new photographic exploration of Israel’s hidden and diverse communities will be on display in a groundbreaking new exhibition, Home: Lens on Israel, at Temple Emanu-El’s Bernard Museum, April 25 through November 21, 2018. Marking the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, the exhibition features the work of seven photographers who journeyed through Israel in November of 2016 with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). The results – portraits of stunning candor and emotional impact – reflect the lives touched by JDC’s social impact work in Israel. Home: Lens on Israel photographers include Gary O. Aidekman; Elaine Goldman; Elizabeth Ann Kahane; Ruth Oratz; Hollis Rafkin-Sax; Annie Sandler, Orna Stern, Eli Atias, Ilan Cohen, Amir Halevy, and Joel Katz.
“It’s been incredibly exciting to be part of the creation of this meaningful exhibition, a powerful and unmediated presentation of those on the margins of society in Israel. Neither idealized nor fetishized, these populations are brought to life through a group of photographers whose passion and feeling for their subjects are apparent and moving,” said Warren Klein, curator of the Bernard Museum and guest curator Yael Eban, a Brooklyn-based artist and granddaughter of legendary Israeli diplomat Abba Eban.
The innovative exhibition – which unfolds over the course of seven months, with a rotating roster of photographs focusing on seven distinctive communities – opens with a focus on Israel’s elderly, including Holocaust survivors, who participated in the founding of the State. Subsequent rotations include the photographer’s visits with Israeli Arab and Bedouin communities; immigrant children from Ethiopia, the former Soviet Union, North Africa and beyond; the Haredi or ultra-Orthodox community; Druze villages in Israel’s north; Israeli adults with disabilities; and a family celebration for Israelis of Moroccan Jewish descent, another symbol of Israel’s multifaceted population.
“The focus of our photographic mission was to celebrate people who are geographically and socially on the periphery in Israel,” said Elizabeth Kahane, one of the Home photographers, who together with her husband William, provided lead support for the exhibit. “By allowing us into their homes and lives, they enabled us to present the hidden greatness of Israel. As artists and human beings we were transformed by this trip, which exposed us not only to JDC’s innovative solutions to Israeli social challenges, but the overwhelming power to change lives for the better through their interventions.”
Home: Lens on Israel offers visitors a dynamic experience and opportunity to engage with the subjects and their lives. The contemporary portraits are juxtaposed with materials from JDC’s renowned global archives, lending historical context. Visitors to Home: Lens on Israel will receive passports that can be stamped at each visit. Those who view the entire exhibition will be eligible to win a free trip to Israel.
“This exhibit celebrates the diverse mosaic that is Israel,” said JDC CEO David Schizer. “These photographs reflect the heart of JDC’s work in Israel over the past century, empowering the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. By featuring the nation’s many faces, these moving images pay tribute to seven decades of challenges and triumphs.”
The Herbert and Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica is located at Temple Emanu-El at 1 East 65th Street, New York, NY. Admission for Home: Lens on Israel is free of charge. For further information on the Bernard Museum, including hours of operation, please call 212.507.9559.
The opening event for Home: Lens on Israel, featuring award-winning illustrator and author Maira Kalman and JDC CEO David Schizer will take place on Tuesday, April 24th, from 7 to 8 PM. There are a limited number of press spots available for this event. Additionally, a roster of special events are planned through November 2018. For details on these events, a sneak peak at the exhibit, and a brochure detailing JDC’s work in Israel reflected in the photography, please visit: https://www.jdc.org/lens-on-israel/
ABOUT TEMPLE EMANUEL-EL’S BERNARD MUSEUM
Located within the confines of Temple Emanu-El is a jewel of Jewish culture – the Herbert and Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica. The Museum collection features three galleries of Jewish art, religious ornaments and Temple memorabilia that are noted for their striking beauty and rarity. The Museum also sponsors an annual gallery lecture series and exhibitions, which seek to explore the intersections of Jewish identity, history and material culture. For more information, please visit: http://www.emanuelnyc.org/museum.php