Foto Friday – Peaceful Vistas

Tumultuous doesn’t begin to describe the week’s events. The Boston Marathon Bombing, the explosion of the chemical plant in Texas, and now the (still ongoing) manhunt after the bombers have pushed North Korea and Iranian nuclear threats off the headlines… for the moment. These are crazy days.

Time to take a break with some beautiful panoramic images of places we love.

1980_ Panorama Tel aviv_norm.jpgTel Aviv Coast. Photo by Dana Friedlander.

Panorama1 The wailing wall and Temple Mount_normWailing Wall and Temple Mount. Photo by Noam Chen.

IMG_2795_Itamar Grinberg the Sea of Galilee_normSea of Galilee. Photo by Itamar Grinberg.

Negev - Ramon Crater 4. Dafna Tal.jpg_normRamon Crater at Sunrise. Photo by ​Dafna Tal.

Acre - Akko 11-  St. John church_normAcre (Akko); St. John church. Uncredited.

NormalHaifa 001Night view from Mt. Carmel, Haifa. Uncredited.

All photographs courtesy of the Israel Ministry of Tourism.

Nostalgia Sunday – Yaakov Gross documents Israel

Celluloid must run in documentarian Yaakov Gross’ blood. His father, Natan Gross, made films for the early Zionist enterprise. Yaakov emigrated to Israel in 1950 and graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and went on to direct and produce over 30 documentary films for organizations such as the KKL-JNF and Israel Television. He is also heavily involved with the preservation and restoration of the films of early Israeli filmmakers. As part of that labor of love, Gross has digitized and uploaded films made by his father and by himself, as well as films he by others that he has restored, to YouTube.

In honor of Israel’s 65th Independence Day celebrations, Gross has decided to spread the word about his YouTube channel. Several of the videos document visits to the early settlement by dignitaries, royalty and other celebrated personages.

In this first video from 1918, Chaim Weizmann, later to be named the first President of the State of Israel, marches down the main streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem together with other heads of the Zionist CommissionMontague David Eder, Baron Israel Sieff, Sir Leon Simon, Sylvain Levi, Joseph Cowen, Aaron Aharonson, Edwin Samuel, Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, Bezalel Jaffe, David Levontin and others — most of whom today are known more as street names than as actual people.

Gross notes that, “This is probably one of the few surviving fragments of the first Hebrew film, “Judea Liberated”, by Yaacov Ben-Dov, a film whose loss was recorded by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court in 1927. Yet, I still have hope that I will find it someday.”

The clip entitled Trumpeldor at Migdal is part of the larger 1913 film, Lives of the Jews in Eretz Yisrael, directed by Noah Sokolowski and produced by Mirograf (Odessa) et Mizrah (I. Diesengof, Odessa). The film went missing and was rediscovered in 1997 in the French national film archive, the CNC. It was then reconstructed by Gross on behalf of the Jerusalem Cinematheque and the CNC’s Eric Le Roy into a new, 60-minute long version depicting 20 Jewish communities in the pre-State Land of Israel.

The clip, Allenby in Jerusalem 1917, is part of a movie by Yaacov Ben-Dov and cameraman Harold Jeapes about the entry of General Allenby to Jerusalem following the conquest of the city by the British two days earlier. It was hoped that the British administration would put the Balfour Declaration of 1917 — viewing “with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” — into effect.

The visit by Lord Balfour on April 7, 1925 was one of the most exciting in the history of the Jewish settlement. Balfour arrived on the occasion of the opening of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. These clips show him visiting the city of Tiberias and Haifa’s Technion.

Following the 1937 death of King George V, the coronation of his son was celebrated in Haifa. Gross notes that George VI was the king who witnessed the birth of the State of Israel in 1948. The original film was directed by Nathan Axelrod Collection for Carmel Newsreels, and is presented courtesy of the Jerusalem Cinematheque.

For more historic clips, visit Yaakov Gross’ YouTube channel and the Yaakov Gross website.

Foto Friday – Robin Terry at the Red House

invito300312CardFine art photographer Robin “Rani” Terry lives and works in Mata near Bet Shemesh. Mata (also Matta) itself is a small village of about 700 residents but its location — set among fields adjacent to the Mata Forest, the Israel National Trail, a Roman road and the Hanut, a ruined Mamluk structure that houses a Byzantine-era mosaic floor — provides Terry with endless inspiration.

