Blessing for the home. Artist: Avraham Schiff. Laser Paper-cut
size 17" x 11.8" (43 x 30 cm)
At the top of the work we find the inscription "Mizrach" (Orient) known to us from paper-cuts that adorned the eastern wall, facing Jerusalem, in synagogues and private homes in Europe. The Hebrew and English prayers were formulated from elements of ancient sayings. Lions, deer and birds are frequent motifs in traditional Jewish paper-cuts; here they decorate the two central inscriptions. The candelabrum, symbol of wisdom, hints at the verse in Proverbs 14 1: "Every wise woman builds her house". It stands to reason that the establishment of the common nest assumes wisdom and understanding. The pomegranates (in the upper corners and around the candelabrum), hint at a multitude of Mitzvot (=good deeds). The lower corners are adorned with fish, alluding to Jacob's blessing to Ephraim and Manassah - to multiply and be fruitful like fish.
Avraham Schiff, born in Israel in 1964 is a graduate of the External Study Program of the Technion (Tel Aviv Branch) in Graphic Design. He has been designing and cutting Jewish paper-cuts in neo-classical style for the past 18 years. As a Talmudic scholar (P.H.D. Bar-Ilan University, 2002) and teacher of Judaic subjects he is uniquely qualified and indeed does incorporate in his art works verses sayings and motifs from the Bible Talmudic Literature and the Midrash.