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Friday, 16 November, 2012 - 2:58 pm

A work of art which has been created over the last two years by a Jewish local artist is going to be dedicated tomorrow at Chabad Family Shul. This piece is the first of three, which will be much more than a decoration to our Shul. 

As you may know, traditional Jewish law calls for the separation of the sexes during prayer in the Synagogue. This is done mainly to minimize distractions and contribute to a praying experience devoted entirely to G-d. In between the two sections there is a "Mechitza" - a partition separating between men and women.

Over the last two years, Naomi Spiers, an accomplished artist from Salt Spring Island, designed a Mechitzah, which is a stunning piece of art. Frankly I believe it is the nicest Mechitzahs ever created.

Naomi and her husband Reuven OBM came four years ago to Chabad Family Shul to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. Later I learned that on that day Naomi had already decided to contribute her great talents to glorify our little Shul.

A year after I met this wonderful couple, Reuven was diagnosed with a critical illness, shortly afterwards he passed on. Naomi didn’t let the grief dominate her life and decided to start this project immediately as a commemoration for her beloved Reuven.

After the unveiling of the stone in Reuven's resting place, Naomi started to translate her inspiration into action. It was only then that I realized the magnificence of her work. When I met her to see the Mechitzah’s development, she told me that Reuven is on our side making sure that she is doing it right… Although I have seen her work in its earlier stages, when Naomi brought the first panel yesterday to the Shul, I was truly overwhelmed by the amazing outcome.

Reuven himself was a talented artist. Years ago when Reuven and Naomi lived in Israel, he built beautiful furniture for the local synagogue. When Reuven passed away, I called their Rabbi in Tzfat. “Do you remember Reuven?” I asked. "How can I forget Reuven?! He left a beautiful mark on our synagogue with his golden hands; he did the most incredible work, not expecting anything in return".

When I heard these words I realized why Naomi put in so much into making the "Mechitza" in his memory. It became clear to me why Reuven has come to help Naomi with volunteering her skills…

You are invited to join us tomorrow to see this amazing master piece. We’ll say l'chaim with Naomi and Reuven's brother Martin, who helped to complete the project; we'll remember Reuven's life and we'll celebrate the legacy that he left in Tzfat, and now in Victoria.

There is the timely message as well: the theme of this panel is “the Seven Fruits of Israel” – a symbol of the G-dly blessings to the Jewish homeland. On this Shabbat we will remind ourselves of the blessings of the Almighty to the people of Israel and the promise that “the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps”, and we'll pray for the peace and security of our brothers and sisters in Israel and in the world over. May it truly be a Shabbat Shalom!

Comments on: Dedication

Inna Smolov wrote...

I AM SURE THE MECHITZAH IS BEAUTIFUL. It will be a great adornment of our Shul.
Now, more then ever, we need to pray for Eretz Israel and the IDF , and may Hashem hears our prayers.

reisa schneider wrote...

Can you put me in touch with Naomi Spiers. I have lost touch with her since Reuven passed away and want to contact her.

Reisa Smiley Schneider
Gallery Director
Sidney and Gertrude Zack Gallery