DO NOT DESTROY
TREES, ART & JEWISH THOUGHT
CJM - CONTEMPORARY JEWISH MUSEUM
Currently, until September 9.
A beautiful, thoughtful and moving art exhibition!
From the very first chapters of the Torah where one encounters them in the Garden of Eden, to the commandment Bal Tashchit (do not destroy) found in Deuteronomy forbidding their wanton destruction during wartime, trees occupy a particularly potent and symbolic place in Jewish literature and lore as expressions of paradise, regeneration, shelter, the bounty of the earth, longevity, and even as a precursor to the coming of the Messiah.
A new three-part exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM), Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought, explores the role of the tree in Jewish tradition and beyond through the lens of contemporary artists, offering fresh perspectives on ritual practice and our connection to the natural world.
“While we were inspired to create this exhibition by the particular significance of trees in Judaism, especially now as global environmental concerns have begun to impact contemporary Jewish practice, the tree is a universally potent symbol in many cultures and religions,” says curator Dara Solomon. “Taken together, these exhibitions are an opportunity for everyone to commune with trees through video, photography, sculpture and painting – to be awed by their scale, their longevity, and their ability to encourage deeper thinking about history, the environment, and our place in it. We invite the public to consider the ancient dictum of Do Not Destroy, a commandment to not only protect trees but to dream of a better world.”
What definitely impressed us:
The exhibition starts with such a sweet, beautiful, moving surprise thanks to the talent of Zadok Ben David and his Blackfield. We won’t tell you anything about it so that you can enjoy the pleasure of discovering it on your own. Just one thing to know...When you arrive, start turning around on the left of the art piece, counter clockwise. Don’t hesitate to knee down to get a better view. You can’t help but smiling looking at it.
We cried with the tribute to Ann Frank, her tree, her hopes, her philosophy of life.
We loved the trunk, like a vessel for prayers and messages to the divine. Even one not supposed to be a believer will be tempted to leave a message.
We learned a lot about trees, their symbols, how God encouraged men not to damage neither destroy them, because nobody will come and repair after them! The more vibrant message about the environment and our part in it. We learned about jewish traditions, about the trees planted in Israel, about the different steps in the calendar according to the nature pace.
We loved the books: The giving tree by Shel Silverstein is definitely the book to read with your child. And the Lorax is another one (book or movie, up to you).
In the end, the fact that the exhibition goes beyond the walls of the Museum is another good surprise, especially with the Wish Tree by Yoko Ono, on the front esplanade, encouraging people to hang their own wishes, hopes, messages and deep thoughts.
It is a great spiritual experience with a strong link to reality especially through all the environment considerations
Kids are more than welcome. We experienced the visit with them. Once there, they would not want to leave!
Contemporary Jewish Museum
Do not destroy: Trees, Art & Jewish Thought
Until September 9.