Book Art Video: The Binding

Many stories in the Jewish Bible perplex me. The one that probably got to me first was in Genesis, the story of the binding of Isaac, also known as the Akedah (ah-kay-DAH). Abraham is told to take his son to the mountain and sacrifice him there. (In Islam, the son is Ishmael, but either way it is disturbing.) Every year the story is read on Rosh Hashanah, so I heard it over and over growing up. 

In 1986, I wrote an interpretation of it, a retelling from the point of view of Abraham and Sarah's servant, and hand set the metal type and carved multiple linoleum blocks to letterpress print in color. The binding of The Binding is a single ribbon that winds around the book and tucks in, much as one secures a Japanese scroll. I printed the book in a limited edition of 48 copies. 

As a way to preserve it, I made a video to coincide with the High Holy Days, which occur beginning the first of the lunar month of Tishrei, usually around September (this year beginning sundown September 15; Yom Kippur sundown on September 24) , sometimes October. Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" (rosh=head, shanna=year, ha=the); the first day of the seventh month, the Jewish new year. It is a day of joy, but not like the secular new year. You can read more about it here.

The Binding