Lens on Israel


Photo by Elizabeth Ann Kahane

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7 Stops – 7 Diverse Communities – 70 Years of JDC’s Humanitarian Work in the State of Israel

HOME: Lens on Israel is an exhibition showcasing the moving work of photographers documenting diverse communities coexisting side-by-side in Israel today and the work of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Marking the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, the exhibition is hosted by Temple Emanu-El’s Herbert & Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica over seven months in 2018.

The exhibition mirrors the journey of the photographers to seven distinct locales, where they explore different cultures and individuals who call Israel HOME. The photos also document the work of JDC and its deep reach into and across the mosaic of the country. We invite you to join us on this journey across Israel and to engage with us in this ongoing work.



The journey begins in a day and residential center, where seniors—among them members of the country’s founding generation—find companionship and care.

Photo by Orna Stern


Lakiya & Bedouin Villages

Continue into the Negev to engage with Arab-Israeli families and Bedouin communities, and meet women entering the workforce and children at play.

Photo by Annie Sandler


Kiryat Gat

Dig in with and elementary school class inspired by outdoor learning, where children and staff work hand-in-hand to learn essential life skills and science in their green school yards.

Photo by Gary O. Aidekman


Bnei Brak

Visit tight-knit, traditional Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) communities and get an insider view of Israel’s most densely populated city, and programs that offer training to those interested in entering the workforce.

Photo by Hollis Rafkin-Sax



Climb north to visit Druze villages and explore women’s roles in traditional societies as guardians of the success of future generations.

Photo by Annie Sandler

Photo by Ruth Oratz, MD



Witness the challenges and triumphs of Israel’s cutting-edge inclusion programs for children and adults with disabilities.


Kiryat Bialik

Join a Moroccan Jewish henna celebration and reflect on how Israel’s diverse and vulnerable populations are also a tremendous asset for the future.

Photo by Joel Katz

Central to JDC’s work has been its integral role in supporting the most vulnerable in the land of Israel since 1914. Today, JDC serves as the country’s social innovation hub, creating pioneering social service solutions, in partnership with the government and local NGOs, to empower hundreds of thousands of Israelis living on the margins.

For more than a century, the JDC has used photography as an essential tool to tell its most important stories, working with renowned photographers and artists to highlight its life-changing work worldwide. It is with deep gratitude to the photographers — philanthropists and activists who believe in art for a cause — that JDC can share these compelling stories about its lifechanging work.

About the contributors


From the United States

  • Gary O. Aidekman
  • Elaine Goldman
  • Elizabeth Ann Kahane
  • Ruth Oratz, MD
  • Hollis Rafkin-Sax
  • Annie Sandler
  • Orna Stern

From Israel

  • Eli Atias (photo instructor)
  • Ilan Cohen
  • Amir Halevy
  • Joel Katz



  • Elizabeth Ann and
    William M. Kahane


  • Gary O. Aidekman
  • Ilan Cohen
  • Elaine Goldman
  • Howard Greenberg
  • Amir Halevy
  • Joel Katz
  • Marina and Andrew Lewin
  • David Lichtenstein
  • Ruth Oratz, MD and Albert Knapp, MD
  • Hollis Rafkin-Sax and Benjamin Sax
  • Annie Sandler
  • Martin Selig
  • Orna Stern

Special thanks also to curator Charlotte Cotton and photographer Joan Roth. For inquires about the photographs, contact rebeccan@jdc.org or +1(212)-885-0878


  • Yael Eban
  • Warren Klein

Yael Eban, Guest Curator

Yael Eban is a Brooklyn-based artist and curator who was born in Israel and raised in Indiana. She received a bachelor’s degree in Jewish Studies and Art History from Indiana University, and an MFA in Photography, Video & Related Media at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is also co-director of Overhang Gallery in Brooklyn. Yael is the granddaughter of Abba Eban, the first Israeli Ambassador to the UN, who raised the Israeli flag over the UN 70 years ago, marking the birth of the State of Israel.

Warren Klein, Bernard Museum Curator, Congregation Emanu-El

Warren Klein is a New York-based art curator specializing in Jewish history, art, and culture. He received a bachelor’s degree in History of Art & Visual Culture from University of California, Santa Cruz, and his master’s in Jewish Art & Visual Culture from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He has been serving as the curator of the Herbert & Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica at Temple Emanu-El since 2013.

About Temple
Emanu-El’s Bernard

The Herbert and Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica located within Temple Emanu-El is a jewel of Jewish culture. The museum collection features ceremonial art, fine art and Temple memorabilia. The museum, now in its 21st year, is noted for its temporary and rotating exhibitions focusing on Jewish art and culture. Subject matters have ranged from Jewish graphic poster, Golda Meir and ketubbot (Jewish marriage contracts).

Temple Emanu-El has a long history with JDC. The two institutions share many of the same historic members, and its philanthropic wing has supported JDC’s disaster relief work over many years. Most recently, Temple Emanu-El has partnered with JDC to create programming across Israel that provides support and guidance to Ethiopian Israelis before and during their army service.

Be part of the journey.


+1 (212) 885-0878



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About JDC

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization, impacting millions of lives in more than 70 countries today. JDC leverages a century’s experience confronting poverty and crisis around the world to: help the world’s neediest Jews, build Jewish life and leaders, empower all Israelis, and respond to global emergencies.

In Israel, JDC innovates solutions to help the country’s diverse populations live better and more productive lives. From the children to elderly, from workforce programs to social entrepreneurship, JDC is dedicated to helping all of Israel’s diverse populations in the most efficient and effective way possible.

JDC receives significant funding support from Jewish Federations across North America, through cooperation with JFNA and UIA Canada and through major funding partners including the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Charitable Foundation, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, World Jewish Relief (UK) and tens of thousands of generous individual donors and foundations. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is a major operational partner.  

Learn more at www.JDC.org