From the series “Tikkun Olam”
For the past three years, I have been photographing abandoned synagogues in Central and Eastern Europe. Many hidden away in small towns that no longer have a Jewish population to care for them. These buildings are mostly in disrepair, and along with the generation of survivors and soldiers from WWII, are fading from the world. According to the Foundation for Jewish Heritage*; there were approximately 17,000 active synagogues in Europe before World War II. Only 3,318 still stand and of those, just 718 are places of worship.
Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) is the philosophy behind this series. My intent is three-fold: I want to document these beautiful, sad buildings, make the statement that genocide did not end with the Holocaust, and underscore that we are forgetting where the devastating effects of intolerance can lead. To intensify my message that these places of worship had congregations who were killed off so successfully that no one remains to care for them, I printed onto rice paper to accentuate their fragility, and framed them with barbed wire. I plan to create a traveling exhibit, to share the past and help protect the future.