Fire Escape Mizrachim (L.E.S.)

Paper, ink, acetate, inkjet images.

Mizrachim are ceremonial folk art objects, hanging on the east wall of Jewish homes to the west of Jerusalem, indicating the way to pray. Traditional paper-cutting from Eastern Europe was a folk art form used in making mizrachim as well as amulets, ketubot, (marriage contracts), and more. In both the religious and occult tradition the paper-cuts from the Jewish world represent protection, celebration & hope. Made and displayed in the home, they have a connection to domestic life, family, and tradition, things Jewish (and other) immigrants no doubt hoped to protect and nurture in their transition to America. The protective acetate sheets housing the paper-cuts in this piece are printed with images of the Jewish Lower East Side, including Yonah Shimmel’s Knish shop and the now-departed Streits Matzo Factory.