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Weekly Morning Minyan (Sept 1) 8:00 am
Weekly Morning Minyan (Sept 1)
Sep 1 @ 8:00 am – 8:15 am
We are offering a weekly morning minyan for our community to say kaddish together. Join our sacred ‘zoom room’ to be with each other and create space for memory. Click here to navigate to our … Continued
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One Shabbat Service – (9/3/2021) 6:00 pm
One Shabbat Service – (9/3/2021)
Sep 3 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Join us for In-Person Friday Night Shabbat Service this Friday, September 3rd, at 6:00 pm!Led by Rabbi Sarah Joselow Parris and Cantor Marsha Attie with a sermon by Rabbi Stephen Pearce in the Main Sanctuary.To … Continued
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Torah Study (with Rabbi Jonathan Singer – 9/4/2021) 9:15 am
Torah Study (with Rabbi Jonathan Singer – 9/4/2021)
Sep 4 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
Torah Study with Rabbi Jonathan Singer, followed by Mourner's Kaddish and Healing Prayer. To participate, click here.
Shabbat Morning Torah Hevra with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Torah Hevra with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
Sep 4 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
A Zoom seminar – " The Spiritual Teachings of the Sefat Emet".Text: The Language of Truth, trans. & ed. Arthur Green (Jewish Publication Society).Available in paperback on AmazonThe Sefat Emet is the pinnacle of Hasidic … Continued
Shabbat Morning Service – Isabella Greenberg (Meyer) 10:45 am
Shabbat Morning Service – Isabella Greenberg (Meyer)
Sep 4 @ 10:45 am – 12:15 pm
Join us for In-Person Shabbat Morning Service in our Martin Meyer Sanctuary along with one of our b'nei mitzvah celebrants! To best ensure we can provide a safe and sacred experience, please note the following: This service … Continued
Shabbat Morning Service – Laia Trachtenberg (Main) 11:30 am
Shabbat Morning Service – Laia Trachtenberg (Main)
Sep 4 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Join us for In-Person Shabbat Morning Service in our Main Sanctuary along with one of our b'nei mitzvah celebrants! To best ensure we can provide a safe and sacred experience, please note the following: All services will … Continued
Shabbat Morning Service – Portia Kadlecek (Main) 1:30 pm
Shabbat Morning Service – Portia Kadlecek (Main)
Sep 4 @ 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Join us for In-Person Shabbat Morning Service in our Main Sanctuary along with one of our b'nei mitzvah celebrants! To best ensure we can provide a safe and sacred experience, please note the following: This service will … Continued
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HHD 2021 – The Tribe for Men: Mikvah in the Ocean at Dawn 6:00 am
HHD 2021 – The Tribe for Men: Mikvah in the Ocean at Dawn
Sep 5 @ 6:00 am – 8:00 am
The High Holy Days are a time where we open ourselves up and look deep inside our souls to examine who we have been and who we want to be. Have we accomplished all we … Continued
HHD 2021 – Women’s Mikvah with Rabbi Mintz 8:30 am
HHD 2021 – Women’s Mikvah with Rabbi Mintz
Sep 5 @ 8:30 am – 9:30 am
The High Holy Days are a time where we open ourselves up and look deep inside our souls to examine who we have been and who we want to be. Have we accomplished all we … Continued
HHD 2021 – All Gender Mikvah with Rabbi Mintz & Cantor Attie 9:30 am
HHD 2021 – All Gender Mikvah with Rabbi Mintz & Cantor Attie
Sep 5 @ 9:30 am – 10:30 am
The High Holy Days are a time where we open ourselves up and look deep inside our souls to examine who we have been and who we want to be. Have we accomplished all we … Continued
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HHD 2021 – Erev Rosh HaShanah Service 1 (9/6/2021) 6:00 pm
HHD 2021 – Erev Rosh HaShanah Service 1 (9/6/2021)
Sep 6 @ 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm
Join us in-person for Opening The Gates: Erev Rosh HaShanah – Service 1 from 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm! We will combine the grandeur and majesty of the Early (classic) Service, with the warmth and … Continued
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HHD 2021 – Apples & Honey: Rosh HaShanah Service (Children) 10:00 am
HHD 2021 – Apples & Honey: Rosh HaShanah Service (Children)
Sep 7 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Join Rabbi Sarah Joselow Parris and Jonathan Bayer for outdoor children's services and activities from 10:00 am – 11:00 am at Presidio Wall (Julius Kahn park)! Stop by for a bit or stay a while with a blanket … Continued
HHD 2021 – Rosh HaShanah Morning Service 1 (9/7/2021) 10:00 am
HHD 2021 – Rosh HaShanah Morning Service 1 (9/7/2021)
Sep 7 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Join us in-person for Opening The Gates: Rosh HaShanah Morning Service 1 – from 10:00 am – 11:30 am! We will combine the grandeur and majesty of the Early (classic) Service, with the warmth and … Continued
