Ein Hod is an artists’ village in Israel, just south of Haifa, not far from the Mediterranean coast. Nestled in the foothills of the Carmel Mountains, we look down through olive groves and fields to the sea beyond. Ein Hod is home to over 130 artists, writers, sculptors, actors and craftspeople. Artists Ayelet Shefer, Maya Ofir, Ziva Kainer and I, together with our village manager Zion Gez, were invited by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) to represent the village in Boston. We saw the city, spoke at several venues and participated in an exhibition at the Kolbo Fine Judaica Gallery in Brookline.
Two years ago our village was heavily damaged in a forest fire that devastated large parts of the Carmel forest and caused great loss of life. Because of our proximity to Haifa, the CJP, with its Haifa connection, wanted to help us out by allowing the Boston community to meet and get to know us. As “ambassadors” for our village we also became acquainted with the vibrant Boston Jewish community and became aware of its strong ties with Israel. For me, who grew up in the United States and made aliyah to Israel over 35 years ago, the experience was enlightening. For many Israelis (and Americans I suppose) the nature of this relationship is not so clear. But through the experiences we had here in Boston, I better understood the strength of the bond that exists between your community and Israel. I better understood the significance of Israel here to you, the importance given to educating your youth about it and the desire of young people to make it part of their identity. I saw a partnership based on real brotherhood (and sisterhood), and this was inspiring to me.
One of our artists, Ziva Kainer, whose house was destroyed in the fire, did a workshop with students at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, which suffered “personally” from the recent bombings in Boston. The aim of the workshop and of our visit there was to share ideas about using art to address and express trauma. As Israelis, we have known trauma of the kind experienced in Boston, and we tried to express our empathy with the school and with the people of the city.
The exhibition at Kolbo Gallery was great, very successful, and it was fun to work with Janet Fine and Larry Hardoon, the owners, with their wonderful staff there, and with Ruth Kaplan, the CJP Director of the Boston-Haifa Connection with the assistance of Rachel Raz from Hebrew College. Both of them worked so hard and were so nice.
Note that this exhibition at Kolbo will be open through the end of June.
Thanks, Boston! If you come to Ein Hod, you’ll find a large central gallery, many private galleries, a serious museum, B & B’s, restaurants, a cafe and a pub whose owner claims to brew the best beer in Israel.
We would love to see you at Ein Hod!