Ezra Tzahor, photographer, teacher at Nofei Habsor, kibbutznik who lives in Kibbutz Revivim, recently had a show at the White House, Nir-Oz.
I spoke to Ezra about his work focusing on the Bedouin population and the desert environment that he loves.
Judih: Ezra, can you tell me something about the current Exhibit?
Ezra: I’m constantly biking around the area with my camera. In the Revivim area, there’s a large Bedouin population. And I endeavour to photograph what’s going on, within our population and around us. The Bedouin have a very difficult life, without legal status or rights and they are angry to the degree of hatred.
I try to capture the images of what is really going on, with the Jewish population and the Bedouin. At the same time, my intention is to be an agent, or go-between. I wish to mediate between two sides, two groups of human beings
Judih: Do you feel that you are being heard? Do people have questions? Are they taking an interest?
Ezra: People are listening. They get angry, but they listen. There are those who believe that I’m exaggerating on either sides. Yet I know that eventually what I’m saying will penetrate people’s consciousness.
Judih: Have any newspapers taken up your cause? Is there anything written?
Ezra: Very little. I say this: Over Tel Aviv, there’s an Iron Dome, impossible to penetrate. You want to get through, but it’s impossible.
Judih: You can’t break that bubble.
Ezra: Exactly, even if you have something to say, something truly deserving to be heard,
Judih: Do you know if something has been written in the English press? Perhaps some response from out of the country?
Ezra: I don’t think so, but I’d like to find a way to spread the word to English-speakers.
Judih: Well, this blog might find a small audience, maybe 20 people or so!
Ezra: It doesn’t matter how many, even 20 people is good!
Judih: Is there something in particular you’d like readers outside of this immediate area to know?
Ezra: As I wrote in my artist’s statement for this show, people find it very difficult to relate to the camera; as if the camera is an enemy. This is true for Jews as well as Bedouin. Apparently, they’ve got something to hide, and that is what I’m searching for, what lies underneath. Both sides are the same, and essentially need to stop being foolish.
This week, for example, on our Kibbutz fence,there was a war between the Bedouin and the local councils. Highly unnerving. There I am biking around, and it’s not always with a good feeling.
Judih: or a feeling of safety.
Ezra: or safety. And after this week, I feel even more uncertain.
Judih: What exactly happened?
Ezra: Government officials came to issue demolition warrants on illegal housing and there was huge opposition. The Bedouin threw stones and there was gunfire, right on our Kibbutz fence. It’s terrible.
Revivim exists with that volatile fence and tunnels and trenches. It’s terrible.
Still I am trying to build relationships, but I’m only one man, a small force and it’s extremely difficult to encourage change.
Judih: Do you have any suggestions as to how to recruit support?
Ezra: My dream is to establish a home, like Haim Perry has done with the White House on Nir-Oz, between Revivim and Bir-Hadaj, their area. There I want to offer art activities for groups of Jews and Bedouin. That’s my dream. With such activity, it’s possible to develop cooperation.
Judih: That sounds wonderful! Is it possible, is there some viable way to develop this project?
Ezra: Haim suggested something and I’ll start to work in that direction; perhaps the Peres Center for Peace. And I need to find someone who can locate the resources for developing this idea.
Judih: Excellent. Good luck and thank you.
Ezra has an online gallery here.
To contact Ezra, feel free to write him @ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mustache Theatre!
Eshkol Council Youth Theatre has done it again!
“The Newspaper” (העיתון) is this year’s play. I spoke to Dor Nahum, a member of the Mustache Theatre about the play.
Judih: Hi Dor. Could you introduce yourself?
Dor:: My name is Dor Nahum. I’m 16 1/2 years old. I live in Moshav Eshelim (http://www.negev-net.org.il/HTMLs/article.aspx?C2004=12616) in the area of Ramat Negev or Nitzana. My hobbies: I love photography, and bike-riding in the area and, of course, sleeping.
J: Tell me about The Mustache Theatre – (Teatron haSafam) – what is it, how long has it been active?
D: The Mustache Theatre has been active for quite a while – more than a decade. The theatre is for teenagers from Grade 8 till 12. It’s a theatre group for people who love theatre. They come and participate in all kinds of acting exercises, acting, drama play, fooling around and just enjoying themselves. Of course, every so often, we perform a play
J: Okay. Who are the professionals you work with?
D: We have a director, Yaacov Amsalem. He’s everything for us – our director, someone who makes us laugh, and organizes everything. There’s Arieh, in charge of our finances, and who arranges the logistics of where and when we perform, all the technical details.
J:What play did you do last year?
D: Last year’s play was I am Me, a play that I unfortunately wasn’t a part of. But it was very successful
J: Where did you perform last year?
