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The Schmooze

How a Jewish Artist Created One of the Best Places To Observe Lent

Apparently it is Lent and has been since February 10th. In The Guardian’s somewhat belated move to honor this period – or, perhaps, a “we’re nearly there, don’t lose your focus” bit of motivation – this past weekend that paper’s “Christianity” section published an intercontinental list of spaces, holy for various reasons, likely to inspire to spiritual contemplation. Sneaking onto the list at number 8, attached to New Harmony, Indiana’s MacLeod Barn Abbey, is New York-based Jewish artist Tobi Kahn’s sculpture “Shalev.”

“‘Shalev’ frames the landscape, and indeed creation, as a gift,” Aaron Rosen wrote in the Guardian’s piece. “Viewed from different angles, its protean form seems to shift, promising transformation.”

“Shalev,” the title of which combines the Hebrew words for peace (“sha”) and heart (“lev”), was installed in 1993. Placed next to the Wabash River, it consists of a 12-foot-high rectangular arch in rose granite framing an ambiguously featured human form in bronze. When the river annually floods, the sculpture appears to rise out of the water. With the advent of spring, no matter your religion, it makes for a striking, spiritually resonant image indeed.

Talya Zax is the Forward’s culture intern. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter, @TalyaZax.

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