A Lens to the Past, a Window to the Future


A Lens to the Past, a Window to the Future by Jess Daninhirsch

Artist’s Statement: This is a photo of the center of the new stained glass window in the Eldridge Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side of New York City. The synagogue was built in 1887. After 50 years of vibrant and active use, it was largely neglected and left to fall apart. In the 1980s, it was revitalized, and artists Kiki Smith and Deborah Gans designed a brand-new window to symbolize the life of the synagogue, a symbol of the life still among the Jewish people.
In this photo, you can see the lines of where the stained glass shards were put together, illustrating how much hardship Jews had to endure in the past. But the entire window is being held together by the bronze Star of David to show that Judaism is our foundation and will protect and guide us in the future. Standing in the synagogue, marveling at the beautiful windows, I felt years of history coursing through me. So many pieces of the original synagogue were preserved, but there are also huge modern elements. It truly made me excited to see what the future holds for the Jewish people. If it will be anything like this window, it is sure to be bright and beautiful.