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Flames


Rafal Betlejewski, a Polish performance artist burned down a barn in the central region of the country in a commemoration of the July, 1941 Jedwabne incident.

In this deadly pogrom, in the presence of Nazi German Ordnungspolizei, approximately 340 Jewish people were locked inside a barn and burned alive by gentile Polish nationals.

Betlejewski said:

“Poland is a completely different country than it was 80 years ago when there was a big and significant Jewish minority, which participated in Poland’s cultural, social and scientific development…These people are gone after the Holocaust and later waves of emigration, and I miss them more and more. This performance is addressed to Poles first and foremost, to those ignorant who know nothing about Jews’ input in Poland’s history.”

A typical shtetl, consisting of 757 Jewish people, that is 61.9% of the town’s total population, Jedwabne was established sometime during the 18th century.

More than 1,000 people were present to witness the barn burning ceremony.


Betlejewski read out the names of people who sent in their thoughts and left their notes inside a barn rebuilt outside of the town of Zawada. He poured petrol inside the structure and lit it.

As the wooden bar went ablaze, the Polish artist rushed out of it.

So today I think of the pressure on the Jewish Country to give up its settlements in the Golan Heights and in east Jerusalem.

I think of Helen Thomas’s recent comments; and I think of the post-Nazi Kielce pogrom on July 4th, 1946 when a false tale of child kidnapping and blood libel allegations resulted in the murder of 39 Jewish Poles.

Let us never allow it to happen again and let us never forget.

Am Israel Chai…

AND THEN, ACHOTINU (one act) By Scott Krane Part 2

(enter Professor Alkobi)
Alkobi: aahhh! You barbarians. What are you trying to do, break my hand? Where is my?—

Detective: Start talking professor.

Alkobi: About what?
(for this sarcasm the professor is rewarded a smack)

Detective: Where is he Professor, where is he!

Alkobi: Where is who? Why don’t you—
(another smack…this time with the back of the detective’s hand. Alkobi puts his finger underneath the bleeding nostril)

Jewish Temple
Detective: Don’t play stupid with me Alkobi! Where’s your boss? (Black Jerry is again heard barking from down the hall) Someone shut that damn dog up.
(The detective lights another cigarette, rises from his chair and walks to the other side of the interrogation table. He applies the cherry of the cigarette to the art professor’s hand. Alkobi falls to his knees, his chair collapsing underneath him)

Alkobi: ahhh! You barbarians. Have you not bigger fish to fry? Where are the soldiers, kidnapped by European activists?
(Black Jerry begins again to bark)

Detective: That’s it. Kill the damn dog!
(one gunshot is heard. The dog wimpers. Another gunshot – now silence)

Alkobi: I don’t know where he is. Really. (holds his wounded hand, climbing back in his chair)
I do not know where Danziger ben Colman is. We made the mural so fast. It was all a blur. If I could help you – God knows I would. You think I know something that you don’t, but you are wrong, you are wasting your time. All I know is art, and here is what I can tell you: Herod himself would weep at the beauty of this mural! The ruins of our temple have finally found a proper place in God’s service. Anyway, wherever ben Colman is, you’ll never be able to find him. He will be as elusive to you as the meaning of his art.

Detective: What is the meaning of this mural? – The nation’s flag and the mysterious angelic woman? Were you protesting something?

Alkobi: The master seeks not to protest anything. The master has worshipped at the Kotel his entire life. It is a very holy place to him. The master seeks merely to express the ennui of the current state of Zion and his longing for the Messianic era. The master seeks to express the unsung Dyonisian genius of the Jewish country. He feels that the beauty of Jewish Man’s creative expression is the missing link to Israel’s redemption. The master’s mural was his offering to the Lord of Hosts. To color the material world with art in hope to influence God to send us redemption. To build God a temple of Jewish Man’s creative expression.

Detective: (a silly look on his face) Tell me what it was like being in ben Colman’s classroom. You WERE his pupil once.

Alkobi: He would sit on top of his desk while teaching at the Bezalel. His legs would cross at his shins, hovering above the ground, pointing upward – they would bend and twist with his feet in all different directions. This is how you could tell that his mind was active. His legs looked like they wanted to break free from his stationary torso and run – striding across fields of vacant pastures – away from the familial expectations and cultural norms which so terrified him – these hilly pastures were his imagination.

Detective: Well, enough about his legs. What did he wear?!

