25 May 2017

The Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival

This fabulous event has actually just finished.  Apologies, I am running behind with my blog posts.  Despite that, I still wanted to write about it in order to make people aware so that the lucky people who will have the good fortune to be in Tel Aviv in May 2018 will keep a look out for this International Documentary Film Festival and go to it if they can. 

A weighty tome of a guide was published in Hebrew and in English providing a summary and the showing times of every single film in the festival as well as the many different categories of film such as; Israeli Competition, International Competition, Depth of Field Competition, Student Competition, NEXT! Award courtesy of the Ministry of Culture and Sport The Israeli Film Council, the Audience Award courtesy of Yes Docu not to mention details about the different genres of films in the festival such as Masters, Art, Music, True Crime, Panorama, Shorts and VR.

My husband and I went to a really interesting, well made film in the Art genre about an Israeli/British artist, designer and architect called Ron Arad.  The film which was 45 minutes in duration was called "RON ARAD - NOT WITHOUT WHITE GLOVES" was of Ron Arad's fascination with mechanically crushing the old Fiat 500's, "trying to immortalize old cars on museum walls".  Towards the end of the documentary it was a relief to me when Ron Arad finally explained why he was undertaking such a mammoth task.  I will not give away the crucial reason as to why he was so focused on his exhibition.  Instead, I urge people to try and see this excellent documentary if they can.

23 May 2017

"Don't count the days, make the days count."

These giant deck chairs can be seen on Frishman beach in Tel Aviv with their heart warming messages.  I was in a contemplative mood today.  I was thinking back to August 2014 when my husband was asked by his employer whether we would like to live in Tel Aviv, Israel for the next three years.  We were very keen to go but our friends and family were concerned for us.  Israel tends to be portrayed in a very negative light by the media. 

Having had the opportunity to live here for the past two and a half years, I can honestly say that I have had a great time and I will be sad to go.  We are almost at the end of our posting and we only have three months left.  We will be leaving on the 1st of September 2017.   The thought of going makes me feel sad and I get a lump in my throat and shed the odd tear or two.  But this is our life, the life of an expatriate.  Always on the move rather like itinerant gypsies.  Living in a country long enough to get an appreciation for the people, the language, the cuisine, the culture, the religion, the politics but always viewed by the local population as an outsider, a foreigner.  Never truly fitting in or belonging.  

Anyway, enough of my cogitation.  I recall reading an inspirational quote earlier this year by Muhammad Ali.  It said, "don't count the days, make the days count", which I thought was very fitting in our case as we only have a limited time left here in Tel Aviv.  Having said that, I am determined to make the most of these last three months cramming in as much as I can and in the process writing as many blogs as I can about this beautiful and much maligned country.

22 May 2017

Museum on the beach

This is a great initiative by the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in collaboration with the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo and Atarim to bring reproductions of selective works of art into the public space.  In this case, nine works of art which are currently on display at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art are reproduced at regular intervals along the promenade of Bograshov beach.  Whilst  it is unusual to see reproductions of life-size paintings at the beach, it is such an excellent idea.  It is an opportunity to bring art to the people of Tel Aviv, residents and tourists alike in the hope that it will educate and inspire them to visit the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to see the originals of these paintings and to enjoy many other paintings, sculptures and exhibitions.

The information panel explaining the Museum on the beach initiative in English, Hebrew and Arabic

Reuven Rubin (1893 - 1974), The Zeppelin over Tel Aviv 1929

Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954), Two Women on a Balcony, 1921

Henri Edmond Cross (1856 - 1910), Hauling the Nets, 1899 

Paul Signac (1863 - 1935), Mirabeau Bridge, 1903

Wassily Kandinsky (1866 - 1944), Murnau, Landscape with Green House, 1909

Nahum Gutman (1898 - 1980), Resting at Noon, 1926

Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973), Mother and Child by the Sea, 1901

Max Pechstein (1881 - 1955), Sunset, 1921 - 1922

Joan Miro (1893 - 1983), At the Bottom of the Shell, 1948

21 May 2017

Igael Tumarkin ~ יגאל תומרקין

Igael Tumarkin's sculpture entitled Holocaust and Revival has a prominent place in the center of Rabin Square in Tel Aviv.  It is a very visually pleasing work of art.  In the photograph above, an ecological pool with water lilies can be seen adjacent to this large scale sculpture.  The ecological pool with its Koi Carp fish complements the sculpture and provides an oasis of calm and a place for reflection and contemplation in this central city location.

Peter Martin Gregor Heinrich Hellberg (later Igael Tumarkin) was born in Dresden, Germany. His father, Martin Hellberg, was a German theater actor and director. His mother, Berta Gurevitch and his stepfather, Herzl Tumarkin, immigrated to Mandate Palestine when he was two. Tumarkin served in the Israeli Navy.  After completing his military service, he studied sculpture in Ein Hod, a village of artists near Mount Carmel.  His youngest son is actor Yon Tumarkin. 

