Friday, August 20, 2010

Carly Silver on Dura Europos and her Jewish heritage

CARLY SILVER meditates in New Voices on Dura Europos and her Jewish heritage. Excerpt:
When I did research for Archaeology, a different image presented itself. The hustle and bustle of a mid-size Syrian town called Dura-Europos glimmered distantly in the heat haze of time, thousands of years removed, but still tangible through its well-preserved ruins. It contained one of the earliest synagogues ever found outside of Israel. Its paintings were largely intact, showing images that must have reminded each patron that walked through its doors of the richly decorated temple. Bright colors of the wall paintings shone softly in the dim light, the reds and golds of a biblical narrative in one shining off a young man’s close-cropped dark hair. The familiar melodies came to mind as the service began, sweetly melancholy notes floating like specks of gold dust on the air from one mouth to another.

These images are part projection of my imagination—especially the ancient ones—part second-hand remembrance from years gone by from a loved one. Both jobs mentally took me places I’d never been before—from my great-grandparents’ wedding, infused with the hope of the newlyweds to an ancient synagogue, breathing in the warm desert air while murmuring prayers taught to us by our fathers. No matter what job I take, my Jewish heritage, fictional imagery or not, will be with me.
Background here.