In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, devastation was everywhere. Roads were closed and power lines brought down by trees uprooted by the storm. While driving his children to school each morning in Morristown, N.J., Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Yitzchok Moully says he would look at the fallen trees, hoping that “some industrious craftsman or carpenter would create something beautiful and spiritually meaningful from the destitution.”
In addition to his work as youth director for Chabad-Lubavith of Basking Ridge, N.J., Moully is himself an accomplished artist and founder of Creative Soul, an organization for Jewish artists. One day the idea came to him to create an art installation that would give meaning to the destruction, and the first stage of that project will ready just in time for Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees, this Sunday, Jan. 27.
“I want to take the huge trees with their exposed roots and turn them on their heads,” says Moully, “making the roots face the sky, standing almost as tall as the original tree stood.” Through that image, he says, he is asking: “With nature — Sandy — creating such havoc in our lives, where is the opportunity for our rebirth and regrowth?”
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