Heaven On Earth: Judaism | 25mins
Director: STEPHEN ROOKE | Producer: STEPHEN ROOKE
Focus Years: 2004 | Country: Ireland
Presenter Christy Kenneally begins his journey in Rome, where a triumphal arch is dedicated to Titus, the man who destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, the greatest example of Jewish art and architecture and the most sacred site in the Jewish world. Yet it is here in Rome where Christy finds the glorious Temple Israelitico, built in 1904, almost 2000 years after the Jews were paraded as slaves behind Titus's chariot. Temple Israelitico is a sumptuous example of Italian/Jewish architecture.
Christy next journeys to the Cordoba Synagogue in Cordoba, Spain - a humble building, nestled within the walls of the Juderia within sight of the Great Mosque that symbolized tolerance under Islam. In Budapest, Christy visits the Great Synagogue on Dohany Street, with its onion domes - an eastern orchid in the heart of Europe. Christy reveals the tragic history of the Jews of Budapest and the Holocaust where their magnificent house of worship became a prison for thousands, a clearing house for Auschwitz and the other camps. Only when democracy returned to Hungary in 1991 was Dohany Street restored. But for many it had turned into a place of disillusionment and death, they turned their faces West and the new exodus took them to America.
Christy's final destination is Temple Emanu-El, the world's largest synagogue. It sits among the skyscrapers on Fifth Avenue, flanking Central Park in New York City. Christy finds Temple Emanu-el to be a statement in stone. See for the first time ever on television the glorious painted ceiling of the synagogue. Temple Emanu-el stands as a witness to those Jews who came to America and were able to live as both Jews and Americans. The Jews bequest to the civilized world, Christy finds, is not in their art and architecture but in the meaning they fashioned from their suffering. In this, they have made their mark as a light to the conscience of the world.