- Written by Pamela Hickman
Taking place for the third time, the Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art is dedicated to exploring the meeting point of contemporary art and Jewish content. It provides a platform for professional artists who make reference to Jewish thought, spirit, tradition or experience to exhibit their work in Jerusalem. Rather than attempting to define current Jewish art, the project aims to discover and stimulate a multitude of creative responses. The present Biennale, taking place in several Jerusalem locations, is showcasing works of artists from Israel, the USA, Russia and India.
- Written by Pamela Hickman
The 52nd Abu Gosh Vocal Music Festival will take place from October 11th to 14th 2017. Singer and conductor Hanna Tzur has been the festival’s musical director since 1995. Concerts are held in the spacious Church of the Ark of the Covenant gracing the Kiryat Yearim hilltop and in the intimate Crypt of the 12th century Benedictine Crusader Church, which nestles in a peaceful, exotic garden.
- Written by GPO
Several Jewish holidays – some of which are full legal holidays in Israel – will take place this year between 20 September-12 October. The Government Press Office would like to provide the following brief summary.
Preparations for the Jewish New Year
The period preceding the Jewish New Year is marked by special penitential prayers, recited before the regular morning prayers, and the blowing of the ram’s horn (shofar in Hebrew) after the morning prayer service. Jews of North African and Middle Eastern origin began to recite these special prayers on 23 August; Jews of European origin began to recite them on 17 September. These special prayers are said daily (except on the New Year holiday itself and the Sabbath) until the day before Yom Kippur (29 October).
Rosh Hashanah (the two-day Jewish new year), the observance of which is mandated by Leviticus 23:23-25, will begin at sunset on Wednesday, 20 September and conclude at nightfall on Friday, 22 September. Both days are marked by special prayers and scriptural readings.
The centerpiece of the Rosh Hashanah service is the blowing of the shofar during morning prayers. (The shofar is not sounded on the Sabbath should either of the two days fall on Saturday.) Both days are full public holidays and, as on the Sabbath, there will be no public transportation or newspapers. In addition, many businesses, museums and other institutions, which are normally open on the Sabbath, will be closed over the holiday. The GPO will be closed on Wednesday-Saturday, 20-23 September.
Rosh Hashanah is also characterized by two special customs. The first is the eating of apple slices dipped in honey, symbolizing the hope that the coming year will be “sweet.” The second involves going to a natural source of flowing water (such as an ocean, river, or spring), reading a selection of scriptural verses and casting pieces of bread into the water – to symbolize the “casting off” of the previous year’s sins; this practice derives from Micah 7:19 (“…and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”) This ceremony takes place on the first day of Rosh Hashanah (or on the second, if the first day falls on the Sabbath).
The Period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
The ten days between New Year and Yom Kippur (inclusive) are known as “The Ten Days of Repentance”. Jewish tradition maintains that this is a time of judgment when all people and nations are called to account for their deeds of the past year, and when their particular fates for the coming year are decided.
The day after the New Year holiday is a day of fasting known as the Fast of Gedaliah, and commemorates the murder of Gedaliah, the Jewish governor of Judea, who was appointed by the Babylonians after they captured Jerusalem in 586 BCE; the episode is recounted in II Kings 25:22-25. When the day after Rosh Hashanah is a Saturday, as it is this year, the fast is postponed by one day. Accordingly, the fast will extend from sunrise on Sunday, 24 September until nightfall the same day. Special scriptural readings are recited, but the day is not a public holiday.
A single Sabbath, known as the “Sabbath of Repentance”, always occurs between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This Sabbath (23 September this year) is marked by a special reading from Hosea 14:2-10, beginning with, “Return, Israel, to the Lord your G-d.”
Yom Kippur (Hebrew for “The Day of Atonement”) begins at sunset on Friday, 29 September, and concludes at nightfall on Saturday, 30 October. Its observance is mandated by Leviticus 16:29-31 and 23:27-32. The holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur is the day on which, according to Jewish tradition, our fates for the coming year are sealed. Synagogue services – centering on the penitential prayers – will continue for most of the day and include special scriptural readings (including the Book of Jonah in the afternoon). Memorial prayers for the deceased, said four times a year, are recited on Yom Kippur. At nightfall, the shofar is sounded once to mark the end of Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur is a full public holiday in Israel and almost all establishments (including the GPO, on Friday-Saturday, 29-30 September) will be closed. There will be no radio or television broadcasts. Since Yom Kippur is a day of introspection, completely separate from the normal course of daily life – the physical aspects of our lives are sublimated while we concentrate on our spiritual concerns – the day is marked by a full (sunset to nightfall) fast. The wearing of leather, the use of cosmetics, bathing and marital relations are likewise forbidden.
The seven-day Sukkot festival, mandated by Leviticus 23:34-35 and 23:39-43, begins at sunset on Wednesday, 4 October and concludes at nightfall on Thursday, 12 October. The first day, from sunset on Wednesday, 4 October, until nightfall on Thursday, 5 October, is a full public holiday. All seven days of the holiday are marked by special prayers and scriptural readings – including the Book of Ecclesiastes, which is read on Saturday, 7 October. Sukkot is a joyful, family oriented holiday, which follows – and provides a contrast to – the somber, introspective and private character of Yom Kippur. Many businesses and institutions will either close or operate on a reduced basis. The GPO will be closed from Wednesday, 4 October, through Saturday, 14 October, and will reopen on Sunday, 15 October.