Among Tumarkin's best known works are the Holocaust and Revival memorial in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv and his sculptures commemorating fallen soldiers in the Negev.  Tumarkin is also a theoretician and stage designer. In the 1950s, Tumarkin worked in East Berlin, Amsterdam, and Paris. Upon his return to Israel in 1961, he became a driving force behind the break from the charismatic monopoly of lyric abstraction there. Tumarkin created assemblages of found objects, generally with violent Expressionist undertones and decidedly unlyrical color. His determination to be "different" influenced his younger Israeli colleagues. 

19 May 2017

Ben Gurion ~ בן גוריון

A curious, humorous statue of Ben Gurion (the first Prime Minister of Israel) doing a head stand can be found on Frishman Beach.  For people who do not know the history behind this symbolic image it may seem like rather an odd way to remember a former PM of Israel.  Remarkably, I am currently reading a book by Dr Norman Doidge entitled "The Brain's Way of Healing" and there was a direct reference to this on page 179.  Here is an extract from this book which explains Ben Gurion's actions.  "Feldenkrais's reputation grew.  A friend of Avraham Baniel's, Aharon Katzir, a scientist who made major contributions to neuroplasticity, took a great interest in Feldenkrais's work.  He passed the information on to the Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion, and in 1957 Feldenkrais took Ben-Gurion on as his pupil.  The seventy-one-year-old Ben Gurion suffered from sciatica and low back pain so severe he could barely rise to speak in Parliament.  After some lessons, Ben-Gurion was able to leap up onto tanks to give speeches to the troops.  Since Feldenkrais's house was near the sea, Ben-Gurion, before turning to matters of state, would go for a morning swim, then see Feldenkrais for his lessons.  Once, Feldenkrais had him stand on his head.  A photo of the elderly prime minister on his head on a Tel Aviv beach was used in an election and seen all over the world."

5 May 2017

Shabbat ~ Sabbath ~ שַׁבָּת

Observing the closing havdalah ritual in 14th-century Spain. Author Unknown - Detail from a miniature in the Barcelona Haggadah, British Library Add MS 14761, fol. 26.  This work is in the public domain. BL Add MS 14761

The working week in Israel is from Sunday until Thursday.  Friday and Saturday are the weekend.  As an expatriate living here initially it took a little while to get used to this but it's amazing how quickly one adapts and accepts the way of life in a new country.  

 In Israel, as well as adapting to a different working week we were introduced to the concept of Shabbat which begins at sunset on Friday evening and lasts until sunset on Saturday evening.  The word Shabbat means rest or cessation in Hebrew.  In Judaism, it is the seventh day of the week and a day of rest "Shabbat observance entails refraining from work and work activites, oftern with great rigor, and engaging in restful activities to honor the day.  According to halakha (Jewish religious law), Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night  Shabbat is ushered in by lighting candles and reciting a blessing. Traditionally, three festive meals are eaten: in the evening, in the early afternoon, and late in the afternoon. The evening meal typically begins with a blessing called kiddush and another blessing recited over two loaves of challah. Shabbat is closed the following evening with a havdalah blessing. Shabbat is a festive day when Jews exercise their freedom from the regular labors of everyday life. It offers an opportunity to contemplate the spiritual aspects of life and to spend time with family.

Shabbat is much more than a day of cessation from work.  There are strict guidelines as to what people of the Jewish faith can and cannot do on this day and there is also a list of 39 categories of prohibited activities known as מְלָאכָה melakha.  I would suggest that those people who are interested in learning more about Judaism and Shabbat ought to read the link below and also carry out their own research on the internet.

From Thursday onwards, it is customary to wish people "Shabbat Shalom" which literally means have a peaceful Sabbath.
שבת שלום ~ Shabbat Shalom 

3 May 2017

Making the world a better place one limb at a time ...

This blog is about an uplifting and inspirational article I just read on the BBC.  It was first reported by Zoe Kleinman, technology reporter in December 2016.  The article is entitled, "The garden shed full of helping hands".  It tells the story of two entrepreneurs who have set up a business called, Team Unlimited and are making 3D-printed limbs in a small garden shed.  "Stephen Davies, the owner of the shed, is a CAD (computer-aided design) engineer and father of three.  He was himself born without a hand.  It was his own research for a prosthetic that led him to Drew Murray, an IT consultant from Milton Keynes who is part of a volunteer network called e-Nable  that makes free 3D prosthetics for children."  A young girl called Isabella is a grateful recipient of a prosthetic arm by Team Unlimited.  You can see the sheer joy and delight when she tries on her arm for the first time.  Her mother, Sarah says, "the confidence it gave her was amazing."

This story was inspirational on many levels.  It reinforces the proverb,
 "Where there's a will there's a way".
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