HHD 2021 – Return Again: Teen Led Rosh HaShanah Service 2:30 pm
HHD 2021 – Return Again: Teen Led Rosh HaShanah Service
Sep 7 @ 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Community Service led by our teens who will lead us in song, worship, poetry and prose. Led by Cantor Attie and musical accompanists. *This service will be in person for members, as well as livestreamed for … Continued
HHD 2021 – ZOOM Learning Session with Rabbi Sarah Parris 2:30 pm
HHD 2021 – ZOOM Learning Session with Rabbi Sarah Parris
Sep 7 @ 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
New Year, New Me: Judaism’s Take on Renewal and New Beginnings The Mishnah teaches us that there are four new years and that Rosh Hashanah is but one of them. As we enter the 10 … Continued
HHD 2021 – Tashlich: Letting Go Together – Service & Concert 5:30 pm
HHD 2021 – Tashlich: Letting Go Together – Service & Concert
Sep 7 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
After a year of isolation, we can finally all come together in a safe outdoor event with our cantors and musicians in joyous song and Rosh HaShanah celebration. As instructed by the Prophet Micah, we'll … Continued
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HHD 2021 – Rosh HaShanah Second Day Service (9/8/2021) 10:00 am
HHD 2021 – Rosh HaShanah Second Day Service (9/8/2021)
Sep 8 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Cantor Arik Luck and musicians, along with Rabbis Jonathan Singer and Ryan Bauer, will lead a full-length, eclectic traditional style Reform Rosh HaShanah service. Sermon by Rabbinic Intern, Leo Fuchs. The music will draw upon … Continued
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One Shabbat Service – (9/10/2021) 6:00 pm
One Shabbat Service – (9/10/2021)
Sep 10 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Join us for In-Person Friday Night Shabbat Service this Friday, September 10th, at 6:00 pm!Led by Rabbi Sarah Joselow Parris and Cantor Arik Luck with a sermon by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner in the Main Sanctuary.To … Continued
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Torah Study (with Rabbi Jonathan Singer – 9/11/2021) 9:15 am
Torah Study (with Rabbi Jonathan Singer – 9/11/2021)
Sep 11 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
Torah Study with Rabbi Jonathan Singer, followed by Mourner's Kaddish and Healing Prayer. To participate, click here.
Shabbat Morning Torah Hevra with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Torah Hevra with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
Sep 11 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
A Zoom seminar – " The Spiritual Teachings of the Sefat Emet".Text: The Language of Truth, trans. & ed. Arthur Green (Jewish Publication Society).Available in paperback on AmazonThe Sefat Emet is the pinnacle of Hasidic … Continued
Shabbat Morning Service – Nate Vachal (Meyer) 10:45 am
Shabbat Morning Service – Nate Vachal (Meyer)
Sep 11 @ 10:45 am – 12:15 pm
Join us for In-Person Shabbat Morning Service in our Martin Meyer Sanctuary along with one of our b'nei mitzvah celebrants! To best ensure we can provide a safe and sacred experience, please note the following: This service … Continued
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HHD 2021 – Kol Nidre Service 1 (9/15/2021) 6:00 pm
HHD 2021 – Kol Nidre Service 1 (9/15/2021)
Sep 15 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Join us in-person for Opening The Gates: Kol Nidre – Service 1 from 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm! We will combine the grandeur and majesty of the Early (classic) Service, with the warmth and intimacy … Continued
HHD 2021 – Kol Nidre Service 2 (9/15/2021) 8:15 pm
HHD 2021 – Kol Nidre Service 2 (9/15/2021)
Sep 15 @ 8:15 pm – 9:45 pm
Join us in-person for Opening The Gates: Kol Nidre Service 2 – from 8:15 pm – 9:45 pm! We will combine the grandeur and majesty of the Early (classic) Service, with the warmth and intimacy … Continued
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HHD 2021 – Apples & Honey: Yom Kippur Service (Children) 10:00 am
HHD 2021 – Apples & Honey: Yom Kippur Service (Children)
Sep 16 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Join Rabbi Sarah Joselow Parris and Jonathan Bayer for outdoor childrens' services and activities from 10:00 am – 11:00 am at Presidio Wall Park (Julius Kahn park)! Stop by for a bit or stay a … Continued
HHD 2021 – Yom Kippur Day Service 1 (9/16/2021) 10:00 am
HHD 2021 – Yom Kippur Day Service 1 (9/16/2021)
Sep 16 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Join us in-person for Opening The Gates: Yom Kippur Day Service 1 – from 10:00 am – 11:30 am! We will combine the grandeur and majesty of the Early (classic) Service, with the warmth and … Continued
HHD 2021 – Learning Session with Rabbi Pearce 12:00 pm
