Once upon a time, groups of young idealists left their parents’ homes in the Exile of Europe. They left to create a new egalitarian, socialist and secular society, in the land of our Forefathers.


A confident and muscular new generation of  “Hebrew Youth” was needed, prepared for a life of cooperative living and self sacrifice.
The solution was raising Kibbutz children in communal Children’s Houses. In their communal stroller-playpens, childen traveled from barn to machine shop to hills of wild flowers, absorbing appreciation of nature and labor.


Then I found a photo, that challenged this often told story of fierce youth rebellion.


It seems that not everyone left their parents behind. Some older folks joined the renaissance, and became Halutzim Pioneers themselves.
In 1924 Ein Harod was struggling, and adult members still lived in tents. Yet resources were found to build this kosher dining room, complete with a Torah ark to respect their needs.

This evocative photo generated a pair of paintings:


Waving the Generations 2018

2018 Gouache and gold leaf on kaolin coated panels. 46 x 91.5 cm

The word hanafa, means waving, like waving a flag or playfully tossing a baby up in the air. But in the Bible it is associated with the cerimonial “waving” of sacrificial offerings of the altar in the Holy Temple.
Thus the  “waving”of children, like the Binding of Isaac, became a powerful symbols in Israeli art and poetry, for of the loss of young lives, in war and terror.

Perhaps more things were sacrificed, as the new Israeli identity replaced the old?
Or are we an innovate link, in a very strong chain of uncountable generations?

To make my point, I quoted images from the 6th century synagogue mosaic, found in Bet Alfa, quite near Ein Harod. The mosaic’s Holy Ark replaces the simple curtained cabinet in the photo. The mosaic’s Isaac is now that infant playfully “waved” by his father on the modern Kibbutz lawn.

“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” That places a big obligation on every individual link.


The Tin Platter 2018

2018 Gouache and gold leaf on kaolin coated panels. 46 x 91.5 cm

After 2 generations, the Kibbutz movement faced a crisis. Israeli society has other role models. Children’s Houses are long shuttered and the famous Kibbutz lifestyle has become commuter real estate.

“The Tin Platter” is a paraphrase on Nathan Alterman’s poem about fallen soldiers.
“We are the silver platter, upon which you were given the State of the Jews.”
Now, it is the turn of the Kibbutzim that had sacrificed so many young sons, to be offered upon a dull dented platter. Their iconic Kova Tembel cap, lies inverted, like the crow of fallen king.

I am still working on this painting series. Beginning with the flute players shared last month, I will be examining more romances and values, and yes also miracles, as Jewish-Israeli society continues to redefine itself.