Kumi Ori, a modern portrait painting of a teenaged boy with Down Syndrome in Jewish Prayer shawl, by impressionist portrait artist Talya Johnson.
Behind the Canvas
Whether seeking escape from debilitating pain and suffering, a refuge from the dream of the planet, or a momentary rest connecting with ones ancestors, heaven can be found right here, right now. All you need to do is pay attention.
Such was the message this painting whispered to me, over and over. Even though the subject of this portrait has long shed his mortal constraints; his name, his short life, and his image in prayer transfixed me in the ancient verses, whispering a song of eternal hope:
*Arise! Shine for your light has come;יהוה’s kavod has shined on you! Behold – darkness shall cover the earth, thick clouds cover the people, but יהוה will shine upon you, their kavod will be seen over you. Nations will walk by your light, royalty by your radiance. 
You will not need the sun for light by day, nor the moon for radiance. יהוה will be for you the light of the cosmos, your elo’ah shall be for your enlightenment. Your sun will never set; your moon will not wane. יהוה will be your light in the cosmos, and your days of mourning will end.
 kavod כבוד – often translated as “glory.” Alternately, “divine resplendent spirit” Isaiah 60:1-33 Isaiah 60:19-20 *opensiddur dot org
I have committed to donating 50% of the net proceeds from the sale of prints of this painting to a charity that supports Mothers of Special Children with Down Syndrome in Tzfat (Safed), Israel. If you are interested in a signed limited edition print feel free to contact me.
Reference photo taken by Neal Martin. A special thanks to Chaya and Yisrael Ben Baruch for sharing their story of love so generously.