A Prayer for the State of Israel
By Roni Pinto
I was visiting my parents in Ashkelon about 15 min’ from Gaza strip with my small children during the conflict that erupted over the summer of 2014.
Instead of traveling around to visit the beautiful sites of Israel, we became intimately acquainted with the safety room for two straight weeks.
The experience made me feel like I was in a prison in my own country and the main question that arose from this experience was spiritually, why did this happen to us?
Are we united and in peace with each other? Are we praying to the divine for the safety of our country? Our soldiers? Can we acknowledge the power of prayer?
My answer came from prayer itself, The Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel. This a prayer is said in religious Zionist synagogues on Shabbat and Jewish holy days requesting divine providence for the State of Israel and its leaders.
From this prayer, read so intensely during times of war and times of peace alike, emerged a sense of need to create and inspire using the words many of us may have read, but perhaps do not sufficiently reflect upon.
Hence the concept for a new piece of art was born.
I tend to draw my inspiration from spirituality and use strong symbols of the Jewish people such as the dove, Jerusalem, Tallit and candles. I receive inspiration from the Torah and the Zohar and articulate this through watercolor, chalks, stencil pastel, Calligraphy markers and collage paper.
In this artwork, the dove represents the Shechina that protects our country with her wings. The houses of Jerusalem decorate the east side of the map and the words of “unity” and “Shalom” will remind us not to forget our purpose.
I believe that everyone should have a small reminder of the importance of our land and the importance of each and every individual's connection to her essence.
In creating this piece of art, I thought, what better way to foster individual Jewish identity, while being mindful of the values of our Jewish democratic state and her contribution to the world, than through a beautiful map of our beloved homeland illustrated through the words of the cherished Prayer for the State of Israel?
The works of Israeli-American artist Roni Pinto explore philosophical and religious themes through the use of the Hebrew letters. She incorporates different Kabbalistic names of God trough her calligraphy, oil paintings and art collages, lending more to the impression that she is working towards something spiritual and ancient.
Roni Pinto received a B.A in Art at Ben-Gurion University in Israel and also attended the Visual Art College. For the past ten years, parallel to her career as an artist, Roni has been teaching at a Jewish day school in New York. Roni's artwork has appeared in both Europe and New York.