Jerusalem Rebuilt: A Daydream

Boris Schatz


Artist Novel
Materials: ink, paper

Literary synopsis

Less than a week before the British captured Jerusalem in December of 1918, Schatz was expelled from the city by Turkish authorities and forced to flee to the Galilee. During his nearly two years of exile, Schatz penned a utopian novella entitled Jerusalem Rebuilt.

The story begins on the roof of the iconic Bezalel building where Schatz suddenly finds himself transported a century into the future, to the Jerusalem of 2018, and face to face with Bezalel ben Uri, the biblical artisan and namesake of the school. In Ze'ev Raban's famous drawing for the cover of Schatz's book, Bezalel ben Uri can be seen casually leaning on the menorah that adorns the school's roof, designed by Raban to parallel the menorah of the biblical Bezalel. Schatz's vision of the future draws on an eclectic mix of socialist ideals, science fiction, and traditional Jewish beliefs. Euthanasia, free love, and communal ownership of property stand alongside moving sidewalks, solar energy, and a rebuilt Third Temple. The most striking element of Jerusalem Rebuilt can be found in the future Schatz envisioned for Bezalel. In the Land of Israel in 2018, Schatz imagined that thirty percent of a population of ten million people would be employed in hundreds of Bezalel branches and cooperative artists' associations, and that art would be the nation's principal industry.

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