Our series on History, Heritage, and the Lower East Side involved interweaving research from a wide variety of sources.

As life-long learners, it is difficult to think of this research in a linear fashion.  The excitement of the project comes from the double learning, the double experience.

For example, when Yona Verwer interviewed Elissa Sampson about the Stanton Street Shul on the LES, the conversation turned to the zodiac tradition, and Sampson mentioned the zodiac mosaics found on the floors of synagogues throughout the ancient world.  Cynthia Rubin then remembered a 1987 photograph that she took of the floor of the ruins of the ancient synagogue in Ostia Antica outside of Rome.

Similarly, when Sampson spoke of the roots of the Eastern-European zodiacs in German-Jewish  decorative traditions, we integrated zodiacs from a German manuscript into the imagery.

The patterning of the buildings of the Lower East Side itself is a key element, derived from our own photographs and contributions by LES resident Michael Kwong.

Mosaic on Synagogue floor, Ostia Antica, Rome (41-54 CE)
photo by C B Rubin

Fire escapes and Shadows in LES
photo by Michael Kwong

Interior of Stanton Street Shul, LES
photo byYona Verwer

Detail of Zodiac sign on Wall ofStanton Street Shul, LES
photo byYona Verwer

German Medical Text with Zodiac Signs
1480 - 1500
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris

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