In a modest three room gallery in Jerusalem’s Baka neighborhood, paintings, photographs, sculptures and a video installation by Emunah College lecturers interpret the word shmot, the Biblical command to “release” the Land. Images range from bare Israeli landscapes to a brightly colored Mandela, which you need to squint at in order to see the black forms of camels that create its arched frame.
Israeli artist Ya’akov Boussidan’s latest study for stained glass windows soars with his lifelong passion for original calligraphy and his fascination with the “Song of Songs.” Exploring the theme of creation, this first study is naturally linked to Elul, the Hebrew month that augurs Rosh Hashanah, “the birth of the world.” According to rabbinic tradition, Elul is an acrostic for the verse “I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me.” (Song of Songs, 6:3).
I had the privilege of spending much of the summer in Israel, meeting with artists and curators and generally re-acquainting myself with the art scene there. While the reopening of the magnificent Israel Museum in Jerusalem was the most noteworthy event of my trip, meetings at galleries, museums and performances crystallized the idea that art offers a window into the soul — and the possibilities — of Israeli life today.