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Ellie Festival: Mosaic Magic facts by Rich Remenick

Mosaic is an art form that has thrived in many different cultures. Ancient Greeks and Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and the early Russian culture based in Kiev all had a hand in developing the form. Ancient Jews also joined in by creating their own mosaics.

One Jewish example of this art form is the magnificent Lod mosaic, which was discovered in 1996 by construction workers who were widening a street in the town of Lod, Israel. This find generated so much interest, that 30,000 people came to see it over one weekend when it was publicly displayed! The work then went on an international tour of eleven museums before coming home to the town of Lod, where it will be on permanent display in a museum structure built just for it. 

This largely intact mosaic covers a massive 1900 square feet and contains depictions of animals such as rhinos, giraffes, and fish as well as accurate images of Roman ships. Archaeologists consider this to be a testament to a thriving and wealthy Jewish community in the Galilee around 300 CE, a time and place in which it was thought that Jewish life was in decline!

Please come join us at BI at our 15th annual Ellie Festival with the theme of Mosaic Magic on February 10th. We will be able to see images of the Lod mosaic in a slide talk presented by Richard Remenick and we will construct our own mosaic under the guidance of Lisa Schachner. The result may not attract 30,000 people, but it will be a joyful way to celebrate our own thriving and vital community!  

Many kinds of materials have been used to make mosaics during the history of this art form. For instance, a mosaic found in an almost 5,000-year-old temple in Abra, Mesopotamia consists of pieces of colored stone, shells, and ivory.

Modern mosaic artisans have used those same materials as well as art glass, mirror, beads, doll parts, pearls and photographs. Really, a mosaic could be made of almost anything!

The theme of our 15th annual Ellie Festival will be “Mosaic Magic” and Lisa Schachner will be guiding us in the construction of our own mosaic.  If you want to create some mosaic magic yourself and find out what unusual materials we will be using, please join us on Sunday, February 10thin the BI sanctuary. Contact Reisa Mukamal at to rsvp and for more information.

Mon, April 15 2024 7 Nisan 5784