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Glass Acts

Libi Astaire

Jeremy Langford is considered to be one of the world’s foremost glass artists. With a career that has spanned three continents and four decades, he’s created stunning projects at some of the Jewish People’s holiest sites. But that’s only served to humble him. “The most important people in history were here,” he says. “And now me?”

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

It’s a busy Thursday morning at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. While one large bar mitzvah group checks in, another family party boards a tour bus for the next stop on their itinerary. Amid the prattle of English, French, and Hebrew, punctuated by the jangle of cell phones ringing, is a babble of a different kind: the soothing murmur of water splashing in a pool. I’m not the only one who gravitates to the corner of the lobby in an attempt to discover the source of this mesmerizing sound — an “attempt” because, as is often the case in Jerusalem, what you see at first glance is not the whole truth of the matter. At the level of the hotel’s main lobby, what you see is a dazzling display of translucent, delicately colored glass doves suspended in midair. Look down one level, where the hotel’s Business Center is located, and even more of these graceful but silent doves are floating past a rendering of Jerusalem etched in glass, the walls of the glass city melting into the hotel’s Jerusalem-stone colored walls. It is only when you look even further down, to the bottom floor where the Grand Ballroom is located, that you finally see the pool — and the reflecting globe perched atop it, which mirrors back not only the glass city and the floating doves but the face of someone whose appearance in this work of art may come as a surprise: you. The name of this monumental glasswork installation is Sha’alu Sh’lom Yerushalayim — Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, and it incorporates many of the features that have come to distinguish the work ofJeremyLangford, one of the world’s foremost glass artists: the expert craftsmanship, the multiple layers of meaning, the strong sense of vitality and even exuberance. And as I will soon find out, the art is an accurate reflection of the artist.JeremyLangford may have 40 years of experience under his belt, but he is still as excited today by the thought of a new project as the day when he first met his medium. 

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