In 2020, during some of the darkest months of the pandemic, when people still couldn't congregate, and in person worship wasn't possible, I was invited by my synagogue, Temple Emanuel, in San Francisco to create a site-specific projection for Chanukah, the jewish festival of light! Using, for me, the novel technology of gobo projection I created an image projection exploring some of San Francisco’s historic Jews who have been involved with the temple over the past 170 years.
The installation consists of two projectors rotating four slides each. Some of the key people in Emanu-El’s history are represented, including prominent Jewish families, Emperor Norton, Rabbi Elkan Cohn (1860-1889) and Julie Rosewald, considered America’s first female cantor though unordained. The Emanu-El website provides background for those who would like to know more about these historical figures.The projection occured during the 8 nights of Chanukah and continued throughout December.
Congregation Emanu-El, founded in 1850, is one of the two oldest congregations in California. Its current Byzantine revival building, on Lake and Arguello streets, was completed in 1926 and features soaring exterior walls suitable for projections.
An innovative art project by multimedia storyteller and Emanu-El member, Ben Wood will be projected on Emanu-El’s façade from during December 2020 and reprised during Chanukah in 2021 . This large-scale light installation re-animates details of our local, Jewish history, by interweaving holiday and archival images. You are invited to drive or stroll past our building on Arguello, after sundown, to celebrate and bask in the miracle of the Festival of Lights! A special thank you to Judi Leff for lending her expertise and research to make this historic project possible.
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