by Dylan Denton
It’s been a hard year for me.
I’m a pacifist, a hippy, a beatnik, a
free-lover. For guiding light I don’t read the Torah, the Bible, or the
Koan. I find truth in Kerouac and
Robbins, Keats and Dylan. I’m not a
democrat. I’m not a republican. I’m
not a xenophobe. With that being
said, it’s hard to read a newspaper or check in with friends online in 2018 without having a rock thrown into your stomach. The common ground of facts has by and large left the political realm, and in its place is emotion — usually the clickbait type of emotion: anger, fear, jealousy, and suspicion. Corporations are sponsoring terrorism, yet being deemed “too big to fail.” The United States army is being ordered to our southern border to fix an immigration problem that doesn’t exist.
It’s also been a tough year for me academically. Since I was a freshman at
Tulane, Richardson Memorial Hall was a structure that housed my triumphs, my disappointments, my hard work, my literal blood, sweat, and tears. Unlike every other subject I have studied, architecture is emotional,
because it is not just the result of the hours of work, it is the end result of my passion. It is my expression and art. So after a particularly turbulent
semester, I think a lot about giving up and trying something that takes a little bit less life force to get the job done.
Wouldn’t crunching numbers in Freeman be infinitely easier on the soul, with a bigger monetary payoff in the end?
But through the roller-coaster of emotions hitting me from the large and small problems in my life, I have one meditation that helps me hang on to the wild ride.
I am not a religious person, and I am not asking you to take a closer look at Jewish theology. Rather, next time you find yourself at the corner of Calhoun and St. Charles, I implore you stop for a second and take in the nobility of this structure. Understand that this
temple stands for the weathering of the storm.
This potentially ordinary piece of architecture is the culmination of thousands of years of persecution, resistance, and solidarity in the name of some ineffable peace.
For a moment, find solace as you look upon the temple and read the words: “This house is a house of prayer for all people.”