Hannah Kozak

Photographer
     
Devotion
Location: Los Angeles, California
Nationality: American
Biography: Hannah Kozak was born to a Polish father and a Guatemalan mother in Los Angeles, California.  At the age of ten, she was given a Kodak Brownie camera by her father, Sol, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps and began instinctively... read on
Public Story
Devotion
Credits: hannah kozak
Updated: 05/10/16

One sentence project summary:  I wanted to document and convey the message of being devoted to a higher power with these images shot in Jerusalem, Israel at The Western, or Wailing Wall. 

Doves flying between cracks in the wall, sounds of prayer, davening, heads leaning, cries, pleas, singing, tiny birds, prayers, runny noses, children crying and silent as their mothers hold them, sounds of birds wings flapping, torn scraps of paper tucked wherever there is a spot, eyes closed, prayer books.“We don’t disrespect G-d” a woman explains when I ask why they walk backwards without their backs to the wall. 

The Western Wall (in Hebrew – HaKotel HaMa’aravi) is the only fragment of the Great Temple to survive the Roman destruction. It’s the center of Jewish yearning and memory for more than two thousand years as well as a universal center of spirituality. 

As I leaned towards the wall and began to contemplate, I felt the power of prayer from all those who have come before me, from every religion and from every heart, as the wall has always been a house of prayer for all nations.  I felt my own tears begin to fall, not for myself, but for the beauty of this great field of devotion. A Universal force was listening and its presence was soulfully felt. The wall embodies a holiness of space and you feel it as you do your own hands. These people in prayer and devotion have found this richness at the wall. Here all souls are free to tap into the infinite god that lies inside each of us.

My desire is to share that the feeling of devotion can move us into something bigger than ourselves, and our own cultural understanding. The power of devotional prayer can inspire and move us to tears. We can celebrate the glory and heartache of being human; able to reach out and feel not only our own pain but others as well.  I hope to accomplish and convey that the divine is within each of us. All we have to do is believe and look inside.  Standing in the presence of these people in prayer brought me closer to the beauty and magnificence of the human spirit with their tears of joy and sorrow. At the wall, no one stands alone. The human spirit comes shining through with rapture, happiness and peace for all people.

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