The Future of Art in a Digital Age:
From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness
A Sukkah at the BMW Museum
My students at the college I headed in the Negev desert helped me tie four mega-tzitzit from ship rope and paint one strand skywater blue. We stuffed these 30-foot long tzitzit in four specially made canvas bags to be flown to Germany by Lufthansa. They would hang from the corners of a giant habitable talit [prayer shawl] on the street in front of the BMW Museum in Munich. It would be my art installation for the third international “Sky Art Exhibition.”
Since my wife’s entire extended family from Holland were murdered by the Germans, I was reluctant to accept an invitation to participate in an exhibition in the city in which Hitler got his start and at a museum across the road from the Olympic Village where 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Arab terrorists nearly 30 years before 9/11. However, reading the article on Munich in Encyclopedia Judaica changed my mind. The enthusiastic support of Munich’s citizens for Hilter was no new phenomenon.
"In the second half of the 13th century Munich appears to have had a sizable Jewish community; the Jews lived in their own quarter and possessed a synagogue, ritual bath, and a hospital. On October 12, 1285, in the wake of a blood libel, 180 Jews who had sought refuge in the synagogue were burnt to death.”
The anti-Semitic nightmare continued. Munich’s Jews were murdered as scapegoats for plague in 1348, and all the Jews were expelled from Bavaria for the next three centuries in 1442. To harass the Jews during the 18th century, the Munich authorities made it illegal to build a sukkah, the traditional hut built for one week each year as a reminder of the Israelites’ desert dwellings during their exodus from Egypt.