Reclaiming Sacred Space through Art

This past May, a group of Northwest School sophomores painted a mural to cover up the hateful vandalism that scarred the temple wall of Temple de Hirsch Sinai on Capitol Hill.

"It is one thing to just paint over the graffiti," says Zoe. T. '19, one of the students who worked on the mural. "It is another thing to reclaim that space, and drive to towards the goal of unity and love."

Students led the process of creating the mural from beginning to end. They submitted proposals, including rough sketches of their proposed mural and a written accompaniment describing the intention behind the work to Rabbi Daniel Weiner. The students agreed as a class on a mural which, in the end, incorporated elements of multiple proposed ideas.

"Our entire community is incredibly moved, inspired, and grateful," said Rabbi Weiner, whose son Benjamin is a Northwest School student. "All of the proposals you shared were not only visually stunning, but the prose that went with them captured the larger vision of how we want to rededicate this sacred space."

Sophomores Zoe T., Riley W., Mia H., and Flora M. devoted nearly sixteen hours to finish the painting, although there is still a little more work to do. To finish the project, Zoe will install a planter box with wildflowers to compliment the mural’s forest imagery.

The temple is planning a rededication of the space in August 2017.