Nine towering faces. Who are they?
In a written response to Boiling Point questions, Rabbi Block explained how school officials chose which Jewish figures should be pictured in Solomon Souza's new murals.
May 3, 2023
Originally, as part of our attempt to revive the wonderful space in our basement so that we can use it to its fullest potential, we sought to make it more attractive and vibrant. Solomon, as an Israeli artist and someone with whom we have a long standing relationship, was primarily brought in to paint a mural of Israel leaders on the basement walls. David Ben Gurion, Chanah Senesh, Menachem Begin, and Golda Meir now beautifully and powerfully adorn that space.
During his visit, he also painted a Theodore Herzl (with his famous saying of Im Tirtzu) – both because of its inherent value in our Zionist school, and because we had to replace the outer gates in our parking lot that used to have that quote.
Leading up to our 3rd floor Beit Midrash, he painted some Torah personalities of the last generation that have profound impact on our general hashkafa and our Torah learning approach: Rav Yosef Soloveitchik, the most influential and leader and thinker of Modern Orthodoxy; Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook ,an extremely important voice for Torat Eretz Yisrael and for the true love of all Jews, or ahavat yisrael; Rabbi Ovadia Yosef the great Sephardic posek and halachist; and Morah Nechama Leibowitz, one of the most important Tanach thinkers, leaders and teachers, and someone who has profoundly impacted our learning and teaching methodology.
Each person also represents a different area of Torah:
R’Soloveitchik – machshavah/hashkafa (thought and world view) — and his methodology of Gemara B’iyun (Talmud study)
R’ Kook, kabbalah and mysticism
R’ Yosef – halacha (Jewish law)
Morah Nechama – Tanach (and pedagogy generally).