HOLLY MARKHOFF

Justice Knows No Other, 2022

Justice knows No Other is in the permanent collection of the Bernard Heller Museum, NYC, and premiered during the Heller Museum's "Tzedek Boxed:Justice You Shall Pursue" January 19 – May 15, 2023 exhibit.

Justice Knows No Other (April, 2022), is an interactive Tzedek box based on the concept of the Tzedek Box Project created by HUC rabbinical student Andrew Kaplan Mandel. Justice Knows No Other communicates physically, symbolically, and spiritually to suggest that every single act of righteousness combines to be a consequential part of the process of achieving social justice.

Justice Knows No Other is made up of a rectangular wooden box base, a removable, sculptured lid resembling Jerusalem stone, metallic, latex and acrylic paints, varnish mediums, clear adhesive plastic sheets, wooden dowels, rice parchment paper, red silk string, and repurposed pages of damaged late 1800-early 1900 siddurim slated for burial. The siddurim pages were lovingly and respectively repurposed to honor their inherent spark of holiness, while the very act of repurposing and bringing wholeness rather than destruction, imbues the Tzedek box with the essence of Tikkun Olam.

The Siddurim pages that embrace the Tzedek box further express the meditative spiritual connection to the oneness of the divine, each other and the wholeness of which we are all a part. Through the chanting of the words contained on the old siddurim’s yellowed pages, our timeless connection to this wholeness enlightens the path in which meaningful acts of social justice become clear.

Interactive participants will turn the dowels and wind the scroll into the Tzedek box to submit their written and recorded acts of social justice, while also revealing a clean section of rice paper to invite recording of the next act of social justice. The scroll is intended to be read in its entirety annually on Yom HaTzedek, at which time the scroll should be removed from the dowels and lightly rewound while it is read. Once read and rewound, the scroll is to be placed inside the Tzedek box where it will be stored as a source of ongoing reflection. Eighteen fresh scrolls can fit into, and are included within the box. As one scroll is read annually, and placed into the Tzedek box, a fresh scroll is removed from the inside of the Tzedek box and affixed to the dowels inviting new acts of social justice to be performed and recorded during the year.

The interactive physical actions necessary to use the Tzedek box suggests that creating social justice is a process that must move beyond thought, into physical action.

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