What Is Home? A recurring question in multi-cultural Israel

What Is Home? A recurring question in multi-cultural Israel

By Wendy Perron

You cannot walk ten yards in Israel without encountering a discussion about the Israeli/Arab conflict. As you go deeper into Israel, you realize that there are not just two sides to any argument, but many. There are Arab Israelis, Arab Jews, Christian Arabs, Russian Israelis, Ethiopian Jews. Artistically, this provides for a luminous diversity. 

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Israel and Palestinian Territories

Israel and Palestinian Territories

By Andy Teirstein

If you could peel back the deep historical and political layers burying the core Abrahamic scriptures, the generative roots of Judaism, Islam and Christianity, then you might see the land where it all began. Certainly Jerusalem is a place that defies time in that way; It may seem prohibitive, with its many strata of cultural encasement, until you arrive there and see it face to face. How did this spiritual wellspring, a stony desert place, affect the world so deeply? Even the iconoclastic British poet William Blake, writing in 1808, was drawn to use it as an icon. “Where hast thou hidden thy Emanation lovely Jerusalem?” I have been to the area many times over the years. I’ve sung American folk songs in Hebron, Jenin, Nablus and Jericho, prayed at the Western Wall, performed theater in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, brought five hundred harmonicas to schoolchildren in Ramallah, improvised with a Bedouin Sheik in the Negev desert, hiked in Mitzpeh Ramon, and driven through tear gas in Bethlehem, and I always leave with a sense of having gained just one small measure of new perspective on a richly multifaceted, culturally expansive place that can never be pinned down to the kind of bytes and arch comments that increasingly represent it for the rest of the world.   

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First Impressions-A Jam Session

First Impressions-A Jam Session

By Andy Teirstein

On March 13th, we gathered a distinguished group of artists from varied backgrounds at the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theater. Each artist was asked in advance to consider ways that their artistic practice is inspired by, or in dialogue with a particular cultural tradition. They were also asked to prepare a short personal expression—a simple song learned as a child, or a folk dance—emanating from their own communal cultural roots. Although we didn’t have time to explore these responses, they gave the artists a sense of the project’s impetus. We hope to follow up on a deeper level when we return.  

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