D: it was performed in the Bat Yam Theatre Festival, and won Honourable Mention. And this year, I’m in the play.
J: Tell me about your current play. How did it begin?
D: This year’s play is called The Newspaper. It’s a play that’s based on all the newspapers for youth – like Ma’ariv leNoar and others that deal with stories about and for teens – funny stories, stories about problems between teens and their parents who try to get close to them.
J: How did you begin work on the script?
D: We worked with a scriptwriter who watched us do warm-ups and exercises in our rehearsals. Then we went to books and took texts from there. If it was Meshkenat Tzedek or Ha Na’an Ve Aru (from India) from the Tea House from the book Cunchiat ha Kesem. (The Magic Shell)
We took all kinds of books and constructed the texts of the play.
J: Who was the scriptwriter?
D: I don’t remember the name. But he sat with Ya’acov our director and chose parts for everyone.
J: I see. Is there anything else you want to add about the process?
D: Actually it was a really short process – from the first read-through of the script till performance. We barely had to time to rehearse or run through the script. And after only 2 weeks, we already went to perform in Bat Yam, at the Festival.
D: And we got another Honourable Mention! From the Directors of the Festival and from the Critics.
J: Do you have a monologue? Can you tell me about it?
D: Yes, I have a part. I was Aru, the owner of the Indian Tea House. And I’d verbally abuse a young Indian. Young Indian, Tea House – everything must run perfectly. If within 3 minutes the tea doesn’t get to the client, well then he’ll go to another Tea House. So, all the time I tell him, go there, go over there. I played the “bad guy”.
J: Did you enjoy playing him?
Dor: Yes, but on the other hand no. When I walked around, half the girls came to me crying that I was a bad man, an evil man.
And I’d say, half-cynically,”Okay”….
J: Yes, how did it really feel.
D: It was weird. On one hand, it was wait a minute, I’m not really like that, but on the other hand it was great – it really made them feel something. One friend told me that if people in the audience yelled to me: “Stop getting him crazy, stop sending him from side to side”, then it really meant that you succeeded in being believable.
J: Yes, you really did it! And congratulations
D: Yes, and we performed here in the Eshkol Auditorium, we also managed to get the message across, very well! Rami (Zvilli, Jr. High Principal of Nofei Habsor) said to me that I can take over his job.
J: You succeeded to that extent! Good for you.
J: How did you prepare for your role as Aru?
D:.The truth is that I was myself, as a mean human being, that I didn’t have to consider him or his needs, but only that he needs to work on schedule and I listened to the Director. Ya’acov gave me very clear directions, to emphasize things, to move in a certain way
J: Okay. So you brought it from within yourself.
J: So tell me more about the play. Is it about the relationship between parents and their children?
D: Yes the whole story is about a couple who go to see the school counselor and he tells them about the problems at school, academic and social and how he doesn’t do anything. He asks where its coming from, if its due to circumstances at home, or some other place. And that the parents have to learn how to communicate. He gives then a paper ‘The Newspaper’ and there they read articles about how to relate to their son.
J: Were there parents who came to you and said that they related to the idea?
D: Yes, someone came up to the director and admitted that it was true
J: Excellent. No doubt there were others who felt the same.
J: Do you think the Mustache Theatre will be doing this play next year?
D: No every year we do a new play, with fresh ideas. If there’s a huge demand, then there’s a chance we would give another performance. It’s a really good play. We have another performance on June 15th at Kibbutz Kerem Shalom.
J: Okay, now speaking personally, what was your favourite part of the play?
D: To stand in front of the audience, to act, and to see that they got the message, that they were really attentive and didn’t disrupt us.
Part 4: Future and other Comments
J: What are your plans for next year?
D: I plan to continue with the Mustache Theatre because I really enjoy it there, even though I live quite far. There’s a great atmosphere and the people really enjoy theatre. But even if someone doesn’t think they have a sense for theatre, they can still come. It’s free and whoever comes is welcome. Come, take a look, and if you enjoy it, stay!
J: so you love it!
Dor: I love it. It’s not the first time that I’m involved in theatre. Since the 8th grade I’ve been doing theatre, directing plays for the local council or in Ashkelon with a friend of mine, a scriptwriter, who asked me to direct his play, That play was well received. We also performed it in Ashdod and we received a lot of good feedback.
Theatre is the one thing that I’d give anything for.
J: Do you see yourself working in theatre in the future?
Dor: Yes, as an actor, or a director.
J: Great. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Dor: I hope that people will see the play, that they’ll come because it’s fun. We laugh and enjoy ourselves. It’s for those with a theatrical sense and even for those who don’t! Come, take a look, and give it a try. It’s fun!
J: Where do you do your rehearsals?
