“On Yom Kippur in 1967, the Year of Forgetting, I put on
my dark holiday clothes and walked to the Old City of Jerusalem.
For a long time I stood in front of an Arab’s hole-in-the-wall shop . . .”
The lines above are the start of Poem/Section 5 from Yehuda Amichai’s collection entitled Jerusalem 1967. As I celebrate Israel’s independence today, one of aspects of Israeli society that continues to amaze me is the arts and culture scene in Israel. Though Amichai passed away over ten years ago, his contribution to Hebrew literature continues. Amichai’s skill as a poet was his ability to write in colloquial Hebrew in a way that was also deep and laced with meaning. The poem incorporates Judaism/religion, Jerusalem geography, Arab-Jewish relations, and even the memory of the Holocaust. Israel has many layers and its artistic expressions reflect that. Film, theater, visual arts, literature, and dance all include aspects of history and present day, religion and modernity, conflict and coexistence. The power of the Israeli story is compelling in it of itself, but the artistic renditions take that story and retell it in ways that are profound and poignant.
For more information on Israeli art, please check out a new site called Omanoot which has links and information on the Israeli art scene.
Locally, if you are interested in upcoming Israeli cultural experiences, from visiting artists and musicians to other events, please check the Cultural Affairs page of the Israeli Consulate of New England.
And finally, watch this video of dancers performing “Echad Me Yodeah (Who Knwos One)” one of the seminal pieces of Bat Sheva, one of the top modern dance troupes in the world.