Alkobi: He dressed like his father. Black pants. White shirt. Black shoes. His pants would sag slightly below the desired position – slightly – and the gentlemen would be too embarrassed to be seen sloppily sliding his fingers into the waist line or hooking a belt loop to attempt a hopeless lift. A corner of his shirt might become untucked. A string from his tzitzit might occasionally escape the darkness of its tucked in home. He had no problem though, proudly pushing his hand through his light brown hair and casually groping his traditional black skull-cap. Not to set it in place on his scalp – but to make sure that the thing had not fallen off – as if some mysterious wind, felt only by him, was blowing it off.

Detective: Very eloquently put Professor. You talk like you paint. I do apologize about your hand. I hope they won’t do worse to you in prison.
(The detective motions for the guards to take him away)

Alkobi: (being dragged away) You fools! You’ll never find him!

Detective: Is Mordechai ben Colman still here? Bring him in. (The detective gets up from his chair and begins pacing)
(Enter Danziger Ben Colman’s father, unescorted)

Detective: Good evening sir. I am sorry about the circumstance. I believe that you do not know anything more about Achotinu or your son’s whereabouts than we do. Just tell us a little about Danziger as a boy. It may give us clues as to where he could be hiding.

Mr. Ben Colman: He was a good boy. A good heart. Not a slow Torah learner. He was strange though. (he begins to weep…the detective hands the ultra-Orthodox Jew a tissue) He stole once in his life – but he returned daf tzadi of the Rav’s Tractate Nezikim after sketching a portrait of the Rav in almost microscopic proportion below the Ayn Mishpat. For this, they almost kicked Danziger out of the Yeshiva. None of the other boys would talk to him. He would just hang out with that damn dog, Black Jerry.
(someone in the room coughs)

Detective: Did you ever have to discipline him?

Mr. Ben Colman: One year, motze Yom Kippur, I yanked him by his scrawny arm to the electric stove and forced his hand on the hot top.

Detective: Why?

Mr. Ben Colman: He tore apart my Shulchan Aruch. He divided each law and explanation with scissors and pasted the shapes to the living room table. Halachicly indexed! It was sad, his mother did not touch him – Black Jerry whimpered and licked his hand, I’ll never forget.
(suddenly an officer barges in…his clothes wet from the rain)

Officer: We can’t find him. We’ve combed nearly the entire country.

Detective: The deserts?

Officer: yes.

Detective: The forests?

Officer: yes.

Detective: Well, keep on looking. I want every damn inch of this country scrutinized. I mean it! It’s only been 48 hours. Every home, the sea, everything! Dispatch the Navy! Call the United States, whatever you can do!

Officer: One thing detective.

Detective: What is it Alvarez?

Officer: Where is Black Jerry, he might hold a clue.

Detective: I had the dog shot.

Officer: You imbecile! Don’t you know that he spent all of his damn time since his childhood with the dog?

Mr. Ben Colman: That’s true too.

Officer: If there were any way to find Danziger the dog would have been needed. We could have had it psychoanalyzed by the K9 specialist. And I wonder detective, if your haste in killing Black Jerry, does not represent your inability to understand the unsung Dyonisian genius of this country!

Rihanna Does Israel Right

The Grammy Award winning popular rhythm and blues singer Rihanna performed at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium Sunday night.

The 22-year-old singer, born in Barbados and currently based in the United States, spent two days prior to the concert touring sites in Israel – one such site was of course the Kotel where she purchased a Red-String Protection From Evil Eye Bracelet. She bought it on the steps in front of the Beit Midrash of the Aish HaTorah world center and made of it a photo opportunity.

As part of a volunteer project, Rihanna also helped paint a mural on the Kfir Scouts community center in Tel Aviv.
She said that her Israel journey was an “amazing, amazing experience.”

In September 2009, Rihanna performed at Jay-Z’s “Answer to Call” concert, a tribute to the police officers and firefighters who died during the September 11 attacks.
Metallica also performed in Israel a couple of weeks ago and other artists, such as the Pixies and Elton John have shows scheduled in Israel this summer.

In addition to her tour of Jerusalem, Rihanna’s first Israel visit also included a taste of hummus in Abu Gosh. The young artist refused to tell the reporters what she wrote in the note she hid in the Western Wall, saying that it was between her, God and the wall.

