A magnificent new sculpture at Moriah College creates a welcoming space, a place of belonging, through the lens of a connection to Israel.
Walking on a Saturday afternoon in Israel, David and Sue Morris together with their children Zac and Zoe, discovered a sign above the gate of a neighbourhood school that read ‘Bruchim Ha’Baim’ meaning ‘welcome’, or more literally, ‘blessed are those who visit.’
“As we walked beneath the sign, we instantly felt that, even as strangers from halfway around the world, we were welcome there. It was at that moment we were inspired to commission such a sign as a gift to Moriah College,” explained Sue and David.
“We thought this would be a wonderful way to create a permanent link between the College and Israel as well as creating a welcoming space and place of belonging for students, parents, staff members, and visitors."
“We also wanted to find a way for the sign to be engaging and interactive, so the project soon evolved into a sculpture.”
Recognising the opportunity to showcase the incredibly innovative capabilities of students at the College, the design of the sculpture was given as an assignment to the 2017 Year 11 Design and Technology class. It was Shira Hayim’s contemporary and creative concept that realised the Morris Family’s vision.
Featuring Hebrew letters that clearly spell ‘Bruchim Ha’Baim’, Shira’s design instantly welcomes students, staff members and visitors to the school. Beyond that, the sculpture’s structure and form provide an engaging space where that sense of welcoming and belonging is realised in a tangible way.
“My design is interactive as people can sit, climb or walk through the letters,” explained Shira. “The letters can be a form of shade or a place for students and staff members to eat and hang out with friends and colleagues.”
“What captivated us about Shira’s design, was the fact that it transformed Hebrew letters into a sculpture form that provides a welcome statement, yet when viewed at different angles its meaning and design is more abstract and therefore thought provoking,” said Moriah’s Head of Design and Technology, Joseph Rimmer.
"Shira’s design forces you to stop, and look, and think; to see something, and then change perspective and see things a little differently," said Sue. "While it is instantly captivating, it also takes a little bit of effort to truly see the message. While it offers a welcoming space, if you stand still, you miss some of the richness that this message offers, so it encourages us to keep moving, to change our perspective to achieve greater clarity."
Completing the project utilised some of the College’s leading-edge equipment including a 3D printer to make the initial small models and a CNC router, which is a computer-controlled cutting machine, to make a life-sized cardboard version of the statue.
Production finally began in late 2018 with the school providing accurate engineering drawings generated using sophisticated Autodesk 3D software.
The 13-metre long three-dimensional sculpture was installed in February 2019.
Each letter has a height and depth of one-metre and is manufactured from 200mm tubular steel. Following local fabrication in Sydney, the steel was hot-dipped in galvanized iron then primed to reduce the impact of corrosion. The sculpture is finished in glass white paint.
"We love the fact that just as this sculpture was finally being installed into the ground at Moriah, Shira and our daughter Zoe were at that moment setting foot on the ground in Israel together, where the idea was born," said Sue.
At a ceremony to dedicate the sculpture to the College, Moriah Foundation President, Judy Lowy, thanked the Morris Family for their meaningful and inspiring gift to the College and paid tribute to the many people and teams who worked together to make the vision a reality. "What you see today is a partnership between Sue, David and their family, who have made a valued gift to the school through The Moriah Foundation, educators in the College’s Design & Technology, Visual Arts, and Jewish Life & Learning Departments, a talented student, and a hard-working facilities management team."
Sue and David hope that "the Bruchim Ha’Baim sculpture provides a welcoming space, a place of belonging for all students, parents, staff members, and visitors to the College."
"Bruchim Habaim – Welcome – these are not just words, they serve as a call to action. They are a reminder of how we should behave, that we must actively create a culture that is welcoming and inclusive to all who are here, and to all who wish to come."