Esther-Daddy Day

This evening the Jewish festival of Purim starts, celebrating the Persian Queen Esther who saved the Jewish people from genocide some 2500 years ago. My parents gave my siblings and me names from the Hebrew bible (old testament). So, my brothers and sisters are called: Rachel, David, Daniel (in fairness, Daniel wasn’t named by my parents; he came to our family age 11 and fit right in, name and all!), Joel, Rebecca and Jonathan. And then there’s me, Esther, named after Queen Esther herself! Hence also the title of this blog – I am named after the biblical queen in The Book of Esther and books tells stories, which in a way I do here as well, sharing stories and experiences in my life.

My parents always enjoyed giving me Queen Esther themed gifts. Many of them I don’t have anymore, or are scattered throughout the house and I don’t know where they are, but I do have two paintings still hanging on my walls here. One of the them, called “The town of  Queen Esther” was painted/printed by an acquaintance my parents had many years ago…

Queen Esther 2

It’s not my fave painting ever, but I like it enough to keep on my staircase wall.

A second piece of art I own hangs in my living room and was once given to me by my parents. It’s an absolutely fascinating ink drawing they got me when we were all visiting the artistic town of Tzfat (Safed) once in the north of Israel…

Queen Esther 1

If you look closely you’ll see that the figure of Esther and the pillars next to her are made up of tiny Hebrew lettering. We were told that the whole text of the Book of Esther is worked into this ink drawing! I just love this. This drawing is not only connected to my name and that bible story, it is also forever connected to my parents who picked it out for me. I can still see myself standing outside this artist’s atelier together with my parents, deciding on this particular work of art.

Tomorrow is not only Purim, the festival of Esther, but is also the second anniversary of the passing of my father. I am happy to have such mementoes as this one that keep me connected to him. So, as this evening/tomorrow is the happy festival of Purim as well as a day during which I commemorate my dad, I am dubbing March 12th, 2017 “Esther-Daddy Day”!

According to Jewish custom you say “May his memory be for a blessing!” and I can honestly say that although I will miss him forever, my father’s memory truly is a blessing. For tomorrow I wish for my family and myself to be filled with not only sad but also many happy memories and in Yiddish I wish to those who celebrate (my Jewish brother and sister among them) “A freilichen Purim”!


A special gift

Fact #1: My mother paints as a hobby, these last few years she’s been doing watercolors (but never signs them – she thinks nothing she paints is good enough to sign).

Fact #2: Two months ago I took my mother to see The Crucible in the cinema and she loved it, she wanted to dedicate a painting to it.

Fact #3: Last week was my birthday…

… and this was the gift I received from her!

IMG_0651 w c

Done after this Richard Armitage / Anna Madeley image that I love so very much:


Thank you, mama!!

So… a piece of art…

I had mentioned I would write something about a piece of art… and then the George Deek speech and Richard Armitage intervened. But, the art thing is not forgotten… I have a favourite piece that I would like to share and that piece is “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt.

My favourite art period is pretty much mid 19th – 20th century art and this was painted at the beginning of the 20th century. I like the intimacy and the love this image exudes and the brightness of the lovers in a less bright world. The gold brightness of love overshadows the dark. The man adores this woman and this woman is so content to be in his arms… They are lying down … or are they standing? Are they on a precipice? It doesn’t matter, all that matters is that they are together, caught in their own bubble.

Why is this, of all paintings, my favourite? It’s hard to say… it somehow developed that way. The first picture ever taken of me and my new boyfriend at the time (and now my husband) has him embracing me in a similar way with my head and body angled against him. When that picture was developed (in the days before digital cameras) and I first saw it printed, it immediately reminded me of this Gustav Klimt painting. We hadn’t consciously posed like that and it’s not exactly a replica position, but I could see the similarities. Maybe I love this painting because it is now linked to the love for my husband? My parents once gave us this little statue modelled after the couple in this painting, knowing how much I love it. And in our living room we have this huge reproduction of the painting. So yes, anyone can see the affection for this painting in our house.

I have yet to see the real thing in Vienna. One day… one day I will…