D: For the plays, it’s in Moshav Amioz or in Nir Itzhak in the Little theatre. The workshop is on Mondays here at school (Nofei Habsor Comprehensive), from 4:30 – 6:30. And it’s worth coming.
J: Okay! Good luck to you, Dor. Thanks so much for talking to me.
Judih Speaks to Dor Nahum in Hebrew, on youtube!
I didn’t want to post about rocket attacks, etc, so I’ve been silent lately.
But this is a wonderful piece about mud-brick builders recreating a marvelous palace atmosphere in the Waldorf!
Remember JR, the winner of the TED Prize for ‘movers and shakers’ in 2011? Well, I do. And I showed that TED talk to a number of students hoping to inspire them to proclaim themselves through art.
He was in Israel last week to support the March for Millions held last Saturday, Sept 3.
Read the article!
Get on the bandwagon. Yallah!
Bezalel turns Israel into giant art gallery – Israel Culture, Ynetnews.
Bezalel turns Israel into giant art gallery
Leading academy of arts and design presents biggest ever outdoor exhibition in Israel. President ‘hugely proud of wonderful work that our students produce’
Published: 02.16.11, 14:38 / Israel Culture
Bezalel, Israel’s leading academy of art and design, and one of the top art schools in the world, is turning the whole of Israel into an art gallery, from February 16 to 26.
Some 1600 students from all eight of Bezalel’s art and design departments will contribute one piece of artwork to the largest outdoor exhibition ever in Israel. Each piece of art is being reproduced on billboards and they will be distributed and displayed across the country.
An interview with poet Martina Newberry!
Permanent link available here: http://scriptorpress.com/spiritplantsradio/judih/12.04.2010.mp3
Spirit World Restless with DJ judih features Martina Newberry on its inaugural show.
Tune in to Spirit Plants Radio at http://spfradio.yage.net.
Martina answers questions and reads some of her poems, including a six-pack of work from her latest book: Late Night Radio, which will soon be reviewed here.
Tune into Spirit World Restless at these times:
est: Saturday 2:15 pm est / Sunday 6:15 a.m.
pst: Saturday 11:15 a.m. /Sunday 3:15 a.m
Tel Aviv time: Saturday 9:15 p.m. / Sunday 13:15 p.m
And somewhere in between for other parts of the ever-listening world.
Stay tuned for further details!
Spirit Plants radio broadcasts 24/7 at http://spfradio.yage.net
is a grand prize winner of the Philips Tell It Your Way Competition.
Have a look.
This is the poster for ‘I am Who I am’, a performance by the Mustache Theatre.
The last time I saw the community Mustache Theatre perform was during Operation Cast Lead. The performance at that time was based on authentic fears and experiences during a time when we, in this area, were experiencing constant rocket attacks, usually early morning as children boarded their school buses or in the evening when a family was home, without access to a fallout shelter. Those dreadful times bred deep fears that were compounded with every boom.
At that time, the Mustache Theatre offered a forum for kids to pen their anxieties and shape them into skits. With every rehearsal and later every performance, this drama therapy worked its magic. Talking about fears released the pressure. “Red Alert” (Tzeva Adom) was the resultant play.
Now, two years afterwards, rocket attacks are fewer and other problems have stepped into the foreground. Last night’s performance of “I Am Who I Am” focused on individual stories of normal everyday kids.
One was embarrassed because of her Russian roots. She only wanted to be like every other Israeli teenager. Another had an eating disorder. A third coped with a mother with diagnosed schizophrenia. And on it went. Each character had his or her moment to express dilemmas or pain within the environment of a youth camp.
The script, based on the participants’ stories, was edited into final form by Na’ama Goren. Direction was by Ya’acov Amsalem, himself brandishing the mustache for which the troupe was named.
Actors: Yonatan Malchi, Yonatan Segal, Ya’ara Melinski, Liron Malchi, Mor Lavie, Miri Sosnovski, Nisanit Cohen, Idan Hameiri, Shirli Vinogradov and Tom Segal are all students in Nofei Habsor Comprehensive School, ranging in age from 13 – 17.
The backing for this project comes from the heart and soul of one woman, Aliza Ben Yehuda, who works with the Eshkol Regional Council in the Youth Social Services Department. She, in her wisdom, saw that theatre was an immediate remedy for alienation during troubled times, and through her efforts, the theatre group was created ten years ago and has been nurtured ever since by other members of the Youth Social Services branch.
After the performance, the participants offered thanks to all of the adults who gave them a hand, to one of their fellow actors, Dvir, who acted as Assistant Director.
The show was enthusiastic, clearly a labour of love for all involved. This troupe generally performs in national festivals throughout Israel and I expect they will be on the road with the show in the near future.
– Judih, talking now for Let My People Know