YOM HASHOAH MAGEN DAVID CANDELABRA
In the collection of the Jewish Museum, Berlin, Germany
Queensland Blackwood Veneer over Hardwood, Aluminium
The Hebrew name Magen David, literally means Shield of David, acknowledging, in Jewish belief, David’s role as an agent of, and his being subject to the authority and protection of, God. I.e. the third blessing after the Haftorah reading on Shabbat: “Blessed are you God, Shield of David”.
The Star of David is the footprint of this work. As well as the religious, social and memorial traditions it carries, it is also geometrically (mathematically) powerful and may well be one of very few genuinely universal human symbols.
In recent times, the six-candle candelabra has been mooted as a manifestation of ‘new Judaica’, a symbol of the Shoah. The work overtly bridges the Jewish-German tradition - albeit via the enormity of the Shoah consciousness – with a living future. So in keeping with the mission of the Jewish Museum of Australia, for an exhibition at which the piece was designed - that of fostering the continued development of a contemporary, Australian version of Jewish culture - the work embodies a strong element of hope, and of going forward.
Australian Judaism is largely inherited from the Ashkenazim, themselves descended from the medieval Jewish communities of the Rhineland - "Ashkenaz" being the Medieval Hebrew name for Germany - hence the choice of Yiddish for the Bible text, which is enjoying a literary revival after falling into disgrace after WWII: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29.11.