HHD 2021 – Learning Session with Rabbi Pearce
Sep 16 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Learning Session with Taube Scholar and Senior Rabbi Emeritus Stephen Pearce, Ph.D THAT REMINDS ME OF A JOKEWell-placed humor has enormous impact because it reveals hidden truths, as Shakespeare wrote in King Lear: “Jesters do oft … Continued
HHD 2021 – Learning Session with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner 1:30 pm
HHD 2021 – Learning Session with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
Sep 16 @ 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Learning Session with Emanu-El Scholar, Rabbi Lawrence KushnerYom Kippur Day“The ONLY thing God ever says: 'Come Home’: A re-examination of some of the classical texts on the importance and meaning of Teshuva."*This virtual event will be held … Continued
HHD 2021 – Meditation and Healing in the Redwoods 1:30 pm
HHD 2021 – Meditation and Healing in the Redwoods
Sep 16 @ 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Meditation and Healing in the Redwoods Meet at the front gate of the Temple to walk to the Redwoods together.Join Rabbi Sydney Mintz, Rabbi Beth Singer, and our musicians as we journey together from the Temple … Continued
HHD 2021 – Translating Our Values Into Action 1:30 pm
HHD 2021 – Translating Our Values Into Action
Sep 16 @ 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Translating Our Values Into Action: A Yom Kippur Tzedek Council Program For Members Join us this Yom Kippur to renew our commitment in transforming our world from how it is to how it ought to … Continued
HHD 2021 – Return Again: Teen Led Yom Kippur Service 3:00 pm
HHD 2021 – Return Again: Teen Led Yom Kippur Service
Sep 16 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
A one-hour community Service led by our teens who will lead us in song, worship, poetry and prose. Led by Cantor Attie and musical accompanists. *This service will be in person for members, as well as … Continued
HHD 2021 – Meditational Azkarah Service 4:30 pm
HHD 2021 – Meditational Azkarah Service
Sep 16 @ 4:30 pm – 5:15 pm
We take a meditative, musical journey through the Jewish past as we seek inspiration to push open the gates of a new year of meaning.*This service will be in person, outside in the courtyard, for … Continued
HHD 2021 – YIZKOR NEILAH HAVDALLAH (9/16/2021) 5:30 pm
HHD 2021 – YIZKOR NEILAH HAVDALLAH (9/16/2021)
Sep 16 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Join us in-person for YIZKOR NEILAH HAVDALLAH on September 16, 2021 at 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm! Led by Rabbi Ryan Bauer along with all Emanu-El Clergy. Sermon by Rabbi Sydney Mintz.*This service will be … Continued
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One Shabbat with Naomi Tucker of Shalom Bayit – (9/17/2021) 6:00 pm
One Shabbat with Naomi Tucker of Shalom Bayit – (9/17/2021)
Sep 17 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Join us this Friday, September 17, at 6:00 pm in the Main Sanctuary for In-Person Friday Night Shabbat Service, featuring a special guest speaker!Led by our clergy and featuring Executive Director of Shalom Bayit, Naomi … Continued
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Torah Study (with Rabbi Sarah Joselow Parris – 9/18/2021) 9:15 am
Torah Study (with Rabbi Sarah Joselow Parris – 9/18/2021)
Sep 18 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
Torah Study with Rabbi Sarah Joselow Parris, followed by Mourner's Kaddish and Healing Prayer. To participate, click here.
Shabbat Morning Torah Hevra with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Torah Hevra with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
Sep 18 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
A Zoom seminar – " The Spiritual Teachings of the Sefat Emet".Text: The Language of Truth, trans. & ed. Arthur Green (Jewish Publication Society).Available in paperback on AmazonThe Sefat Emet is the pinnacle of Hasidic … Continued
Shabbat Morning Service – Steven Weinstein (Meyer) 10:45 am
Shabbat Morning Service – Steven Weinstein (Meyer)
Sep 18 @ 10:45 am – 12:15 pm
Join us for In-Person Shabbat Morning Service in our Martin Meyer Sanctuary along with one of our b'nei mitzvah celebrants! To best ensure we can provide a safe and sacred experience, please note the following: This service … Continued
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Community Sukkot Celebration and Artist Talk by Shimon Attie 6:30 pm
Community Sukkot Celebration and Artist Talk by Shimon Attie
Sep 20 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Community Sukkot Celebration and Here Not Here: An Artist Talk by Shimon AttieExperience the joy of Sukkot with your community. The evening will include a presentation by the internationally renowned artist, Shimon Attie (and twin … Continued
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Sukkot Festival Service 9:30 am
