Entering the Garden

Great News

Entering the Garden: A Spiritual Tent has found a home in The Arthur and Mata Jaffe Collection of Florida Atlantic University Library

Piece Details

Entering the Garden: A Spiritual Tent

Entering the Garden: A Spiritual Tent
(larger image)

Entering the Garden: A Spiritual Tent

Entering the Garden: A Spiritual Tent
(larger image)

Artist Statement

This tent was one of ten pieces I produced for the exhibition “I Was There, I Am Here: The Illumination of a Soul”. The exhibit was held in February of 1994 at the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh. The exhibit went on to four other exhibition locations and the tent, itself, went beyond those to three additional venues.

I made this piece over the summer of 1992, a point when I was feeling a sense of confusion. For the first time, I found myself forming a personal relationship with God. In the tent, you can feel your personal spirit. This is very exciting. During the construction, I was exploring this feeling.

At the same time I was developing these quality spiritual feelings, I was being bombarded by a traditional religious base that did not allow for my womanly perspective. Men told me how I should behave, how I should pray, how and what rituals I should perform. The rationale for which mitzvot women are required or excused from performing is based on the idea that women are innately different and therefore have different spiritual needs than men.

If women were an equal part of the decision making body, our views would be incorporated and there would be more personal experiences like this tent in our religion. Initially, I prohibited men from the tent to exclude them from my spiritual experience just as I felt excluded from their power-oriented decision-making process.

In 2000, “Entering the Garden” was an enclosed space where any person, male or female, can be alone with in the holiness of self. I altered the original door that said, “Women only, please enter one by one” to “Please enter one by one” and added the interior panels of sheer voile fabric and detachable ribbons.

In “Entering the Garden” I was exploring the feminine aspect of God called Shekhinah. Shekhinah is the indwelling presence of God; the nurturing aspect of God; the functional aspect of God that our senses interact with; therefore the most accessible aspect of God.

Exhibition History

October, 1992
Annual Exhibition of the FiberArts Guild of Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh Center for the Arts; Pittsburgh
February, 1994
“I was There, I am Here: The Illumination of a Soul”; Jewish Community Center; Pittsburgh
August, 1994
“I was There, I am Here: The Illumination of a Soul”; University of Indiana Art Gallery, Bloomington
Summer, 1996
“I was There, I am Here: The Illumination of a Soul”; Mizel Museum of Judaica; Denver
November, 1996
“I was There, I am Here: The Illumination of a Soul”; Janice Charach Epstein Museum; West Bloomfield, Michigan
January, 1997
“I was There, I am Here: The Illumination of a Soul”; Leo Yassenoff Jewish Community Center; Columbus
March/April, 2000
“Altaring Consciousness: Meditative Spaces Honoring the Sacred Feminine”; Chatham College, Pittsburgh
June, 2007
“Tina Rieger Memorial Quilt Exhibition”; Jewish Community Center Museum Gallery; Pittsburgh