Saturday, December 15, 2012

Bey 7, From joyous transport to desponding woe.

A Woman Waiting in the Doorway, 1976 printed in 1979

Dawoud Bey, Harlem USA

When I began this series of posts, I wanted to celebrate a Chanuka gift, namely, Harlem USA. Peggy and I had seen this exhibit at the Art Institute. She bought me the book which includes twenty five photographs from Mr Bey's first exhibit at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Within the span of a week, I learned of the death of a young woman, Elana Ernst Silverstein in our community. She was 29. On Friday, came the shocking news about the murders in Newtown, Connecticut.

George Frideric Handel wrote the music for  Judas Maccabeus, an oratorio, in 3 acts about events of 170-160 BCE that make up the spine of the Chanuka story. In act 2, the war against the Seleucid Empire has taken a turn for the worse. An Israelite woman sings and the chorus repeats:

"Ah! wretched, wretched Israel! fall'n, how low,
From joyous transport to desponding woe.


There are no answers to the human condition. Sometimes we experience so much joy that we are moved to tears. Other times, the tears are bitter and wrenching.

We wait in the doorway. Between joy and woe.  Angry. Suspicious. Hurt. Fearful. In shadows and in light.







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