Prayer Maps

Pizza parlors, shipping offices, printing shops, jewelry shops — temples, all, as revealed by photographer Jaime Permuth‘s “Manhattan Mincha Map,” a virtual exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. The Mincha is the shortest of the three daily prayers said by orthodox Jewish men, consisting mainly of 19 blessings recited while standing, “symbolic,” Permuth points out, “of the posture of the angels.” Some men retreat to synagogues for the prayers, but many transform ostensibly secular spaces into temporary temples. Perlmuth’s “Mincha Map” takes us on a tour of a few of them, part of a project he promises will document every such site on the isle of Manhattan. His artist’s statement, meanwhile, makes for provocative reading: In a time when sacrifice is defined as fanaticism or heroism, he writes, “Mincha proposes that one see it as the possibility of interrupting the rush of work long enough to render a daily tribute to the soul.”

Perlmuth’s written portion is brief; The Revealer wonders what stories might be found by a writer who followed his Mincha Map on a walking tour of the sacred within the mundane.

Less artistic Mincha maps, complete with street addresses, are also available for such an expedition. They’re fascinating visual artifacts themselves, revelations of a landscape invisible to the goyim.

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