A Jew Without A Beard Without a Jew

Copper Wool, Bronze Wool, Steel Wool

Titled off of a haskala (enlightenment) phrase “Better a Jew without a beard than a bard without a Jew,” this piece depicts the evaporation of traditional Eastern European Jewish life in the shtetlakh (towns) and cities of the Pale of Settlement in the 19th and 20th centuries. While the phrase refers to the haskala and the resultant secularization, it was not the fire of enlightenment but the fires of pogroms, krystallnacht and the crematoria of concentration and death camps that engulfed and consumed Eastern European Jewry.