2015, Photographic lithography prints, 8 1/2' by 12'
Milada Hönigová, personal No. Dm 4772 and her mother Zdeňka Hönigová, personal No. Dm 4771, perished in Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943, September, 6 after their deportation from Terezin, Czechoslovakia.This past summer, I was able to travel with my sister to the Czech Republic and to Theresienstadt, Terezin transit camp, where my relatives Zdeňka and Milada Hönigová were contained before they perished in Auschwitz shortly after. My experience there inspired me to continue my exploration of the visible and invisible architectonic boundaries that define human existence.
Recently, I was able to travel to NYC, Crown Heights, where my sister lives, and where I was able to spend time within the Hasidic communities. I hadn’t intended to focus on the Hasidic communities in particular, but as I learned more of the Orthodox Jewish communities in relation to other ethnic groups in Crown Heights, I was drawn to re visit them several times. The first time I went I was able to interview several people, one of which, by the name of Misha Knight, a Jew from Moscow, Russia who has been living in Crown Heights for 45 years and practices Tzedakah (the Jewish word for Charity) outside of the Orthodox Jewish Synagogue.
The Jewish community extends south past the border of Crown Heights at Empire Boulevard, but the center of the community surrounds the metro station on Kingston Ave and Eastern Parkway. There is seemingly more conflict in Crown Heights in the areas where boundaries are less defined, such as the areas that surround Atlantic Ave and Utica Ave, and seemingly less conflict where boundaries are definitive, such as the areas that surround Washington Ave. Within the Hasidic community that surrounds the centrally located metro station, conflict is also not a problem. “There is a clash of who is using public space and why, but this is mostly along Utica Ave and not locally within our community…” says Misha, “On the contrary, this is one of the safest areas in all of NYC.”
The metro station at Kingston Avenue and Eastern Parkway, centrally located within the Hasidic community of Crown Heights, is seemingly responsible, at least partially, for the inclusivity of the Hasidic community. They do not designate their community apart from the rest of Crown Heights, and on the contrary, many Orthodox Jews commute to other parts of NYC, such as the Lower East Side, on a daily basis. The prints capture the essence of my experiences outside the Orthodox Jewish Synagogue on Kingston ave and Eastern Parkway.