Israeli-American exhibit settles in Palo Alto

With the donation of 10 framed prints from Israel to Palo Alto’s Moldaw Residences, Congregation Kol Emeth surpassed its initial goal of establishing a deeper connection between its members and Israelis. 

The prints are photographic enlargements of works by artists in Israel’s Arava region that were part of a collaborative exhibit by approximately 10 Israelis and 12 members of the Palo Alto Conservative congregation.

After meeting for study with their respective rabbis and then together via Skype, the artists came up with a theme, “Journey.”

They then created  works — including fiber art, landscape photography, painting and sculpture — and in 2014 mounted exhibits at the Central Arava Community Center and Kol Emeth, and then the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto. At the close of the exhibition, the Arava artists asked Kol Emeth’s Israel Action Committee to help them locate a Jewish-affiliated housing community where they could donate the prints.

Kol Emeth chose Moldaw Residences at 899 Charleston.

Moldaw residents Samuel Nemirovsky and Irene Abrams, along with Tal Shaked-Cretella (right) of the Jewish National Fund, take a close look at prints. photo/norbert von der groeben

“I knew there were Moldaw residents in our congregation and felt it would be a meaningful connection,” said Barbara Schapira, chairperson of Kol Emeth’s Israel Action Committee. “I hope for the community at Moldaw, and the Jewish community overall, that this installation will provide a sense of closeness with Israel and a curiosity to meet and form relationships with people living in Israel and especially in the Arava region.”

Moldaw resident Carlee Weiss, a retired interior designer, put her skills to use in setting up the exhibit in a hallway where residents and guests can enjoy it. “It was a lovely gesture for Kol Emeth to think of Moldaw,” she said. “I enjoyed having the opportunity to 
play a role in helping to install the prints and I believe the entire 
community will enjoy them.”

Grants from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Ma’alot initiative in 2013 and 2014 helped underwrite the cost of the prints, frames and a closing reception at the Oshman JCC in August 2014.

Kol Emeth’s efforts to strengthen connections to Israel began several years ago “with the kernel of an idea” and a grant for creative Israel educational programming, Schapira said, gradually expanding to include oral history and photo projects, a major fundraising drive for a medical center in the Arava, and the joint art exhibit.

The prints will be on permanent display at the Palo Alto senior community, and can be viewed by the general public by appointment by calling (650) 433-3629.