Hundreds of colorful, embroidered tapestries, woven and sewn by thousands of people worldwide in memory of Ori Ansbacher, a 19-year-old who was murdered in a Jerusalem forest last year, were stitched together to form a massive, three-meter-long Israeli flag, and hung prominently outside the Cardo in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.
The project, which brought together 5,200 embroidered works made by a wide range of people from around the world, though mostly women, was a project created by Bat Sheva Sadan, whose own parents were killed 16 years ago in a terrorist attack.
Sadan was tremendously saddened and pained by Ansbacher’s murder, and called upon women to embroider their feelings on fabrics. She reached out via Facebook, and ended up collecting more than 5,000 embroidered squares from 11 countries.
“Embroidery has been women’s work through the ages,” said Sadan, who is still seeking funds to complete the project and move it to be displayed in other locations in Israel.
The embroiderers included a child with special needs, who held the hand of her teacher who did the embroidery, a group of older women with dementia, a Belz Hasidic woman and a mother sitting next to her son’s hospital bed.
One woman worked on a piece of fabric taken from material she brought from the Bergen Belsen concentration camp, while another used a piece of her dead brother’s Israel Defense Forces uniform.
There were embroiders who knew Ansbacher as well, including her kindergarten teacher and a student from the school where she worked while doing national service, who learned how to embroider for the project.
Families worked together, with the older people teaching the young, and some of the pieces were made into a wedding canopy, which was then used to cover one couple at their recent wedding.