High Holy Days Journey with Amichai Lau-Lavie: 40 ways in 40 days to find your focus



One of the fun things about growing up religious and was that I got a lot opportunities to express my artistic side. There was Purim of course, with early attempts at drag, there were challah covers and succah decorations, and there was my annual shana tova greeting card factory. I used to make them by hand, weeks ahead of time. to family members and friends. There were early attempts at collage. Some of them still hang in my parent’s house.

The custom of sending Shana Tova cards is quite old, and quite lovely. After going through address books and blacklists and wish lists you take the time to make or buy or download cards and think of who to send them, add a personal message and send a wish for the New Year.

Online has made the instant send to groups of people much easier and more convenient but I think there’s still merit to the old ways – personalize, if only a few. Either way, day 24, getting closer, can you send a New Year wish to 6 people.


I have kept my shana tova factory going. Each year a new card. I’ve seen them on fridges still.


Here’s this year’s version – sent to you, albeit collectively, please take it personally:


5771: Sarah and Isaac/Shana Tova


And here’s info about this year’s card: Sarah and Isaac/iCON #1:


This year’s wish is ‘expect the unexpected’ and the image was inspired by a visit to the Prado Museum in Madrid, earlier this summer. There were a lot of Madonnas holding the baby. A LOT. And after spending some time looking at each one and how different they each were I got to thinking about how this primal and expansive symbolic image of mother holding son is so much more primal and expansive than the already fantastic religious dogma it supposedly portrays. Each artist created the same scene but told radically totally stories. I thought it would be interesting to imagine another version of mother and son, Old Testament icon series, #1:

Sarah, age 90, is holding her newborn son Yitzchak. Expect the Unexpected.

I partnered with the super talented artist adam courtney to create this collage. The baby, I knew had to be a very young Yizchak Rabin, and the mother, Arabic, anonymous. This is an icon of birth, but also a Pieta.

The handwriting in the background is a letter written by Freud to his daughter.

It’s about the impossible becoming possible – like a 90 year woman becoming finally pregnant, in a land that may see peace between the children of that woman and other women and other children.


Shana Tova. May peace prevail.




Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas as we move forward and, as always, you may find more information about our High Holy Day services by visiting,www.higholidays.com.TO SUBSCRIBE TO THIS DAILY EMAIL THROUGH YOU KIPPUR – just click: http://tinyurl.com/subscribeprepent

Day 23 9.1 SO SORRY