Shalom/Salaam: The Untold Story of a Mystical Entanglement
©2007 Tom Block
Shalom/Salaam: The Untold Story of a Mystical Entanglement is an interdisciplinary project predicated on the belief that contemporary art, at its best, can move outside of the narrow confines of the art world, approaching the general public through genuinely creative thought and a gentle activism.
Specifically, my Shalom/Salaam Project highlights the strong Sufi influence on the development of Jewish mysticism, following this unfamiliar tale from 11 th century Spain and Egypt, through the Kabbalah and into the Baal Shem Tov’s Hasidism in the 18th century. I believe that the popularization of this positive story can help facilitate the peace dialogue between Jews and Arabs, becoming part of the healing process of that fractured relationship.
Based in my own original research about Jewish and Muslim mystics that studied together, read each other’s texts and openly borrowed ideas from the other religion’s mystical masters, Shalom/Salaam is a unique mixture of art, writing, scholarship and activism. Through a series of art shows, written pieces, forums and other activities, the Shalom/Salaam project introduces this tale of spiritual entanglement to a diverse audience.