British-born Terry will be presenting the latest in his ongoing photographic depiction of Mata in a new exhibition, “Rani Terry”, that opens today in south Tel Aviv’s Red House gallery. Terry — who studied photography at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem — uses a technique called orotone.

Gold pigment gives his photographs incredible detail and a red-brown hue that perhaps best represents our local climate, where the punishing summer heat causes everything, living or dead, to twist, wilt and wither in the bright sunlight…

Robin-Terry_BURNT TREE TRUNK4_B

Rocks and stones…
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Thorns and brush…
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Man-made iron objects rusting in the sun…
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The exhibition “Rani Terry” opens tomorrow and runs through May 11 at the Red House gallery in Tel Aviv. Click here or on the small image above to download an invitation to today’s opening and for more gallery information.

Nostalgia Sunday – Mimouna photo opportunity

mimounaMimouna, the traditional North African Jewish celebration held the day after Passover, marks the start of spring. Israelis of Moroccan and Algerian Jewish origin open their homes to visitors and offer guests special holiday cakes and sweets containing the leavening that had been off-limits throughout the Passover week.

One of the holiday specialties is mofletta (also spelled mufleta, mofleta, moufleta, etc.), a thin crepe made of water, flour and oil, and eaten warm with honey or jam.

Wikipedia describes Mimouna in Israel as “[having] become a popular annual happening featuring outdoor parties, picnics and BBQs” while politely omitting the locations of said picnics, which can take place on any open patch of grass, be it a park, nature preserve or highway median strip.

In 1966, Mimouna was introduced as a national holiday and — in an extension of an already overly-long spring break — yet another day off from school. It has been adopted by other ethnic groups, mainly in the Mizrahi sector.

And therefore, Mimouna also marks the traditional photo opportunity for Israeli politicians to cozy up to the Maghreb communities in towns like Sderot that are known for their large concentrations of North African Jews.

Tradition also requires that the photos be characterized by uncomfortable “East meets West” encounters between suited Asheknazi pols trying to fit in by wearing a red tarbush, sitting on floor cushions, dancing awkwardly and, of course, eating mofletta as if they’d never tasted a pancake before.

But over the generations, this divide has become less pronounced, the photo opp has become a well-oiled machine and Mimouna has been mainstreamed to the point where it’s everyone’s holiday. At least for schoolchildren, if not for their parents who must go back to work.

The Israel Revealed to the Eye family album project, spearheaded by Yad Ben Zvi, has some wonderful photos from Mimouna in Sderot.

And for an excellent slide show of Israeli politicians getting their mofletta on, visit this post on Maariv NRG.

Foto Friday – Haifa outdoor photo exhibition

Art took to the streets of lower Haifa this week, with the opening of an outdoor photography exhibition of graduates of The Neri Bloomfield School of Design and Education — a.k.a. WIZO Haifa.

WIZO Haifa is an institution of higher learning in design that integrates cutting-edge in professional skills with a teacher-training program. WIZO Haifa awards academic degrees in five main disciplines: Graphic Design – Visual Communications, Architecture, Photography, Fashion Design, Non-Fiction Film, and Cultural and Educational Management.

The school also hosts cultural events, fairs and exhibitions throughout the year, and its Art Gallery is open to the public every day of the week.

This week, in time for the Passover holiday break, the school launched the outdoor exhibition of photographs by outstanding graduates from 1990 onward, including photographers specializing in art, editorial, fashion, architecture, travel and more.

Haifa-outdoor-photo-exhibition_1

Haifa-outdoor-photo-exhibition_Romy-LenelPhoto by Romy Lenel (Class of 2009). Model: Vanilla Queen.

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Haifa-outdoor-photo-exhibition_Orly-Perel-NirPhoto by Orly Perel Nir (Class of 2010)

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Haifa-outdoor-photo-exhibition_Gilad-SasportaPhoto by Gilad Sasporta (Class of 2004)

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Haifa-outdoor-photo-exhibition_Fiona-Yaron-FieldPhoto by Fiona Yaron Field (Class of 1991)

Haifa-outdoor-photo-exhibition_Yael-IlanYael Ilan (Class of 1998)

Haifa-outdoor-photo-exhibition_4

Haifa-outdoor-photo-exhibition_Stas-KorlovPhoto by Stas Korolov (Class of 2009).

The WIZO Haifa Outdoor Photography Exhibition will run through May 30, 2013. Click here for a map of the outdoor gallery. More photos can be viewed on the school’s Facebook page.

For more information about The Neri Bloomfield School of Design and Education, visit their website.

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