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October 04, 2002 - Image 105

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Left to right:
"Delicious
Temptation," 2000,
oil on wood. Block
begins his work by
translating the
message of the
mystic, such as
Meister Eckhart,
a 13th-century
Christian, into
a series of ink
meditations.

gallery and these times. "Our hope is
that visitors to the gallery will reflect on
the fact that we are all one people in
these three religions and we need to
communicate and come to some
understandings," she said.
Block will be present at an artist's
reception noon-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6.
This is the first time he has shown
his work in the metro Detroit- area
(Block had a small show at Michigan
State University's Kresge Museum last
year), but his hope is to touch our
community in an ongoing way.
"Detroit is like a blank canvas," he
said. "There's so much vast space where
we could create storefront studios and
create a thriving artists community. I've
actually sent a proposal to the Michigan
State Arts Council, the City of Detroit
and the Center for Art and Public
Policy at Wayne State University."
It's all part of a greater, missionfor-,
Block — one that puts differences aside
and brings communities together. ❑

"Cousins" runs thrdiligh Jan. 25,
2003, at Swords Inth Plowshares
Peace Center and Gallery, 33 E.
Adams, Detroit. Paipter Tom
Block will appear at:'. a public
reception for his current exhibit
noon-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, at
the gallery. He will give a gallery
talk at 1 p.m. and at 3 p.m. No
charge. Gallery ho 4s are 11
a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesda, Thursdays
and Saturdays. (313) 965-5422.

"Praying in the
Field," 1999,
acrylic,. ink, collage
on canvas. The
artist uses recurring
abstract forms to
celebrate the joy
of mystical prayer.

A Mystical Entanglement

The Jewish gift to Islamic mysticism.

TOM BLOCK

Special to the Jewish News

Iff

y friend David, who recently moved to the
United States from Israel, said he was looking
forward to living in a place where the stones
didn't ooze history.
"It will be so nice," he said, while still living in Tel Aviv,
"to live in a country where the earth itself doesn't moan about
past injustices and ancient hatreds."
Indeed, so much of the current horror in the Holy Land is
predicated on memory — the memory of 2,000 years of wan-
dering; the memory of a bloody war for independence; the
mempty,,pf injustices;, fresh and. Ion& past. li.,,, ,,:.,.:..:-.!-,,, ::-._ - -
But butted; in this rubble of historical enmity between
Muslim aiidlew are fragments taken from another story:
the virtuatly:unknown tale of Muslim mystics turning to
their Jewik
•,! cousins for help in building their own spiritu-
al system.:.
In this tale, Jews and Muslims took tea together, studied
collectiveliand used Jewish mysticism to create Sufism, or
the spirituil core of Islam.
In a relaFionship that has so little current context for peace-
ful coexistence, this particular account can provide an impor-
tant lesson: :in the potential for Palestinians and Jews to live
side by side.
Mysticistn defines the most hallowed ground of any religion
— the plac-e where prophets, seers and religious leaders oper-

Artist Tom; Block in the
studio: "Siifism drew
unabashedly from Jewish
sources, and Jews
themselves, threading
a particukrly Jewish
sensibility into the
burgeoning Muslim
mystical firce."

MYsTicALENTAN94my,NT on page .74,

10/4
2002

73

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