Israel Mural Project Brings Community Together Via Art

The Reutlinger Community mural project began as a suggestion by community President and CEO Jay Zimmer after the new cafe wall was constructed.

After much consideration, Betty Rothaus, director of the art program, decided to make it a community project resulting in a cohesive work of fine art with a dedicated group of residents and family members. They would work on the design and painting of the mural with guidance provided by Rothaus.
Tthey began in April 2018 with a call for volunteers followed by a discussion on the imagery. The group decided to focus on Israel. As the group formed, we began looking at slides photographed and presented by Rothaus to the community following a spiritual pilgrimage to Israel in May 2017.

With the slides chosen, they began a sketch, and then made a detailed drawing to scale in 3 layers: line for placement of images, darks and lights and last, color. The decisions of what and how to portray the places were discussed by the entire group while being drawn by Rothaus.

They decided on a panorama of various places that moved through a 24-hour light cycle. With a plan completed in August of 2018, they scaled the drawing and the wall, and Rothaus transferred the line drawing to the wall. Each week, the artists painted, building layers of paint over time until the images emerged.

The wall begins on the left at sunrise overlooking Jerusalem and its walls and moves toward a 2,000- year-old olive grove. The featured tree provides a central theme: Hinai HaMakom Iti- Behold! The Holy Place Within!

In the background one moves to the Galilee farmland and its Sea of Galilee with towns such as Tiberius at sunset. As dusk descends, the viewer climbs a staircase to Sfat and sees nightfall with the Sephirot as its constellation; enters the Negev at night and finally at dawn, returns to Jerusalem and the Western Wall. The end of the mural dissolves into light.

Though they began with a slightly larger group for the discussions and selections, the dedicated artists who committed to coming nearly all the Sundays include residents Evelyn Ostreicher and Jean Jones, their daughters Lynn Jones and Sharon Ostreicher, and Susan Friedman whose mom Rhoda Wasserman passed away during the year.

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