• The Binding of Isaac
  • The Binding of Isaac
  • The Binding of Isaac
  • The Binding of Isaac
  • The Binding of Isaac
  • The Binding of Isaac
Originally designed for a 45 foot mural for a Jewish Day school, the entire story of Genesis Twenty-Two is transformed into meaningful symbolic ideaograms that children can quickly learn to read without words.

Available as a 23 foot accordion book or as a scroll for wall mounting.

There is also a limited edition print of the culminating verse.

The Binding of Isaac: A Story without Words

7 7/8” x 23’
The edition is limited to four hundred sets bearing the numbers1/400.
Two Hundred sets come in the format of an accordion book. Each $850 + shipping.
Two hundred sets come in scroll form for hanging or mounting. Each $750 + shipping.
Both pieces are accompanied by a color translation/explanation booklet.

Genesis 22:18 – A Limited Edition Print

Signed and numbered, 15” x 12”
Limited to 350 copies.
Giclee print on Epson Fine Art 225 gram paper
$200 + shipping

The Binding of Isaac: A Story without Words

This book was originally designed as a mural for the Akibah Academy on the Schultz Rosenberg Campus in Dallas. I designed this piece as a 45-foot canvas mural in three sections running down the entire wall of the central hall of the primary school. I created the original as a collage using cut, colored papers. This was then scanned and refined to create the mural as well as this fine art giclee print.

I had long been fascinated by the wordless graphic novels done in the thirties by artists like Lynn Ward and Franz Maaserel. These powerful, full-length books of woodcuts printed in strong black and white were certainly an influence on this present work.

But the most direct spur to this piece came during the period I was working on the school. At the “Arthur and Matilda Library of Books as Aesthetic Objects” I caught a brief glimpse of a work of the Swiss artist Warja Lavater. It was a fairy tale done as a little folding book made entirely with colorful images. I was captivated and charmed by the thought that such simple images could convey a story.

For the mural I decided to try my hand at a wordless retelling of a Biblical story. I chose the mysterious, elevating haunting and frightening tale of the Binding of Isaac in Genesis 22. It is a foundation story of our people, a token of our absolute commitment to God and a token of God’s absolute commitment to us. It’s a magical, elemental story with a pulsating rhythm that attracts, fascinates, rivets, scares and enchants children and adults.

I chose an approach somewhat different than Lavater’s both in the way I made the correspondence between concepts and images and the way I presented the flow of the story. I extracted the ten key elements of the story and assigned each a color.

Unlike Lavater, I made no attempt to make a correspondence to shape or form of the elements. Those I would let change freely as the story demanded. I also chose to represent the pulsating, musical rhythm of the story by using distinct groupings of images, one following the other, very much as I heard the perfect phrasing of the Hebrew that slowly builds up the inexorable power of the story.

My decision to ignore any correspondence to shape for the elements allowed me interesting ways to subtly comment on the story.

In verse five Abraham tells his servants that

“I and the lad will go there and we will prostrate ourselves and we will return to you.”

Who is the ‘we’ that will return? I’ve shown Abraham returning indeed, but Isaac is merely a trace of a possibility of a shadow.

The horn of the ram in Isaacs heart-piercing question in verse eight itself becomes a poignant question mark.

“Here is the fire and here is the wood, but where is the ram for the sacrifice?”

After this question, Isaac — up till now portrayed in sharp rectilinear lines – himself becomes slightly curved like the horns of the ram he does not see but may become.

For me the denouement of the story is verse eighteen as God promises Abraham:

“And through your seed shall all the peoples of the earth be blessed for you have listened to My voice.

These nine Hebrew words constitute an eternal mission for the Jewish people. They are at the same time a blessing and a charge, an honor and a duty, a promise and a hope. This verse became the mandala-like image in the story. It was later produced as a separate, large art print to be used as a gift to donors and as a fund-raiser for the school. Only much later did I realize that it almost perfectly reflected one of the very first things I designed for the campus. The round Bet Midrash, representing the place of Torah, the word of God sits firmly in the center of the campus. All the other buildings surround it with meaningful gaps between them. These represent the school’s commitment to be centered in Judaism and Torah, but open to bringing in the best of the outside world and especially to carry the best of Torah out to the entire surrounding community. This is exactly the message of verse eighteen.

The delight in this piece came just before I was about to take it off to Dallas and present the idea to the committee. Before I did, I wanted to first test it out on a child. I decided to show the model collage to my seven-year old granddaughter, Hallel. Our whole family was gathered together. We spread out the long piece on our dining room table and I proceeded to tell her the story as I pointed to each image in turn. She listened carefull as her eyes took in each picture. I could see she was transfixed. When I reached the very end, I turned the whole thing back to the beginning and said, “Now you tell it to us, Hallel.” Without a moment’s hesitation she proceeded to recite the entire story, word for word, pointing to the images as she went. She missed nothing. We were all stunned.
I knew then that this piece would do exactly what I wanted it too: empower children to master the mystery of a story without words, and to be able to translate it in their own words and present it to others.
It is my hope that the children of the Akiba Academy in Dallas and all the children that see these prints will become the docents of these few but powerful words of Torah to their friends, their parents and to “all the peoples of the earth”.

Genesis 22:18 – A Limited Edition Print


The denouement of the story of the Binding of Isaac is verse 18, as God promises Abraham:

“And through your seed shall all the peoples of the earth be blessed for you have listened to My voice.

These nine Hebrew words constitute an eternal mission for the Jewish people. They are at the same time a blessing and a charge, an honor and a duty, a promise and a hope. This verse became the mandela-like image in the story without words, I did originally as a mural for the Akiba Academy in Dallas. It was then produced as a separate, giclee art print.

Later, I realized that it almost perfectly reflected one of the very first things I helped design for the campus. The round Bet Midrash, representing the place of Torah, sits in the center of the campus. All the other buildings surround it with meaningful gaps between them. These represent the school’s commitment to be centered in Judaism and Torah, but open to bringing in the best of the outside world and especially to carry the best of Torah out to the entire surrounding community. This is exactly the message of verse 18, which is depicted in this print.