Sukkot Festival Service
Sep 21 @ 9:30 am – 10:30 am
Join us on the first morning of Sukkot for the festival service in our courtyard sukkah, led by Rabbi Jonathan Singer and infused with beautiful music by Cantor Luck.EMANU-EL'S COVID POLICYCongregation Emanu-El continues to strive … Continued
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Weekly Morning Minyan (Sept 22) 8:00 am
Weekly Morning Minyan (Sept 22)
Sep 22 @ 8:00 am – 8:15 am
We are offering a weekly morning minyan for our community to say kaddish together. Join our sacred ‘zoom room’ to be with each other and create space for memory. Click here to navigate to our … Continued
Tzedek Council Sukkot Gathering and Program Launch 5:30 pm
Tzedek Council Sukkot Gathering and Program Launch
Sep 22 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
As we end the High Holy Days, and reflect on opportunities for repairing our world, you may ask yourself, “What's next?” Join us on Sukkot to learn about the social justice opportunities that Tzedek Council has … Continued
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Men’s Group Happy Hour Under the Sukkah 5:30 pm
Men’s Group Happy Hour Under the Sukkah
Sep 23 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Men of Congregation Emanu-El have a monthly opportunity to socialize and study with Senior Rabbi Jonathan and fellow congregants. This group provides a small group experience so important to building community. This Sukkot, on September … Continued
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One Shabbat – Sukkot Festival Service (9/24/2021) 6:00 pm
One Shabbat – Sukkot Festival Service (9/24/2021)
Sep 24 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Join us in community as we move outdoors for a special Shabbat service in our courtyard sukkah. The evening will be a spiritual celebration of the holiday, with beautiful music and the shaking of the … Continued
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Torah Study (with Rabbi Jonathan Singer – 9/25/2021) 9:15 am
Torah Study (with Rabbi Jonathan Singer – 9/25/2021)
Sep 25 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
Torah Study with Rabbi Jonathan Singer, followed by Mourner's Kaddish and Healing Prayer. To participate, click here.
Shabbat Morning Torah Hevra with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Torah Hevra with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
Sep 25 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
A Zoom seminar – " The Spiritual Teachings of the Sefat Emet".Text: The Language of Truth, trans. & ed. Arthur Green (Jewish Publication Society).Available in paperback on AmazonThe Sefat Emet is the pinnacle of Hasidic … Continued
Shabbat Morning Service – Sebastian Vermut (Main) 10:30 am
Shabbat Morning Service – Sebastian Vermut (Main)
Sep 25 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Join us for In-Person Shabbat Morning Service in our Main Sanctuary along with one of our b'nei mitzvah celebrants! To best ensure we can provide a safe and sacred experience, please note the following: This service will … Continued
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Women of Emanu-El Sukkot Garden Tour 11:00 am
Women of Emanu-El Sukkot Garden Tour
Sep 26 @ 11:00 am – 1:30 pm
Help us kick off a newly re-envisioned group at Emanu-El – WOMEN OF EMANU-EL, created for women-identified members of all ages, to join together to strengthen the voice of women in our community and help … Continued
Young Adult Sukkot Hike 12:30 pm
Young Adult Sukkot Hike
Sep 26 @ 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Bay Area 20s & 30s are invited to join YALCers Becca and Aaron for a hike and Sukkot celebration! We'll bring the Lulav and Etrog. Just bring yourself, comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and a bottle of … Continued
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Yizkor Memorial Service 4:30 pm
Yizkor Memorial Service
Sep 27 @ 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Join us in the courtyard for a Yizkor (Remembrance) Memorial Service, which is recited on the eighth day of Sukkot (Shemini Atzeret). It is said by every person who has lost a parent or other … Continued
Simchat Torah Parade and Celebration 5:30 pm
Simchat Torah Parade and Celebration
Sep 27 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Rejoice with us as we mark the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle! We will meet at the staircase at 8th Ave. and Lake St … Continued
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Weekly Morning Minyan (Sept 29) 8:00 am
Weekly Morning Minyan (Sept 29)
Sep 29 @ 8:00 am – 8:15 am
We are offering a weekly morning minyan for our community to say kaddish together. Join our sacred ‘zoom room’ to be with each other and create space for memory. Click here to navigate to our … Continued
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Full Interview with Artist Shimon Attie

