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03 - My Brother Ruven


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(From the tapestry): “June 1937. After he came to my defense in a fight with my friend, my brother Ruven was afraid to come home, knowing that my mother, who had heard about the fight, had threatened to beat him. He spent the night in the horse barn. In the morning, after my mother left, I fixed him a bowl of borscht and crawled through the kitchen window to bring it to him. When I returned to my house after the war, and found a Polish family living there, I walked into the kitchen and stood in front of the window with my eyes closed, wanting to relive the feeling of that time when I sat close to my brother and watched him eat.”

Embroidery and fabric collage, 1994.

26″W x 31″H.

Transcript of Narration

After the first two pictures, Esther set aside the memory pictures and didn’t go back to them for another 10 years. When she returned, though, she began adding fabric collage to embroidery, colored borders around the scenes, and most significantly, stitched captions. She was clearly envisioning a series of images that would together tell her story. 

In this picture, she recalls how she brought her brother Ruven a bowl of borscht when their mother wouldn’t let him in the house after a fight. Esther recalls in the caption how she went back to her house at the end of the war and stood in front of the window with her eyes closed, wanting to relive the feeling of that time when she sat close to her brother. I am always moved by the poignancy of that memory, feeling deeply the pain of her loss.   

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