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Letters to God (2005), 2011

The series of photography entitled ‘Letters to God’ was first photographed in 2005 when I went with several other photographers and journalists to a dead letter postal office in one of Jerusalem’s industrial zone. There I saw hundred of letters piling up in several boxes and mail boxes entitled: ‘Letters to God.’ The mail box addressed to members of Parliament (Knesset) was empty, true one can always find politicians’s addresses, while God, where should we find him?
I followed with the other photographers the post van taking load of letters to the Wailing Wall to see how these letters, after being opened and folded in a ceremony overseen by the Western Wall chief rabbi, were squeezed by his workers in between the cracks of the stones. I was told that once a year, these letters are taken out from the Wailing Wall and buried in the Holy ‘Land.’

In 2010 I went back to this postal office, located in an industrial zone of Jerusalem, in order to photograph once more these letters addressed to God, to Jesus or to various holy places as I felt that these letters sent by believers from various faiths and from all over the world best reflected Jerusalem very special attraction. I liked the juxtaposition of the names of God, Jesus and Marie with the profane modern icons such as John Wayne, Queen Elisabeth on the stamps…
I took pictures of some of the letters but without the name of the senders as to keep their privacy.
An envelop from France sent to the Wailing Wall had a stamp in Hebrew saying, “address incomplete, sent back to sender,” .

When asked to choose an image that best represented Jerusalem to the A5 Magazine Jerusalem issue published in cooperation with the Jerusalem Season of Culture, I decided to send one of the pictures from this series.

Ariane Littman