15727 NE 4th Street • Bellevue, WA 98008 • (425) 603-9677

Wall of Connections (2002)

These twelve panels that adorn our wall are the result of a congregational effort to express our personal and communal aspirations. They serve as a confirmation and reminder of what is possible when we work together toward a common goal. Inspired by the women of Sisterhood, this project began as an effort to simply add a piece of artwork to our physical space. It grew into a process of visioning, creation and community building . . . a multiple piece artwork made by and for our congregation.

Wall of Connections (2002)
Artists – Nancy Katz – Berkeley, California
and the women, men, and children of Temple B’nai Torah

Internationally known Judaic artist, Nancy Katz, led us in the effort to create the twelve panels. Over a five day period in March, 2002, Nancy met with a variety of leadership groups of TBT. Beginning with a Sisterhood Retreat and then continuing with Brotherhood, the faculty of our Beit Midrash, our Temple Board, Clergy, senior staff, High School students, and Project Kehillah, and an ongoing Temple focus group, Nancy guided congregants through a process of reflection, sharing, laughter, and tears. In each session, participants were challenged to communicate in words and images what the Star of David meant to them. A short exercise highlighted the issues and feelings that arise in communal art making. Finally, words were identified that were most reflective of our community and our Jewish values.

Nancy then returned to her studio with the expressions of our community and created the outlined designs for twelve silk panels, each portraying a central value of our community through a Hebrew word and symbols. Each panel could stand alone, but was designed to work in sets of four, and as one large ensemble. If one looks closely, the entire collection could be displayed as a large Torah scroll.
Throughout the day on May 5, 2002, over 300 congregants came to our social hall, individually and in groups, and with the guidance of Nancy and the “veteran” Sisterhood women, we brought our “Wall of Connections” to life by painting the silk in vibrant colors ourselves. It was truly a multi-generational experience, and those who participated that day can point out their contribution and share memories of the day. For those who were not able to participate, the artwork serves as a starting point of understanding what our community stands for . . . what we as a community strive for.

Funded through a generous donation by Irl & Ruth Hirsch, in memory of Gloria Simon Hirsch
and by the Sisterhood of Temple B’nai Torah