THE BOOK

This book accompanies the touring exhibition Hineni: Life Portraits of a Jewish Community. Like the exhibition, it includes 59 photographic portraits and life stories from members of the Cardiff Reform Synagogue. The life stories offer extraordinary insights into the lives of members of a diverse community, exploring issues of community and place, history and memory, identity and belonging.

The book is in two parts. Part I includes four chapters. Chapter 1, by Colin Heyman, the project manager, discusses how the Hineni project came about and developed. Chapter 2, by Cai Parry-Jones, a doctoral student at Bangor University, provides a brief overview of the history of Jews in Wales. Chapter 3 offers a reading of Glenn Jordan’s photographic practice as work that cares about Others and locates this project in the context of other work that he has done in Wales and Ireland. Chapter 4, by Professor Chris Weedon, Director of the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University, provides a careful reading of the life stories, highlighting issues of memory, place and identity.

Part II has two pages for each of the interviewees – a portrait and an edited life story. In the exhibition these images are one metre, i.e., nearly life-size.

Part II is divided into three sections. The first section features portraits and stories from immigrants and refugees, including Holocaust survivors. The second features people who were born in England and Scotland. The third focuses on the faces and lives of people born in Wales. The stories were edited from audiotaped interviews by Eve Lavine and Cai Parry-Jones.

At the rear of the book there is a map and a glossary, prepared by Eve Lavine. The map shows us the diverse geographical origins of the project’s interviewees. The glossary is for the reader who lacks familiarity with the Hebrew and Yiddish terms that occur in the text.

Finally, there is a DVD inside the rear cover. It includes a short film, which explains the project and provides further insight into the lives and stories of some of the people in the book. The DVD also includes longer extracts from six interviewees’ stories.

We have sought to create a book that is more than an exhibition catalogue. We hope that it has lasting educational value.