ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (April 12, 2013) — The Sabes Jewish Community Center (Sabes JCC), together with the Israel Center of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, will be bringing the exhibit, Hassidic Courts: A Photographic Look Inside Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Communities to the Sabes JCC’s Tychman Shapiro Gallery from June 20 – July 25, 2013.
The Opening Reception will be held June 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public in the Tychman Shapiro Gallery of Sabes Jewish Community Center, 4330 S. Cedar Lake Road, Minneapolis, MN 55416.
As an Israeli photojournalist for the Reuters news agency, Gil Cohen-Magen was assigned in 2001 to take pictures of Jewish New Year’s customs in Mea Shearim, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Jerusalem and a longtime enclave for the Haredi or ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. The experience grew into a decade-long project, during which Cohen-Magen built personal bonds that allowed him unprecedented access to some of Israel’s most cloistered and conservative groups. As doors began to open up for him, he documented rituals, holiday celebrations, weddings, and scenes of everyday life, offering a rare glimpse into their beliefs and rituals.
Cohen-Magen, having grown up in a secular neighborhood of Jerusalem, associated the ultra-Orthodox with modesty guards and blocked roads on the Sabbath. But when he entered the “Haredi Street” he discovered a whole new universe, wonderful in its visual and spiritual aesthetic, broad in its diversity, and vibrant in its everyday life and holiday observances.
A secular Israeli, Cohen-Magen today works as a freelance photojournalist for Haaretz, international newspapers and magazines, and approaches his ultra-Orthodox subjects with genuine curiosity and sensitivity.
“All my life I was accustomed to view the ultra-Orthodox as egotistic and fanatic, but the continuous work of documentation exposed me to other aspects. I was astonished to discover that just a few hundred meters away from my childhood neighborhood was an entire way of life that I knew nothing about, and couldn’t believe that despite my love for the camera, I had never thought to break through the virtual iron wall between us and to photograph. This encounter with the ultra-Orthodox street sharpened my Jewish identity and for that I am grateful. Through these photographs and the stories they tell, I hope to bring both worlds closer, the secular and the ultra-Orthodox. If I lower the wall between them even slightly, then I will have fulfilled my wish,” said Cohen-Magen.
Gil Cohen-Magen is a photojournalist whose photographs have graced the front pages of some of the world’s leading newspapers and magazines. With a portfolio that ranges from the most violent scenes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to the closed world of ultra-Orthodox Hassidim, Cohen-Magen has captured the many faces of the Holy Land through his lens. A graduate of the Hadassah College of Jerusalem’s Photography program, Cohen-Magen spent 10 years working with the Reuters news agency. Born in 1971, Cohen-Magen lives in the city of Modiin, Israel.
Currently on display is JCC’s Shared Walls Exhibition Areas with works by Uruguay artist, Bernard Korzeniak from June 13 through July 25, 2013.
The works of Bernard Korzeniak, professor of art and graphic design at ORT University of Uruguay, will be on display in the Sabes JCC’s Shared Walls exhibition areas from June 13 through July 25, 2013. Korzeniak’s intense exploration of Jewish identity in muted tones are shown in galleries, cultural centers, Jewish Institutions, Museums, and public & private collections around the world.
A dream-like Jerusalem cityscape, crafted from paint and scraps of Hebrew-language newspapers, perches above its ancient walls. An ornamented Hamsa (hand amulet), upon closer inspection transforms itself into a school of fish and a cluster of letters. These atmospheric pieces are among 20 of Korzeniak’s paintings and paper-fabric collages on display at the Sabes JCC.
“I use Hebrew newspapers in collages,” said Korzeniak, “because they lend a deeper, stronger symbolism to the theme I’m rendering.” He has incorporated the mystical world of kabbalah into his art, his depiction of fish inside other fish he explains, reflects the infinite nature of life.
Korzeniak was born in Uruguay in 1971, descending from Polish and Romanian Jews who emigrated in the 1920’s. He started his art studies in Montevideo, Uruguay at the Clever Lara Studio, Arditti Studio Art Club, Berta Fernandez Musical Center, Violinist Liber Fernandez, and later intensified his art studies through travels to museums around the World. He has been studying and researching art, especially Jewish Art, Graphic Design, Architecture, Photography, Art History, Sculpture, Painting, Engraving, Music and new technologies on Digital Graphics since 1979. Korzeniak is a professor of art and graphic design at ORT University of Uruguay.
The Sabes JCC is a multifaceted community center offering educational, social, cultural, recreational, and fitness to the entire community. Program and service areas include early childhood center, health & fitness, recreation, Jewish arts & humanities, senior services, afterschool programs, day camp, special events and more. The Sabes JCC strives to nurture life balance in an inclusive Jewish environment where everyone is welcome.