What does being Jewish mean to you?

Jewish architect Daniel Libeskind, world famous designer of the Jewish museum in Berlin and San Francisco, is asked by Heeb magazine how Judaism affects his work:

I wanted to emphasize that Jewish culture is deeply rooted in the past but has always had an incredible horizon of freedom into the future. I wanted to create spaces that simultaneously connect you to history and reinvent history. That, to me, is part of Jewish tradition and I wanted to introduce that concept through not only the design but the use of the building, which is why there are spaces programmed for a multi-purpose room, education spaces, and event areas, not just galleries.

And I wanted it to be obvious that there is a Jewish sensibility to creating such a building.… All of it – from the small to the big, both in the design and the way the building operates – is symbolically and truly Jewish. That’s why the area for kids and families is at the center, the front desk welcomes you with both a literal and mystical understanding [lights create the word pardes on the lobby wall behind the front desk] and the museum is located in an urban context. I think all of those things make you think about and consider Jewish culture in America. It’s not merely an appliqué of Jewish truth, it’s an extension of many Jewish themes through architecture.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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