A 1,134-pound, 11-foot long bronze lion sculpture valued at more than $100,000 has been installed in the Bloomfield Garden, one of the largest parks in Jerusalem.
The “Lion of Judah” sculpture, created by artist and NRB member Max Greiner, Jr., is a slightly larger-than-life representation of the largest male lion that ever lived and was offered by Greiner to Israel as a gesture of friendship and support from Christians in the U.S. to the Jewish people of Israel.
“My wife, Sherry and I love Israel and the God of Israel,” said Greiner in a press release. “We believe one reason I was inspired to create this monumental work of art is because the God of Israel wants to bless His children at this exact time in world history. Let the ‘Lion Of Judah’ arise in Israel! We are honored and humbled that God would use my art and our friends to make this gift possible!”
Greiner started work on the original sculpture in 2006, carving it out of foam and then adding clay. He finished the clay carving in August 2017. The clay carving was then transported to Lander, Wyoming, where Eagle Bronze – the famous art foundry that created giant bronze monuments such as the Bull of Wall Street – casted the bronze statue over the course of four months. The statue was then shipped to a humanitarian charity warehouse in Bet Shemesh, Israel, where it has been stored for two years waiting to be called into Jerusalem.
It was not until June 2019 – when Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, head of Public Arts for the City of Jerusalem, viewed the statue in the warehouse with former U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann – that the Jerusalem Art Committee and City finally approved the art for public display in Bloomfield Garden. The park is located between the King David Hotel and Mount Zion in Jerusalem. It was selected as the ideal location in the city because it is visited by both Jerusalemites and tourists and looks on to the old city wall of Jerusalem.
“We are so grateful for your generous and meaningful gift to the City of Jerusalem that locals and tourists alike will enjoy,” Hassan-Nahoum wrote in an email to Greiner. “This beautiful bronze Lion of Judah is a symbol of the deep friendship between the Christian Community and the State of Israel.”
Following the installation of the lion sculpture on May 5, Amos Cohen, who is responsible for all 174 public sculptures in the city of Jerusalem said, “This the most beautiful of all the pieces of art we have in the city because it is a lion and the symbol of the city of Jerusalem.”
“It means more to me than any other piece of art in the city … my heart is filled right now,” Cohen said in a press release. “I love the Christian community. They do so much for the city of Jerusalem, and they do so much for the State of Israel and my heart is with you in friendship and thank you.”
The official dedication of the sculpture has not been scheduled considering the COVID-19 crisis. It was previously planned for the summer of 2020 so it could be timed with the annual Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast conference attended by Christian delegates from more than 80 countries.
PHOTO ABOVE: (from left to right) Rabbi Pesach Wolicki, contractor Amos Cohen, and Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum supervise the sculpture installation on May 5, 2020. Photograph courtesy of Max Greiner, Jr.