Fabrangen Memorial Quilt

This is a changing ritual object, as leaves are added periodically. The photos on this page and in the header of the web page were taken by Lloyd Wolf in July 2012. The quilt already looks different, as a number of leaves have been added since then.

Fabrangen Memorial Quilt - Tree with embroidered leaves and pool with fish at base

“In 1988, after the death of my dear friend, Nina Kahn, I wanted to memorialize her name. I proposed that since Fabrangen was then, as it is now, a community without  a permanent building of its own, that we create a portable wall hanging for our memorials – similar to the hangings described as used by the Israelites to beautify the Temple. 

Fabrangen was interested, and supported my idea, so I asked fiber artist Shirley Waxman for her help in designing and making the Memorial. She graciously agreed to be our artistic leader. I organized a group of people, mostly Fabrangeners, but some other folks participated because of our mutual friendship with Nina.

Closeup of leaf details on Fabrangen Memorial Quilt - Tree with embroidered leaves

We worked on the Memorial for several months, embroidering Hebrew texts and designing beautifully embellished fish and flowers. We took pieces home and convened at Shirley’s home every couple of weeks to put our pieces together and to get new parts of the Memorial to work on. When the whole Memorial was ready to stitch together, we had to bear down and get it done – organizing ourselves to meet and accomplish all the work that needed to be done at Shirley’s home was a major commitment for us and her.

Finally the great day was reached and the Memorial was finished. It was dedicated to the Community at our next High Holiday service. We started with many names that already needed to be memorialized – Nina, my father and nephew, Dick Frankel’s parents, Gilah Langner’s aunt, Rebecca Levine’s mother – those are some of the ones I remember personally, but there were many others. We hung the memorial at George Washington University Hillel, where Fabrangen then held services, and it shined down on us during services. It was itself a thing of beauty, but it was also a heartwarming memorial for those of us who had names stitched on those leaves. As time went on, we sadly added names of Fabrangeners – Abbey Ziffren, Hannah Ticktin, Warren Glick, and many, many others whom we lovingly remember. A list of the original names on the Memorial is attached as a label on the Memorial, as is a brief account of its origin and the people who worked on it.

Closeup of pool with fish details on Fabrangen Memorial Quilt at base of tree with embroidered leaves

The memorial was designed to be used as a chupah, and it has been used for that purpose several times. It is also, of course, a work of art. However, it is mainly a memorial for Fabrangen, and when we see it at services or other functions, it adds beauty and warmth to our community.”—Sheryl Segal