In anticipation of Shimon Attie’s powerful program during our holiest time of the year, Heidi Sanders, Emanu-El’s Senior Manager of Engagement, sat down for a conversation with the artist. Read below for our full, unabridged interview with Shimon Attie.

Read SF/Arts coverage of Night Watch here.

Heidi: Your new installation, Night Watch, explores the urgent issues around political asylum. Past projects of yours have explored themes of identity, loss, displacement, and collective trauma. All of these experiences have parallels in the history that has helped shape and animate contemporary Jewish life and identity today as well. How have Jewish identity, culture, traditions, and history informed your career and creative practice?  

Shimon: Well, a lot of that comes from how one is raised, and there are a million different ways that people can define what it means to be Jewish. In our family, being Jewish was synonymous with being progressive and fighting for social justice, and fighting for the less fortunate among us. Being Jewish was inseparable from tikkun olam. In that sense, it’s had a huge influence on my values and the issues that I care about, which drive the art projects that I make. I think there’s also the issue of Jews themselves having been marginalized and persecuted over the millennia, that shapes one’s sensibility, and no doubt shaped my parents and their way of thinking. But it wasn’t confined to just the Jewish community, it was more about shared common humanity among everyone and every community. So, that’s my own personal answer. I can’t defend it intellectually, but that would be the way in which my Jewish identity intersects with my overall artistic sensibility.  
 
When I lived in Europe for six years, and then later a seventh year, Jewish history came to the forefront of my work in terms of the content, not all the time, but in many of my projects. Because I was living in Germany, and so, that’s where I was creating works that focused on Jewish communities–and some other groups– that had disappeared, that had been erased, which was the specific content of my work during those years, less so after I left Germany. In fact, one of the many reasons that I finally left, was because I knew that I would never be able to take my finger off the point if I stayed in Germany, and I wanted to grow as an artist in other ways. So, I left. 

Heidi: Looking at the imagery that still exists from the Berlin-based project [The Writing on the Wall, 1991-92] in which you re-animated the old Jewish neighborhoods, it’s incredibly haunting, and, as you said, it directly expresses what you’ve discussed in terms of Jewish values and the imprint that was left on you as an individual. 

Shimon: Right, I’ll just add one thing: the way that project came about, I moved to Berlin right after I got my MFA at San Francisco State… I didn’t know the city, this is shortly after the wall came down, and I was walking the streets of this one particular neighborhood. I knew nothing about the neighborhood, I didn’t even know what it was called, I didn’t know anything about its history. I kept being drawn back, over and over again, to this neighborhood, and there was some strange, strong feeling I had that I couldn’t label. And then I found out it was actually the neighborhood serving East Berlin’s main former Jewish neighborhood, and most of the residents were deported to death camps. These were not middle- or upper-middle class German Jews. These were Russian and Polish, poor Jewish immigrants, who didn’t have the means, let’s say, to immigrate, and so they were deported. The project grew out of this discrepancy between what I felt but what I could not see. There weren’t really visible signs of that history. If you looked really close, sometimes you’d see peeling layers on some wallpaper or something. Basically, you couldn’t see the traces, but I felt it. That project grew out of that discrepancy, trying to give visual form to what I felt but couldn’t see. 

