Thursday, July 17, 2008

Giving Back with a Gift of Art...

This weekend I was able to repay a dear teacher and friend of mine with a gift of my art. Rabbi Lisa Edwards of Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC) in Los Angeles was my first teacher as I explored my faith and my Judaism. My family was not religious when I was growing up and as I went out on my own I began searching for my roots and my beliefs.

9x12 Canvas - acrylic and mixed vintage media - June 13, 2008 Marriage

When I moved to Los Angeles I signed up for a women's journal writing class that was being taught at BCC. It was in class sitting in that synagogue that I found myself wanting to learn more about Judaism. There was a wonderful woman in the class named Tracy Moore and we became friends. She suggested that I take the Judaism 101 class from Rabbi Lisa Edwards (who happened to be her partner). I took the class and that began my journey to learn more about my faith.

Rabbi Lisa Edwards

Although I do not belong to this congregation, Rabbi Lisa still remains a spiritual advisor and friend. So it was with great joy that we all greeted the news on June 16, 2008 that the California courts overturned the ban on Gay/Lesbian Marriage and it was now legal. In 1995, I attended the Jewish wedding of Lisa and Tracy. With about 300 people in attendance, including Lisa's parents and family, her brother (also a Rabbi) and another local Rabbi married them. But it was not a legal wedding in the eyes of the secular world. Now with the ruling overturned, Lisa and Tracy, together in a monogamous relationship since 1985, could finally legally be married under the eyes of California law. And so last Sunday they signed the papers legalizing their marriage in front of a large group of friends.

Rabbi Lisa Edwards & Tracy Moore

I found out about the signing on Thursday evening when I saw them at a film festival. I immediately went home and searched for something I had been saving - and not knowing why - for thirteen years since their wedding. It was two Origami paper cranes that each guest was given at the wedding. There is a Japanese legend that if you make 1000 paper cranes, you will have good health, happiness and peace. For some reason, I saved those two paper cranes over the years, often pinning them to my bulletin board over my desk. Whenever I tried to throw them out, something stopped me and I just saved them. Now I knew why. I took those two paper cranes from Tracy and Lisa's wedding and created this art piece to give to them on Sunday when they were finally recognized as a legally married couple. And so I was finally able to give back and thank them for all that they have given to me over the years.

Close up of 13 year old paper cranes from 1995 Jewish wedding

Love is love. And they are the most loving couple I know. They were thrilled as they opened my gift and even more thrilled when they realized that the two cranes were incorporated in the piece. Tracy and Lisa - may you grow old together in love and happiness and may G-d continue to bless you in your lives.

Close ups of marriage gift of art

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