Sukkot is characterized by two main practices. Jews are enjoined to build, take all of their meals in, and (if possible) sleep in, temporary huts topped with thatch or palm fronds during the festival. These huts (sukkot in Hebrew) commemorate the temporary, portable dwellings in which the Jewish people lived during their 40-year sojourn in the wilderness that followed their liberation from slavery in Egypt. The second main Sukkot observance is the special bouquet – consisting of a closed palm frond, a citron, a myrtle branch and a willow branch – that is held during morning prayers on each of the seven days (except the Sabbath); its origins derive from Leviticus 23:40, many traditional explanations of its symbolism have been cited.
Shemini Atzeret (Simhat Torah)
The Shemini Atzeret (literally “The Eighth Day of Assembly” in Hebrew) holiday immediately follows the last day of Sukkot, beginning at sunset on Wednesday, 11 October and concluding at nightfall on Thursday, 12 October. Its observance is mandated by Leviticus 23:36. It is a full public holiday. (Even though it follows the seven-day Sukkot festival and is often considered part of Sukkot, it is, in fact, a separate holiday. The special bouquet is not used and the obligation to sit in the sukkot no longer applies.) The day’s prayer services include the memorial prayers for the deceased, as well as the prayer for plentiful rainfall during the coming winter.
Shemini Atzeret, however, centers around its special scriptural readings. On Shemini Atzeret, the yearly cycle of Torah (the first five books of the Bible, i.e. Genesis to Deuteronomy, one section of which is read on each Sabbath during the year) readings is both completed and begun anew. This event is accompanied by dancing and singing, sometimes continuing for several hours; in religious neighborhoods, these celebrations often spill out into the streets. Thus, the holiday is also referred to as Simhat Torah (“Rejoicing of the Torah” in Hebrew).
Photo Silvia Golan
- Written by Silvia G Golan
On Monday September 11th, Shwarzkopf Professional brought an international twist to the biggest party of the year.
The event included a senior delegation from Turkey for its first visit, and the presence of Richard Ashforth, the company’s international hairstyling ambassador from the UK, together with local brand ambassadors, for the largest hair show that Israel has ever seen. Over 3,500 guests were invited to see the more than 60 models in a powerful, grandiose hair show.
Ania Bukstein sang in the opening performance, Liron Ravivo marched onstage, and dozens of celebrities danced to the tunes of DJ Tomer Meisner and VINI VICI. With elaborate background lighting and video-art, music and dancing well into the early hours of the morning, the party was said to the most impressive, in quantity and quality, that Israel has ever seen!
A lavish dinner, including cuisine from all over the world and a full assortment of alcoholic beverages, was accompanied by live entertainment, including acrobats, stilt-walkers, fire performers and other artists, and was broadcast live via 4 radio stations.
Schwartzkopf Professional continues to redefine expectations, with more than 3,500 guests gathering at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds for the most outrageous party of the year. Among the firsts: a visit from a senior delegation from Turkey who after hearing about previous events decided they wanted to experience the Shwartzkopf Professional in Israel experience for themselves. The delegation included Viki Motero, CEO of Shwartzkopf Professional in Turkey; Shilah Hefer, marketing manager of Shwartzkopf Professional Turkey, and about 50 leading hairstylists from Turkey who came to participate in the extraordinary event. Morley Sondar, the Middle East-North Africa regional manager for Shwartzkopf International also came to honor this exceptional event, along with Shmulik Cohen, CEO of Shwartzkopf International Israel, and Debby Pesah, the marketing and training director.
Richard Ashforth, the company’s international styling ambassador, also came from abroad, along with a large staff to help prepare the models. Richard is one of the leading hairstylists in the UK, and responsible for preparing the hair in various displays of international fashion during Fashion Week.
A full week was spent preparing the models for the big event, with the large international staff, including Ashforth, Rafael Teplov, Sivan Madmoni, Kobi Borochov, Idan Bar, and Yigal Biton. laboring to prepare the hair of 60 professional models.
The VIP section included Oz Zehavi, Chen Amsalem with Maor Zaguri, Ana Aronov, Shir Elmaleh, Dana Grotzki, Liran Cohener, Liron Revivo and her fiance, Maya Dagan, and Yuval Sharif. Nearby, a radio stand with Amira Buzgalu broadcast the party live to 4 radio stations until midnight: Radio Tel Aviv, Radio Haifa, Radio South, and FM 101.5. The broadcast included feedback from broadcaster Daniel Zioni.
The hair fashion show was divided into 3 large displays, by trends: Black Diamond, Purity, and Tribal, with each then subdivided into 3 individual performances. Black Diamond presented the mysterious, sensual side of the hair, using various techniques to create an aura of mystique and hypnotic appearance.
Purity featured a clean and geometric look, created using a careful combination of colors and fabrics to match the models. Tribal was a tribute to VINI VICI, with the models displaying braiding in a variety of styles and lengths, inspired by African tribes with some Chinese and Mongolian influences.
Just when the show seemed to be over, the lights dimmed and then came back on to reveal all 60 models on podiums, with VINI VICI playing new songs that hadn’t yet been played for the public
Shmulik Cohen, CEO of Shwartzkopf International Israel said that “The tradition continues, with 6 years of success and growth. Shwartzkopf International has become the leading brand in Israel, providing high quality products to a diverse clientele. We are the only company in Israel to produce internationally acclaimed parties for 6 years running, and this time we’ve proven conclusively that we are number 1!”
Debby Pesah, the Marketing and Training Director, added “We’re excited to present the largest hair show ever brought to Israel! Our performance this year is on part with the largest shows that Shwartzkopf International has held anywhere in the world. We are the number 1 company, and will continue to maintain that standard.”
Director: Shai Touboul; Production: Ishonim Production; PR: Harel Moradi
Photos Silvia Golan
- Written by Jonathan Danilowitz
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