Heidi: If art is able to sort of articulate where language fails, then certainly, the artist needs to be, you know, tapping into all of these invisible cues or energies or however they want to define it.  

Shimon: Yes, absolutely. 

Heidi: Night Watch will run concurrently to the High Holy Days, which is traditionally a time for deep introspection. In your opinion, what is the role of art in this larger engagement of reflecting and repairing ourselves, our communities, and our world?   

Shimon: It’s kind of a central question, and I think that artists, we’re not educators, per se, we’re not politicians, per se, we’re not necessarily even activists political activists, per se, but of course, many are both. My point is that art has something, a special language to reach people that’s different than transmitting information. It’s not about teaching someone something or elucidating them. It’s about–this is just my opinion–offering a way of experiencing some familiar, even old, subject matter in new ways. It’s transmitting the opportunity for a new kind of experience. And then from that more effective experiential place, things can shuffle around a bit, and there might be a fresh re-examination or reconsideration of our prior assumptions, and maybe we come to new understandings and new feelings. The point is that it’s an experiential: it’s through the senses, and the body and the eyes and of course the ears and the skin and everything. That’s the way in, as opposed to something that’s more didactic or information-based: “I’m going to teach you about”, “I’m going to make you more aware of blank.” As opposed to, if we’re successful, maybe I might give you an experience of wonderment: what are these 20-foot-wide faces that are just staring at me? They don’t tell me who they are in an obvious way. The expressions are a bit emotionally restrained. There are so many different opinions and positions on this, but for me, successful art does require a kind of poetry. And that’s what I aim for, [my work] might be inspired by certain kinds of content and subject matter that I care about, but ultimately, I’m trying to create a good work of art. Something that’s visually arresting, something that gives us a sense of wonderment. And that is a felt, lived experience.  

Heidi: It’s a beautiful answer. The last question I have for you is, thinking a little more about the themes of the High Holy Days, when we are able to welcome you on September 20th, we’ll be in the midst of Sukkot, and there is a focus on welcoming those who might not reside within our specific community, as well as homelessness and transience. These are all issues that San Francisco struggles with greatly at this moment in time. What do you hope that viewers take away from the experience of seeing your work in San Francisco? 

Shimon: It’s a very good question. I always struggle with questions like that because there’s always the danger of art becoming too instrumental. I don’t have a goal…some artists might approach it like that, but I think that’s kind of a trap and a little dangerous, in a certain way. I’m very mindful of, and humble about what art can and cannot do. You know, art is very powerful. We know that, otherwise there wouldn’t be all these controversies about artworks that offend some segment of the population, etc.  
 
First of all, I would like people to have a powerful aesthetic experience of their encounters with these individuals [Attie’s video subjects]. They’re looking at us, we look at them: we often think about how we see the other, or how we see the refugee or the asylee, but they’re also looking at us. How do they see us, what is their sense of how welcoming or rejecting we are? I hope that people will be moved and be given pause, and have some wonderment. But it’s not like what pops out at the end of that is a genie that comes out and then, the Bay Area lets in 25,000 more refugees in the next 12 months. That’s not the way that things work, but obviously we are all trying to, or most of us anyway, are trying to make a better world through the different tools and avenues that we have, so clearly my hope on that level is that there’ll be a greater sense of empathy and compassion for people who are less fortunate than ourselves. 

Heidi: I’m struck by this sense of wanting to carve out a moment of wonder in time for people just to take a pause. It’s so easy to automatically move through time and by creating this moment, we can stop, take a collective breath, look at these faces, as you say, and consider what our own response reaction is. That, in and of itself, is such a powerful act to do, particularly around the High Holy Days. 

Shimon: And the piece of the artwork is deliberately very slow. [The subjects] slowly walk towards the camera and then they just look for about 30 seconds, before cutting to black, and onto the next person. So, there are moments of pause, reflection, and flow pacing. One last thing I’ll add, is that the reason why I film the individuals, both in Night Watch and in several of my other pieces… poker face, emotionally restrained, is because we think, as the viewer, that we know how they feel. And we don’t. And they have a right to remain opaque and a right to their own interiority. So, I deliberately don’t deliver the emotional goods. And that throws it back to the viewer to struggle with their own on projections, in a certain way. And, of course, that applies to me as well.  

Interview conducted on July 23 2021. This interview is featured on page six of the September Chronicle.

UPCOMING EVENTS

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