spirit. This is the reason why I integrated this trophy into the Wall.
The Menorah in the center is the symbol of the nation of Israel, and its mission “To be a light unto the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). It is also the symbol for Halakhah, the teaching of ethics expressed for over 2000 years. With my Cloak of Conscience, depicted in the forefront of the painting, I want to remind all people of good faith of these principles, regardless of their religious or political conviction.
This is also the reason why I use a small reproduction of the Cloak in bronze as trophy for my annual “Chromy Awards”, an award for personalities who can rightly be considered a “Conscience of our time”. One of the first personalities to receive the Cloak Trophy was Elie Wiesel. He was honored in 2009 by Prince Albert II of Monaco with both the “Golden Olive Trophy” and the “Cloak”, the start of the Chromy Awards.
The phrase, “Next year in Jerusalem”, uttered at the end of every Passover Seder, refers to the future city and its temple, rebuilt when the Messiah comes. Maybe, one day “Next year at the Cloak” will be a rallying cry for all who have interiorized the principle of universal Love, based on our Conscience.