By Bread Alone
A fascinating photographic journey through the only city in the world located in heaven and on earth. This town is the seat of Hell and the entrance to Paradise. For thousands of years people came to die within its walls. God established his only house on earth in it. One Messiah was crucified in this city. Future Redeemers are expected. The resurrected "dry bones" will gather here in the last days. In this city the Apocalypse is no prophecy, but everyday life: Jerusalem.
Israeli photographer Varda Polak-Sahm captured scenes of heavenly symbolism in earthly Jerusalem, the only city in the world where the three monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - collide in their awesome vicinity. She explored the competing believers. Only their customs seem to have something in common.
Her photographs of the gilding of the Dome of the Rock, the most splendorous and controversial symbol of Jerusalem, are shown here to the public for the first time.
Together with her husband, German Middle-East correspondent Ulrich W. Sahm, she observed the refurbishing of the Dome of the Rock over a period of eight months. A selection of this photographic work became the handmade "Peace Album" which Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin presented to King Hussein I of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1994 as a sign of his desire for peace.
The photo exhibition "By Bread Alone" has caused a sensation in Jewish Tel Aviv, Islamic Istanbul, Catholic Italy, as well as in apparently secular Germany.
Varda Polak-Sahm, born and rooted in Jerusalem, studied theater, folklore, and art history. A photo journalist since 1985, her work is published widely in German daily news papers and international magazines. In 1994 her photo documentation of the gilding of the Dome of the Rock won worldwide acclaim, although the photos were never published at the time. "Varda," as she signs her pictures, is the first Israeli citizen to receive an award in an Arab country - a silver medal in an international photo competition in Jordan. Varda Polak-Sahm is also the first Israeli photographer to exhibit her pictures in the Vatican.
Ulrich W. Sahm, born in Bonn, Germany, majored in theology and Jewish studies. He is the Middle-East correspondent for n-tv in Berlin. He reports for German daily newspapers, radio, and the Catholic News Agency. In Jerusalem he observes and comments on the politics of war and peace. He also looks behind the facades of the churches, mosques, and synagogues, where he discovers a world-embracing strife among the three monotheistic religions.
Jacket photo: The freshly gilded Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem by Varda Polak-Sahm.