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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.

Legends of 5779, 2019

אגדות תשע״ט, 2019

Gouache over multimedia, on Claybord panel. 46 x 91.5 cm

The simple wooden recorder became a hero in the newly reborn Hebrew poetry and song.
The Wandering Jew was now romantically depicted as a shepherd in our homeland, guarding the herd with a shepherd’s flute, and often a book.

Before I ever heard the instrument played, I knew about it from children’s books from Israel.
For decades, most school children learned to play it (a little) and were invariably taught songs of that old “Hebrew” genre.

As the new country became modernized, the recorder remains a nostalgic expression of that earlier romance. It still symbolizes the pioneering spirit, and the naive simplicity of walking the footpaths of the “Land of Israel.”

Self Portrait with Triangles 2018

Gouache 35 x 51 cm

A small secret: I gave a color challenge to a new student, to create a colorful painting using just black and three different yellow. The goals were to explore the oxymoron of ”dark yellow”, and how so very much, can be expressed with so few resources.
I always begin teaching with that yellow challenge.then I did it myself. And made a very colorful , pretty work that did not satisfy me at all.

The day after the massacre in Pittsburg, I sat in my studio, struggling to focus on work.
Towards the end of the day, I pulled out this painting. In a fit of urgency, I painted myself over the pattern, first by scrubbing dirty water, then paint. First by memory, then with a mirror.

As always, my selfies contain some brutal honesty. We all need brutal introspection, as individuals, as collectives and as ideological camps.

But what I also discovered, was a way to combine seemingly conflicting art languages that appeal to me: Ornament and Expressionism.

Baa Baaa Baaaa

בע בע ציגאלע מע? מה אתה רוצה לומר? גואש 46*61. למכירה

What Do You Want to Say? gouache 46 x 61 cm. Available.

Persian Bottles 2018.

Gouache 36 x 51 cm. Available.
I painting this more optimistic work, on my familiar theme, just before the current wave of protests against the regime began.
I pray that the brave people in Iran, who are struggling for a more sane and peaceful future, will succeed.

The painting began rotated in the other direction. Rows of now incoherent bottles, were remolded into coherent bottles, facing right side up.
May that be a good sign.