The Mysterious Starnova Synagogue and Memories of Summers of Youth

I was a very young man then, in the summer of 1990, and a day after passing my Bachelor’s degree, and filled with glorious optimism, I arrived in what was still Czechoslovakia. I gravitated to the mysterious ghetto, dormant feelings of Jewishness awoken, tales of the once vibrant ghetto tingling. On my first Sabbath eve, as shadows lengthened and the sun sank in pink flames over the Charles Bridge, I walked into the coolth of the synagogue, pervasive whiffs of damp and wool, candles flickering and the sweet, melancholic chants of black fire on white fire. I glanced upwards, towards the roof, and it is here that according to one legend at least, lie the remains of the mythical Golem, saviour of the Jews-turned-monster. It was a time of carefree wandering and tingling sunburn, and a time of optimism and youth. I recently thought once more of those days and decided to paint the Starnova synagogue, each stroke of my brush a chance to feel again. The work is painted on a small canvas, deep enough to hang without framing and painted black around the sides. It is available for £60 from


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