It was requested of the reporters to not to ask about her personal life or about the cancellation of the Elvis Costello gigs. Most of the press conference was devoted to the volunteering project, with Rihanna expressing her delight over the success of the campaign.

Tel Aviv was Rihanna’s last destination in her current European tour, which was launched to promote her latest album, “Rated R”. In the past two months she performed in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Scotland.

Unique Israeli Artist Jack Jaget

Jack Jaget is a graduate of Music and Art High School and the Cooper Union Art School of New York. For some years he was the Art Director at the World Publishing Company. Once, this master designed books for most major publishing companies in the States, for which he won many awards, among these:

Best 50 Books – American Institute of Graphic Arts, AIGA children’s book selection (A total of 14 books), honor book for the Caldecott Medal, and he was a member of AIGA and the American Heritage of Graphic Arts.

In 1974 Jaget, his wife and three children immigrated to Israel and founded a graphic studio which turned out designs for companies, hotels and banks such as the Sheraton and Carlton Penta, Bank Hapoalim, the BIRD Foundation, and others.
Hebrew Wood Mezuzah Case by Jack Jaget
Wood-working has long been Jack’s great love – so he turned it into an occupation. Each Jack Jaget piece is individually fashioned in various woods and decorated with gold leaf. All of the metallic parts are gold plated. He uses the finest lacquer finishes, to give his creations a unique and mysterious Middle Ages aura.

A number of Jack’s pieces have been presented to CEOs and notable scholars. Among well-known personalities who were the recipients of Jack’s books are, the late King of Jordan, as well as US President George W. Bush.

His work includes; Bibles, Tehillim, Sidurim, Pesach Haggadot, Machzorim, Tzadakah Boxes, Torah Pointers and Mezuzah Cases.

The Israeli Art Market is Doing OK

Mordechai Ardon, The House of the Maggid (1954)In the past decade the Israeli art market’s turnover topped $180 million. In 2007, the Israeli art market was estimated to have reached its all-time high of $36 million. While annual sales dropped about 40% in 2008 and 2009 in the wake of the global financial misfortune, the 2nd half of 2009 saw signs of recovery ahead of the new decade.

With a price of $643,200, Mordechai Ardon’s Timepecker holds the record for a piece by an Israeli artist.

During the 1990s, annual auction sales leaped from a few million dollars for a couple of hundred items sold to $12 million for nearly a thousand items sold in 1999. Though, due to various factors at the time, art in the Jewish Country suffered a sharp drop in sales. Annual turnover dropped from $13 million for approximately 900 items sold in 2000 to nearly $5 million per approximately 700 items sold in 2003. In Comparison to the rest of the world, the Israeli art market experienced a sharper drop as global reduction in auction sales turnover was only 10% at the time.

Chagall, ParentsOn the spur of the first signs of economic recovery in Israel in late 2003 and early 2004, Sotheby’s Israel branch took its contemporary Israeli art sales to be auctioned in New York, providing exposure to Israeli art and artists. The single most lucrative Israeli art auction was held in the 2nd quarter of 2006 in Sotheby’s NY, where a $6 million turnover was recorded.

Well since then things have been a lot better. Pieces which were sold at hammer prices of $100K and higher, increased by an average of 49% from 2003 until the end of 2007. Mordechai Ardon’s Ascension of a Watchmaker was sold in Sotheby’s Tel Aviv in 1988 for $30,800 and then resold in 2005 at Sotheby’s New York for $108,000.

The highest return on an item sold in an Israeli auction house was 320% and belongs to Marc Chagall’s Personnages de cirque, which was sold in 1997 for $57,500 at Christie’s in Tel Aviv and resold ten years later at the same location for $240,000.

Navy Seals Commandeer Antiguan Ship Carrying Iranian Weapons to Hezbollah

During an overnight raid on Tuesday last week, the Israeli Navy, about 100 nautical miles off the coast west of Israel and near Cyprus, seized hundreds of tons of weaponry on a ship sailing with an Antiguan flag. The weaponry was sent by Iran and destined for Hezbollah, in Syria.

The IDF was monitoring the Francop for several days before Navy Seals boarded it in the middle of the night. When they found the dangerous cargo, they easily commandeered it and sailed it to Israel.

The government of Antigua informed Israeli Intelligence that a ship left from the Bandar-Abbas Port in Iran with cargo which was shipped through the Suez Canal, unloaded in the Mediterranean Port of Damietta in Egypt and then loaded onto the Francop. The intended destination was the Latakia Port in Syria.

