Arts and Culture | Local

New sculpture honors Federation donors, symbolizes mission

‘Flame’ by local artist Tidhar Ozeri overlooks the Jane and Rabbi Lee Kivel Promenade between the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and the Tucson Jewish Community Center. (Ronen More)

new glass and metal sculpture, “Flame” by Tidhar Ozeri, was installed late last month outside the Harvey and Deanna Evenchik Center for Jewish Philanthropy. The new work is part of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s intention to use architectural elements and art in the new building to reinforce what President and CEO Stuart Mellan has called the “sacred and inspirational aspects of our work.” The building also houses the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, a JFSA affiliate.

(Ronen More)

Ozeri, an Israeli who has lived in Tucson since 2002, wrote the following about his inspiration for “Flame”:

“When I was designing the sculpture in honor of Jane and Rabbi Lee (z”l) Kivel, I wanted to tie the concept to philanthropy and the Federation.

“The Jewish Federation is an umbrella organization that supports all Jewish organizations in Tucson (and beyond). As such, it leads the way to shape current and future Jewish affairs. Whenever I think of leadership, I envision a torch. As a leader, you need to carve the way. You are traveling a path that unfolds for you as you progress. You try to perceive the future and shape it according to your vision. Metaphorically, you, as a leader, step into the dark and need a light source to guide you.

“The flame is carried and lit thanks to philanthropists in our community. They are the supporting pillars of the Federation. Without them, leading the way would be much more difficult. Although this sculpture honors the Kivels for their donation that funded the promenade between JFSA and the Tucson Jewish Community Center, they are significant philanthropists for the community at large, and are certainly important bearers of the flame.

“The flame at the center of the sculpture is protected/guarded from four directions. I designed those elements to represent a shield of sorts. An unintended result is the stylized arrows of light pointing to the sky between the blue sections. I chose the color blue as a cool balance to the heat of the flame.

“I leave it up to the individual observer to interpret who or what guards the flame.

“When I was planning the overall look of the piece, I wanted to make something coherent that works as a whole. I think it ended up looking like a giant flower, opening to the sky.”

Ozeri adds that he would like to see what the piece looks like from above. If anyone has access to a drone and would like to take an aerial photo, they may send it to him at