Z’ev Wolf Meir’s, Der Hare
Artist: Chris Van Allsburg
When Forgotten Judaica was conceived, we needed a scholarly resource to steer us in
the right direction regarding appropriate Jewish context and imagery. Scholar and Rabbi, Wayne Franklin, the beloved senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Providence, Rhode Island, always made time in his busy schedule to sit down with me and review ideas
for the collection. Rabbi Franklin was my teacher, frequently citing text in the Torah or Mishna, which led us to symbols or visuals for Mezuzah covers, a Besamim box or Yadayim (Torah Pointers).
During a casual conversation about mezuzah covers, I wondered if a leaping rabbit
would be an acceptable symbol. Wayne led me straight to the shelf in the synagogue’s prestigious library that housed the Moss Haggadah, designed and illuminated by David Moss. The Haggadah is the Jewish text that presents the order of the Passover Seder and tells of the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt, as described in the Torah. The Moss version depicts the Passover story from ancient times through the 1940s, with visuals connecting the Exodus from Egypt to the Holocaust experience.
A rabbit appears on one page in the Moss text in several depictions in the claws of various eagles representing oppressors of Jews – except in the last one where the rabbit escapes and survives. The Rabbit is the agile one, the one who can go under barbed wire or squeeze through a narrow passageway. The Rabbit is the Jew who escapes, who survives. The visual of the rabbit (the Hare) was so potent that my husband set out to sculpt the animal that evening. Titling this Mezuzah cover was easy — there was no more fitting a name than its muse, Rabbi Wayne Franklin. Thus, with thanks and appreciation to Rabbi Wayne, Der Hare Mezuzah cover is presented in our collection, with Rabbi Franklin’s Hebrew name affixed to it: “Z’ev Wolf Meir’s, Der Hare.”
All items are enclosed in 100% boiled wool keeps. A gift box with a sterling silver FJ button and gift card are included.
“As the breath of the craftsman, so the shape of the vessel.”