Yizkor / In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried 2007
Oil on Canvas 50" h x 60" w
This double painting considers two very different aspects of the Jewish view of death – mourning and
afterlife celebration of life.
Yizkor is based upon the artist’s participation in a funeral at a cemetery in Long Island, New York.
Behind where the graveside service was taking place, stood a memorial to Hungarian Holocaust victims.
In the distant was a large brick power plant chimney, reminiscent of those in pictures of concentration
camps. The painting links past and present dangers to Jewish existence.
In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried borrows it’s title from a short story by the American writer
Amy Hempel. My grandfather (last name Singer) was a WW1-era British music hall performer. In later life, he
emigrated to the United States, died in Los Angeles and was buried at Hillside Memorial Park, close to
where Al Jolson is interred. The painting recalls that in Judaism, death is not a tragedy, and our deaths,
like our lives, continue to have meaning. Jewish tradition recognizes the democracy of death, and in this
work, the famous Jazz singer and my grandfather perform as equals.