Saskia Aukema

Winner IPFL 2017-2018

And the waters were a wall

And the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Exodus 14:22

The Jewish eruv of Amsterdam

There is a border around Amsterdam that no one knows about, but that is rooted in an ancient history: the eruv. Within that border orthodox Jews are allowed to carry objects on the Sabbath, the day of rest. According to Jewish law, water can serve as a ‘wall’ to enclose that area. 

Documenting the 75-kilometer-long water border was an almost transcendental experience: if you bow your head and look over the edge of the Amsterdam quays, you see new worlds emerging before your eyes. And the dark water appears to rise up to form a wall.

In close co-operation with Richard Bank. Commissioned by the Amsterdam City Archives.