The ship’s crew was unaware that there were weapons on board, as they were disguised as humanitarian aid.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem denied the entire event. He said:

“Unfortunately there are official pirates disrupting the movement of goods between Iran and Syria, I stress, the ship was not carrying Iranian arms bound for Syria, nor was it carrying material for manufacturing weapons in Syria. It was carrying [commercial] goods from Syria to Iran.”

Meanwhile both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres complimented the Navy and the IDF, for the exemplary execution of a critical operation.

Today in Knesset, Tzipi Livni said:

“We all today praise the Navy and IDF over the seizure of the ship – it’s not a controversial matter. There are issues over which there are no coalition and opposition. We are all partners in the people of Israel’s war on terror – whether it’s Hamas, Hizbullah or other supporters [of terror]. Well done.”

Now since the world is basically ignoring this OBVIOUS WAR MONGERING ACTION BY IRAN AND HEZBOLLAH LAYING THE GROUND WORK FOR THEIR NEXT WAR – WE THOUGHT WE WOULD PUT TOGETHER A LITTLE GALLERY FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE (again, these are not weapons as the Syrian Foreign Minister explained, these are commercial goods!!!!)

The Sputnik Observatory Internet Project

Big fan of Jonathan Harris and this is his anouncement of the latest project called The Sputnik Observatory. Amazing and worth a look.

A result of a two-year collaboration with New York-based Sputnik, Inc., an organization that documents contemporary culture through intimate video interviews with hundreds of leading thinkers in the arts, sciences and technology, covering a wide range of topics.

The central premise of the Sputnik project is that everything is connected to everything else, and that topics and ideas that may seem fringe and even heretical to the mainstream world are in fact being investigated by leading thinkers working in fields as diverse as quantum physics, mathematics, neuroscience, biology, economics, architecture, digital art, video games, computer science and music. Sputnik is dedicated to bringing these crucial ideas from the fringes of thought out into the limelight, so that the world can begin to understand them.

Conducted over more than ten years and previously unavailable to the public, the interviews within the site chronicle some of the most provocative human ideas to have emerged in the last few decades. The site itself aims to highlight the interconnections between seemingly disparate thinkers and ideas, using a simple navigational system with no dead ends, where every thought leads to another thought, akin to swimming the stream of consciousness.

There are about 200 videos on the site today, and there will be thousands more added over the coming weeks, months, and years.

Check out a sample video by Jonathan about Human Feelings:



Fresh Paint in Israel

I was at this last FreshPaint show in Tel Aviv and it was great. 33,000 visitors came in a span of 5 days to see the latest in young Israeli art:

A huge success for Fresh Paint 2!

Over 33,000 people visited Fresh Paint 2 art fair, in just 5 days!
A large audience enjoyed the creative work of more than one hundred artists and purchased artworks. We thank all our visitors for your support!

Fresh Paint art fair ended, but Fresh Paint’s group exhibition is still on!

Interested in young Israeli art? Would like to see more from the fair’s artists?
Fresh Paint art fair is currently presenting a group show of Fresh paint’s artists, named “Mani’s Haunted House” in Beit Mani Leumi (“Mani’s House”) art space.
Curators: Yifat Gurion Ofer and Matan Daube.

Sunday to Thursday 10 a.m to 8 p.m, Friday 10 a.m to 1 p.m, through May 7, 2009.
Beit Mani Leumi, Bank Leumi Headquarters
36 Yehuda Halevi Street

Funds raised through Fresh Paint 2’s community projects

• 900 postcards were sold at The Secret Postcard project. 160,000 NIS were raised for scholarships for youth from underprivileged backgrounds, who excel in the arts, for studies in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art’s Education Center’s program.
• Income from the Curator’s Choice Gallery will fund the activity of the art therapy program at the nationwide children’s homes of the charity Yeladim – Fair Chance for Children.
• Thousands of Shekels were raised for the Nalaga’at Deaf-Blind Theater Company in Jaffa port, Tel Aviv. The Special Edition Project continues at the Nalaga’at center.

Purchasing Artworks

It is still possible to purchase artworks by Fresh Paint’s independent artists. If you are interested in further details regarding an artist or an artwork please contact: yael@freshpaint.co.il

Fresh Paint 3 will be held on March 2010. Details will follow.

