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By Ellen Miller Braun
The name of Israel's national anthem is Hatikva, 'The Hope,' written in 1882 by Naphtali Herz Imber (1856-1909) and published in 1886.
Hatikva was officially confirmed as the Zionist anthem at the 18th Zionist Congress in Prague in 1933. Hatikva was sung at the opening ceremony of the Declaration of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.
As long as deep in the heart
Our hope will not be lost
Kol ode balevav p'nimah
Ode lo avdah tikvatenu
During two thousand years of exile from Jerusalem and Israel, the Jewish people continuously prayed for their return home. The few Jews allowed to remain living in the land were not free, and prayed for their renewed independence.
During prayers, Jews living outside of Israel face the direction of Israel. Those praying within Israel face towards Jerusalem.
Therefore, the words of Hatikva have a timeless relevance for Jews everywhere. It reverberates with the hope of the Jewish people, through the long years of exile, to be reunited in their homeland, Israel, an independent sovereign state.
Writing the words of Hatikva repeatedly, Ellen Miller Braun has created a strikingly moving, emotionally charged dual image that combines the Israeli flag and the outline of Israel today.
The bold stripes of Israel's flag ripple and flow, protectively embracing Israel's contours, while the ancient walls create the Jewish star in the heart of the flag, the heart of the country, the heart always and forever, Jerusalem.
To create this piece, Ellen wrote 'Hatikva' 156 times, which is the numerical value of the word 'Zion.' Zion is another name for both Israel and Jerusalem. The final inscription runs downward, hugging Israel's Mediterranean, western coast, with the final 3 words - Eretz Tzion v'Yerushalayim, 'The land of Zion and Jerusalem'- in the heart's center.
May the heart and hope of Hatikva ring true and bring all of the Jewish people home soon 'to be a free nation in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.'
Ellen Miller Braun was born and educated in Chicago Illinois, U.S.A. She studied fine arts at Northeastern Illinois University. An ardent Zionist, Ellen immigrated to Israel with her husband and children in 1983. They live in Ginot Shomron, in the Biblical hills of Samaria. Ellen's traditionally observant Jewish background has guided and inspired her in the development of the Biblical themes of her artwork.