Annual Holocaust Remembrance Day
A Golem For Berlin
Artwork and Lecture by Joshua Abarbanel
7 p.m. | Tuesday, April 23, 2019
William H. Hannon Library: VDA Family Suite 3rd Floor
Loyola Marymount University
In Jewish folklore, the golem is an inanimate creature brought to life by ritual incantations and sequences of Hebrew letters. In most tales the golem is conjured by a human and becomes a helper, companion, or rescuer of an imperiled Jewish community (when Berlin’s Weissensee Jewish Cemetery was spared destruction during the Holocaust, some said it was because a golem resided on its grounds). Often the creature runs amok and becomes a threat.
For generations, the golem has inspired artists, writers, filmmakers, and scholars who have been intrigued by the tale’s metaphors about creativity, hubris, the potency of words, and the conundrums of power. In 2015, artist Joshua Abarbanel was commissioned by the Jewish Museum Berlin to create a large-scale golem sculpture for their 2016 exhibition Golem. Abarbanel’s dramatic sculpture of a golem in repose is composed of thousands of wooden letters and was a centerpiece of the exhibition. Mr. Abarbanel will speak about the creation of this work, how it relates to his oeuvre, and what it was like to bring this legendary protector of Jews into the heart of Berlin.
A scale model of the larger sculpture will be on display in the Library’s 3rd floor atrium beginning in April and can be viewed before and after the event.