Painting the Fence

February 11, 2013 at 10:20 am, by

Jewish Eyes On The Arts (recently called “Oholiav”) is undergoing some exciting changes–including a major facelift for the website. Between the big changes for Jewish Eyes On The Arts and my own personal life (there will be a wedding at the end of the summer at the end of which my marital status will be different), I’ve been busy (hence, shortage of blog posts by me).

In the hustle and bustle of all of this, we did not yet get a chance to a highlighted a trip Timna and I took at the end of the year.

On December 27, Timna and I found ourselves at Kibbutz Hanaton, where a new mechinah program for 20 young Israeli adults was just launched. Already graduated from high school but not yet in the army (where Israelis typically serve before entering college), the mechinistim (i.e. the participants in the mechinah) are deeply engaged in leadership training and questions about their identity as Israelis, as Jews and as world citizens.

Jewish Eyes On The Arts was very graciously invited to Hanaton’s mechinah by Itai Capsouto, who heads this mechinah that was just launched at the end of 2012. While visiting the mechinah, Timna and I facilitated two sessionsThe Hebrew "Rak kakh" means "only like this." A violent attitude at one side of the fence.

In the afternoon, Timna headed up a seminar about protest art and political art–using art as media for social change.

The can reads "shetachim," meaning "territories." A comment on Israeli settlement in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.At the end of the seminar, we brought out spray paint canisters and posters, and the mechinistim were divided into two groups: one expressing the Israeli side of an imitation separation fence (the infamous fences that separate the West Bank and the Gaza Strip from the less-disputed parts of Israel), and one group spray-painting the fence’s Palestinian side. (Check out some of the images right here.)

One team at work.More mechinistim at Hanaton at work at another side of the fence.

In the evening, I got a few volunteers to help out with an Erev Yerushalayim Habirah Venashirah (a slight pun on an Erev Birah Venashirah–“Night of Beer and Song”–what we put on was a “Night of Jerusalem the Capital and Song”). With a few snacks and refreshments here and there, we sang a whole slew of songs with different takes on Jerusalem–a metaphorical Jerusalem (Bob Marley‘s “Rivers of Babylon”), a boring Jerusalem (Hinneh Ani Ba–“Here I Come”–by Hadag Nahash), an idealized Jerusalem (Naomi Shemer‘s “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav“–“Jerusalem of Gold”), among many others.

I still can’t believe how fun it was to get to know the mechinistim for a day, and I can only hope that we’ll find some good time to collaborate again soon.

Also… ::drumroll:: keep on the lookout for the launch of the website of Mabat Yehudi Veyisra’eli Al Ha’omanuyot (literally, something like “A Jewish-Israeli Perspective On The Arts”–מבט יהודי וישראלי על האמנויות)–Jewish Eyes On The Arts’ work in Israel and for Israelis the world over.

And stay tuned… regular Jewish Eyes On The Arts blogging will resume shortly!

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