Steven Sotloff Art Memorial
“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” -Elie Wiesel
Commemorating the tragic loss of Steven Sotloff and in tribute to his commitment to excellence in news reporting, this memorial artwork helps to assure that the world never forgets his story. It is hoped that the professionalism, determination and strength of this extraordinary young journalist will continue to touch the lives of others for generations to come.
This 5 foot tall memorial makes no mention of Steven’s tragic passing, but rather of his wish for peace that he strove for through his journalism. In fact, the only symbolic hint of any Middle East conflict is the Dome of the Rock/Temple Mount in the background. However, the Sim Shalom (Prayer to Grant Peace), written in the sky above Jerusalem where he lived as an adult, overcomes even that conflict, asking for peace, kindness, righteousness, blessing, mercy and life.
The pomegranates, symbols of Israel and the Middle East, are traditionally the fruits of righteousness, because they each are said to have 613 seeds, which corresponds with the 613 mitzvot, or commandments, of the Torah. They are the symbol of life in all the major religions, and because they are evergreen throughout the year, they are also the symbol of immortality of the soul.
Pomegranates are coming forth to us in the US from Jerusalem, spreading their seeds, from which new life is growing abundantly in the form of orchids. The orchid is known throughout history and cultures for its healing, disease-fighting and protective properties, and well as bravery and strength, and, of course, fertility or new life.
The now infamous words of Steven, smuggled out in two letters to his family while he was held hostage, are embedded copiously into all the lush new life of greenery that is growing into the foreground. One of his many sentences contained in the greenery is, “Everyone has two lives: the 2nd one begins when you realize you have only one.”
Other words depicted here from his two smuggled letters include, “Do what makes you happy. Be where you are happy. Love and respect each other. Don't fight over nonsense. Hug each other every day. Eat dinner together. Live your lives to the fullest. Stay positive and patient. God rewards those who are patient.”
The art memorial was publicly presented to the Sotloff family two days after President Obama toasted to the memory of the slain journalist at the White House Correspondents Dinner of 2015, and just one day after Steven Sotloff’s birthday. It currently overlooks the Atlantic Ocean at Greenspoon Marder in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where viewers can face the Middle East in his memory, as his remains were never returned.
For further information on the life and work of Steven Sotloff, please click here: