Mel Alexenberg
Author of "Through a Bible Lens"

Cyberangels Herald End of Coronavirus from Sister Cities Wuhan and Ashdod

I created the work of digital-age art above in which Rembrandt-inspired cyberangels bring spiritual and material blessings from the people of Israel to the people of China and others throughout the world plagued by the coronavirus.

I look forward to creating a second artwork to herald the end of the global epidemic that will restore normal relations between sister cities Wuhan in China and Ashdod in Israel.

The mayor of Wuhan cancelled his planned fourth trip to Ashdod as his city emerged as the epicenter of the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic.

The mayor of Ashdod Dr. Yehiel Lasry signed a sister city agreement with Wuhan in 2011 and was there on an official visit last year. In addition to being mayor and former member of Knesset, Dr. Lasry is a medical doctor who was a specialist in viral diseases at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot and served as surgeon-general of Israel’s navy.

My personal connections between Israel and China extend from Yehiel Lasry, my son-in-law, to my granddaughter Talia Alexenberg who works for a Chinese company teaching English to children in China. However in the age of computers and the Internet, she teaches them from the safety of her home in Tel Aviv.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan prompted me to take a break from launching my Rembrandt-inspired cyberangels from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to thirty museums on five continents that have my artworks in their collections. These virtual flights, a tribute to Rembrandt on the 350th anniversary of his death, can be seen at Global Tribute to Rembrandt.

I hope to add the art museums of Wuhan and Ashdod to the thirty others with cyberangels of peace announcing to all the nations of the world that the COVID-19 epidemic has ended.

Cyberangels send spiritual and material blessings from Israel to China

For my artwork above, I drafted cyberangels spiraling up from a satellite of the Land of Israel on the cover of my latest book Through a Bible Lens that offers biblical insights for the age of new media.

Virtual cyberangel flights make the Bible come alive as they ascend from Israel and go down throughout the world as in Jacob’s dream. “He had a vision in a dream. A ladder was standing on the ground, its top reaching up towards heaven as divine angels were going up and down on it.” (Genesis 28:12)

Cyberangels are shown emerging from a crevice in the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem and flying into the hospital in Wuhan where the first coronavirus patients are being treated. It follows a tradition of placing notes with personal prayers in the spaces between the huge rocks showing the words “The Nation of Israel Prays for China” in Hebrew and Chinese.

The upper image shows hospital workers in Wuhan in protective gear like the hundreds sent from Israel. Thousands of masks and medical supplies were airlifted on the last El Al Israel Airlines flight to China and are being distributed by the rabbis and their wives running Chabad Centers in China.

Prayers coupled with scientific/technological innovation

Spiritual and material actions in Judaism are intimately connected.  For example, the biblical word for “angel,” a spiritual messenger, is malakh with its feminine form malakha meaning “work,” like in the construction of the Tabernacle in the desert.

Prayers at the Kotel were held at the initiative of the chief rabbi of Tsfat (Safed) who quoted from Psalm 145:9, “God is good to all, and his mercy is upon His works.” He added that we are called to pray for the people of China who are in great distress and the sick people in every nation as is said in the Jewish tradition, “Dear is all people who are created in the image of God.”

As a nation of world leaders in scientific and technological innovation, Israel is rapidly acting to contain this emerging pandemic. An Israeli firm has developed a new diagnostics kit for rapid detection of the COVID-19 coronavirus while others are rushing to develop a vaccine. An immunotherapy company specializing in drug development for organ dysfunction is ready to assist health authorities combating deadly complications caused by the coronavirus.

China responded to the heartfelt prayers, material aid, and Israel’s development of innovative medical solutions, by saying, “The Chinese Embassy in Israel would like to extend its sincere appreciation of the sympathy, support, and solidarity expressed by the Jewish people. We will never forget it.”

About the Author
Mel Alexenberg is an artist, educator, writer, and blogger working at the interface between art, technology, Jewish thought, and living the Zionist miracle in Israel. He is the author of "Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media," "The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness," and "Dialogic Art in a Digital World: Judaism and Contemporary Art" in Hebrew. He was professor at Columbia, Bar-Ilan and Ariel universities and research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies. His artworks are in the collections of more than forty museums worldwide. He lives in Ra’anana, Israel, with his wife artist Miriam Benjamin.
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