For me an object is something living. This cigarette or this box of matches contains a secret life much more intense than that of certain human beings.–Joan Miro
Several months ago, I had the privilege of touring the Vilna Shul in the Beacon Hill section of Boston. Once inside its doors, the visitor steps back in time to the late 1800’s when immigrants from Vilna, Lithuania created a sacred space, which reflected the refined artistic sensibilities and frugality of their homelands. Decorations, created by the congregants, are simple, such as this pastel mural. Skylights illuminate the temple and provide warmth in the winter at no added cost.
The aura given out by a person or object is as much a part of them as their flesh.
For decades, the temple was the locus of the Jewish community in the West End of Boston, where thousands of families worshiped, celebrated births and marriages and cried when loved ones died. I could almost see the congregants murmuring prayers and chatting in the pews. The worn and faded wooden benches are testaments to their devotion.
Abandoned for decades, the building is tattered and in need of repair. In this photo, an original light fixture is highlighted against a peeling wall fresco. In recent years, Jewish community activists have re-opened the shul’s doors, and have undertaken an ambitious restoration project. The temple now houses an education center, conducts tours, and offers space for worshipers to gather.
I came to the temple to do research for my next novel, but this serene and tattered place ended up capturing my imagination. Our docent, Mark Nystedt, spent over an hour with us, sharing his knowledge of the temple and Boston history. For more information or to plan a visit, click on The Vilna Shul link. If you go, let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
For more visual inspiration on this week’s theme, click on the links below:
- Weekly Photo Challenge: An Object in Italy | melanielynngriffin
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Object | Sued51’s Blog
- WPC: A derelict object on the beach | anotherdayinparadise
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Object | lcsoup’s walk today
- Weekly Photo Challenge: object | Giulia Bernini photography
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Object | Tiffany Metzger
- OBJECT: I’m 26, going on 15. | The Uncustomary Housewife
- The Object of our Fascination | The Retiring Sort
- Objets d’Art | The Red and the Blue
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Object | The Fountain
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Object #2(?) | The Amateur Camera
- DAILYPOST WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: Object – fathersunny
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Object | nancy merrill photography
- WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Object | Hangin’ Out With God
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Object | Holoholo Girls
- #WPC: Object | celoteh .:tt:.
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Object | Jelly for Breakfast
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Object | A Thoughtful Paper
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Object | HeartBound
- Weekly Photography Challenge: Object | sukies original
- Winter Dreams | vic briggs
- Weekly Photo Challenge : Object | Retirement and beyond
- Object (WPC) | Eye of Lynx
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Object | Change Is Hard