Our Universe by Jonathan Harris

UniverseI am a big fan of Jonathan Harris. His Internet work was featured on OJ before a couple of times – you can see the post on We Feel Fine & Love Lines here. So when I get this email from Jonathan Harris about his latest project I was excited. As usual, Jonathan is able to clearly visualize the human side of the Internet. In Universe he uses the news information from daylife.com, a new news aggregation site that presents information in a different format, to show us our mythology – events, quotes, stories, people that are part of our daily life. If you want to understand more about how Universe works, look at Stages. The Universe is an applet that translates the news streams into a “real” graphic universe where the visitor can search any topic across any timeline, look at the major events, stories, pictures and people. The user can even select the backdrop color for his personal universe and the result is remarkable. Amazing work !

In his words:

Universe presents an interactive night sky, composed of thousands of twinkling stars, which then connect to form constellations. Each of these constellations has a specific counterpart in the physical world — a story, a person, a quote, an image, a company, a nation, a mythic theme. Any constellation can be clicked, making it the center of the universe, and causing all other stars to enter its orbit. Universe is infinitely large, and each person’s path through it will be different. For an explanation of how it works, read “Stages”. For a longer discussion of the ideas behind the piece, read “Statement”.
Jonathan Harris

This is what an Israel search for people looks like..

Israel - Universe

Jonathan Harris – An Internet Artist

Jonathan HarrisJonathan Harris is an Internet Artist in every aspect of the term. His work is exciting, challenging and inspiring. Anyone that tries to comprehend the vast amounts of information and the dynamic nature of the Internet has to appreciate those that can incorporate these elements into their work. Jonathan Harris does that.

Born in 1979 in Vermont, he had artistic inclinations from the start, sketching and painting early on. He also collected and pasted bits of life as they passed him by, ticket stubs, dead insects and other items. This served as a good base for what he does today, on a grander scale.

Harris studies computer studies at Princeton. He currently resided in Brooklyn, New York. Over the past few years he has lectured at Princeton, Stanford, Parson’s school of Design and Google. He was featured on CNN, Reuters, BBC, The Guardian, USA Today, Voice of America Radio, Creative Review, and Wired.

These are some of his projects, described in his own words. Explore them, they’re worth it…
His site is called Number 27.

justcurio.us is an anonymous question and answer system, open to anyone, with one simple rule: to ask a question, you must first answer someone else’s question. Question yields answer yields question. Strangers helping strangers.

justcurio.us site image

10×10 (‘ten by ten’) is an interactive exploration of the words and pictures that define the time. The result is an often moving, sometimes shocking, occasionally frivolous, but always fitting snapshot of our world. Every hour, 10×10 collects the 100 words and pictures that matter most on a global scale, and presents them as a single image, taken to encapsulate that moment in time. Over the course of days, months, and years, 10×10 leaves a trail of these hourly statements which, stitched together side by side, form a continuous patchwork tapestry of human life.
10×10 is ever-changing, ever-growing, quietly observing the ways in which we live. It records our wars and crises, our triumphs and tragedies, our mistakes and milestones. When we make history, or at least the headlines, 10×10 takes note and remembers.

Ten by Ten

Continue reading

Nathan Halpern – Illustration in Ceramics

Nathan Halpern Illustration in Ceramics I met the ceramics artist and illustrator Nathan Halpern in his home in Mevaseret Zion, just outside Jerusalem. Born in 1947, Nathan Halpern has been illustrating, mostly for children books, for over 15 years. Browse through the children’s book section in an Israeli bookstore and you’ll see his work.

Nathan Halpern graduated the Visual Communication program at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. After establishing himself as an illustrator he developed an interest in the three dimensional world and began illustrating in ceramics. Looking at his work you feel like you are watching an animated world that came to life. The vivid unique characters are fascinating and the wide range of brilliant colors make these pieces jump to life.

Horse Rider Ceramic Sculpture - Nathan HalpernWoman Bather Ceramic Illustration - Nathan Halpern
Halpern explores different characters in his work, concentrating on a particular subject or character, developing it and taking it to new levels with each new piece. These make for some beautiful ceramic series that explore movement and situations for a particular figure. Some notable series included the Bathing Women, Horse Riders, Cars and a series of Mezuzah illustrations he did early on.

Nathan has been exhibiting in select galleries around Israel including the national Eretz Israel Museum and the galleries in Neve Tzedek. Nathan Halpern also teaches ceramics to small groups of students at his home studio. His works are now available online.

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