What if the Star of David Could Speak?
Jewish-American Artist Marc Bennett Brings The History of the Star of David to Life Through Art.
Jewish identity has been the subject of many artists’ work. Chagall used color and light to illuminate the journey of the Jewish people through the ages. Nevelson’s sculptural homage paid an emotional tribute to the six million Holocaust victims. Today, visual artist and filmmaker Marc Bennett continues this tradition by asking the question, “What if the Star of David could speak?” Bennett created The History of the Star of David artwork to serve as a time capsule that invites us to discover the centuries-long evolution of Judaism’s iconic star. A symbol that bore witness to the depths and heights of Jewish culture over thousands of years. "The History of the Star of David speaks volumes for the Jewish nation. Bennett, has created a profound and colorful artistic vehicle to educate children, as well as adults, about Jewish history, culture and identity through the evolution of the Magen David, one of the most recognizable, yet least understood symbols on the planet," remarks Nurit Greenger, executive director, Western Civilization Heritage, Israel Program Center.
Bennett’s collage traces the evolution of the Star of David, from its first known use through its most recent appearance on the flag of the State of Israel. The History of the Star of David artwork features 18 Star of David images meticulously selected for their historical significance and story-telling. One of the earliest known uses of the Star of David is a decorative stone carving from the synagogue in Capernaum, found near the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The ruins of this building are among the oldest synagogues in the world and at the time the Star of David was not an exclusively Jewish symbol. The third star pictured in Bennett’s work highlights Theodor Herzl’s role in the formation of the Jewish nation. He is considered to have been the father of modern political Zionism and promoted Jewish migration to Israel in an effort to form a Jewish state.
The seventh star pictured in the collage marks the beginning of one of the darkest chapters in Jewish history. This image shows a detail of the chuppa stone (wedding stone) from a beautiful baroque synagogue built in 1726 in Altenkunstadt, Germany. For more than 200 years this synagogue was the cultural center of the Jewish municipality until “Kristallnacht” (Night of Broken Glass, November 1938) when a series of coordinated attacks, carried out by the Nazi party left Jewish homes, schools, and businesses in ruins. In 1988, the wedding stone of the Altenkunstadt synagogue was replaced, funded by the local community, with the hope of keeping the memory of Jewish culture alive. The last image depicted shows the Israeli flag flying proudly during the Six-Day War in 1967. Here we witness the true birth of a symbol as we see the same six-pointed star that was once used as a sign of exclusion, humiliation and murder becoming a symbol of national rebirth, unity and the essence of Jewish history and cultural pride.
Bennett originally created The History of the Star of David artwork as a gift donated in conjunction with congregants Judi and Alan Altman to Rabbi Mendel Mintz to mark the opening of The Aspen Jewish Community Center. As the artwork was being installed several members of the JCC became intrigued with the imagery and began asking about it. Rabbi Mintz quickly realized, that Bennett’s art could be used as a teaching tool to educate his community on the long and storied history of the Jewish people. This led to the artist conducting talks, which captivated both children and adults by illuminating their shared history. "The History of the Star of David brings to life our rich history, triumphs, and struggles, as well as our promising and vibrant future. It evokes a sense of survival and determination, as well as a celebration of Jewish culture, tradition and faith,” recalls Rabbi Mintz. Since then, Bennett’s artwork has created something of a movement, inspiring many notable Jewish centers to invite him to share his artwork with their followers. A number of prestigious institutions have acquired pieces from Bennett’s series including: Yad Vashem, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Sinai Temple Los Angeles, the Aspen Jewish Community Center, the Jona Goldrich Center for Digital Storytelling at USC Shoah Foundation - The Institute for Visual History and Education, Soroka Medical Center, and others.
In the spirit of tzedakah (charitable giving) Marc Bennett has joined forces with Soroka Medical Center, Israel’s most strategic hospital. Located in Be’er Sheva, Soroka provides state-of-the-art medical care for the Negev’s 1.2 million residents living in Israel’s most diverse region. The hospital treats people from all walks of life regardless of income, race, religion, or politics. Through this collaboration, 10 percent of all History of the Star of David art sales worldwide will be donated to Soroka in perpetuity. "This is a significant opportunity for Soroka Medical Center that will support our life-saving mission. The artwork’s intrinsic optimism for the future reflects Soroka’s current strategic role for the State of Israel, enabling the transformative development of the Negev region," remarks Dr. Shlomi Codish Director General for Soroka Medical Center. Limited edition prints signed by the artist make an unforgettable gift for weddings, anniversaries, High Holy Days, and Hanukkah. Aside from being a wonderful compliment to any décor, these limited edition prints pay tribute to the deep history and pride of the Jewish people, while providing funds to support Soroka’s life-saving work. Bennett’s beautifully finished ready to hang metal prints and paper prints are available in various sizes perfect for the home, office, or institution and are available for purchase at www.StarofDavidArt.com.
Marc Bennett’s The History of the Star of David is an artwork that is immediately engaging, drawing the viewer into its world on many levels. "Bennett's artwork combines the pop sensibility of Andy Warhol with the mythological references and bold colors of Marc Chagall," remarks Arthur Chabon architect for The Aspen Jewish Community Center. Bennett’s careful selection and juxtaposition of the images of the Star of David establishes a stimulating narrative and visual rhythm. More than mere art, The History of the Star of David educates and inspires meaningful dialogue on the trails of the past, while challenging us to confront the issues Jews face globally at present. "The History of the Star of David transcends cultural barriers with its message of perseverance in overcoming adversity. I believe it will quickly become a cultural landmark that will uplift all who view it, serving as a beacon of life and hope," states Ambassador Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in New York. Bennett’s work evokes a sense of survival and determination, which is a message that is more relevant than ever.
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About the Artist
Marc Bennett is an artist and filmmaker born in Brooklyn, NY, now residing in Aspen, CO. Bennett’s artwork has been used in campaigns to fundraise and elevate awareness for numerous organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and the Museum of Tolerance. Bennett’s current directorial projects include; The Tattooed Torah, featuring Ed Asner’s voice narrating the renowned children’s book, and Ride for the Living, an inspirational story about the annual bike ride from Auschwitz to the JCC Krakow, Poland. Bennett is committed to using art and film as visual languages that entertain, educate, enlighten, and inspire positive change worldwide.
Learn more about The History of the Star of David and to purchase visit: www.StarofDavidArt.com
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