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Young Photographers Engage the World

What does it mean to be a wonder of the



Young Photographers Engage the World


KIVUNIM photography

KIVUNIM Press New York - Jerusalem



Copyright Š 2010 KIVUNIM: New Directions First Edition, February 2010 All rights reserved Published in the United States of America KIVUNIM Press New York, NY Book designed and edited by Asher Krell and Brian Blumenthal COVER PHOTO CREDITS Front Cover (from left): Dana Wimpfheimer (Berlin, Germany); Barry Rosekind (Budapest, Hungary); Liatte Dotan, (Atlas Mountains, Morocco) Back Cover: Adina Menashe (Dead Sea, Israel)

KIVUNIM: New Directions is an academic year-long program for pre-college students seeking to forge a lifelong relationship with Israel and the Jewish People through travel across the world - gaining understanding of other cultures, religions and worldviews in order to develop “world-consciousness” while enhancing and enriching the development of our students’ Jewish Identity. KIVUNIM gives voice to a Zionism for the 21st century as a central focus of our educational program that enables our students to become strong, confident, and hopeful advocates for a Middle East of cooperation, mutual acceptance and peace. We use our international travel, academic course of study, social responsibility/coexistence programming, and spiritual and Jewish life experience to encourage our graduates to interpret the past and understand the present in order to give form and content to the Jewish person for the future. KIVUNIM believes that Jewish Education must  take place within a context of lofty goals and aspirations filled with optimism, tempered by reality and encouraged by the understanding that words have power and that betterment of the world is the central goal of the Jewish people and its religious and national tradition.


Acknowledgements This book (and its eponymous exhibit) has been in the making for over three years. KIVUNIM: New Directions was envisioned as a shared experience that affects communities beyond the program's participants, and the KIVUNIM exhibits (first at Beth Hatefutsoth: the Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora in Israel and now at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan) are invaluable tools for us to impart our newfound knowledge and understanding of the world to other communities we feel strongly connected to.

Here, Hero Israel- Building World Consciousness: The Jew Amongst the Nations" and "One World, Worlds Apart," which would not have been possible without the support of Dr. Shlomi Ravid, former Director of the International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies at Beth Hatefutsoth. We would also like to thank Megan Whitman and Karen Sander of the JCC in Manhattan and its Director, Rabbi Joy Levitt, for allowing us to bring our experiences back home to the United States, so that they may be exhibited in the worldly city of New York.

With all the hard work and long nights that have gone into making this book a reality, several people in particular must be thanked for their endless help and guidance.

Before the production of this book began, there were a number of people who made possible the experience that brought about the photographs and texts exhibited.

Tobi, none of this would have been possible without your unending guidance and knowledge that is truly reflected in the beauty of this ambitious project. The countless hours you have put into each and every detail of this and the previous exhibitions are appreciated to the greatest degree, and you deserve gratitude for the time you constantly contribute toward something you believe in so deeply.

Lea, Tal, Eran, and Amal, our fearless senior staff, you have made an unbelievable impact on all of us and forever changed our lives. It is through your love and devotion to KIVUNIM that students like us are able to build our world consciousness.

Peter, thank you for your support and backing of all our endeavors and for helping us to understand our full potential. So many dreams would never have become reality without your strong belief in the power of a single person. To everyone who participated in the editing process, we thank you for your contributions—no matter how small—to this project. Your suggestions and edits were greatly appreciated and helped to make this book the masterpiece you have in front of you. We truly appreciate the Board of Trustees and the benefactors of KIVUNIM who have made this exhibit possible and who have graciously provided the funding to support our participation in the KIVUNIM program. "Imagination: Young Photographers Engage the World" is, at the surface, a compilation of visual and textual expressions from the first three years (2006-2009) of the KIVUNIM: New Directions program. This third KIVUNIM exhibit builds upon the previous exhibits "Hear,

Along with these important program administrators, the many staff involved in the daily life of students must not be forgotten. For many of us these staff members help to mold the experience into the life changing event it is. We would also like to thank the KIVUNIM students. Each of you is seen through your own personal expression in your photographs, and you must be thanked for believing in KIVUNIM, for without you none of this would exist. Finally, we would like to thank you, our readers, who approach this book with an open mind about our global community. We firmly believe that it is through sharing these experiences together we are going to bring about great and positive change to the world. May this book engage and inspire your imagination. Brian Blumenthal (2007-08) and Asher Krell (2008-09) February 2010

Facing Page: Adin Lenchner (Delphi, Greece)


KIVUNIM Director's Introduction To visit another country is to encounter different languages, costumes,

Their academic studies of Arabic, Hebrew, the history and contemporary issues

art, architecture, music, food, and culture. “ImagiNation: Young Photographers

of the Middle East, and “Building World Consciousness through the Jewish Lens,”

Engage the World” is a journey of the eyes and the heart. It is an experience of

allow them to discover a subtle yet distinctive propensity of the Jewish people to

the senses. How ironic that Jews were so similar yet so distinguished from their

adapt to and adopt from the majority cultures and religions of their “homelands

countrymen, but at the same time so different and so alike to each other across

in exile.” Woven throughout is an intense encounter with Judaism through both

the globe. It is assumed that identity is formed and solidified by sameness and

text and tradition. Israel is at the center of this year-long experience, and they

security; ironically, the Jewish experience suggests that identity may be found at

are drawn back to it from each international trip with increasing intensity and

the borders between ourselves and “the other.” Jewish peoplehood is strongest

engagement. Israel truly becomes their home.

when seen against the tableau of the multi-cultural environment of the Jewish

KIVUNIM’s purpose is to produce young people empowered with an

Diaspora, where it has grown and been nourished over the millennia despite

idealistic view of the world—a view fueled by the passion of the Prophets and

recurring physical and spiritual challenges.

guided by the values and practices of Judaism. KIVUNIM seeks to re-establish

These photographs and reflections, taken and written by students on the

the lost link to the history of the Jewish people throughout the world, sharing the

KIVUNIM: New Directions gap-year program, capture not only what they saw but

noble and creative story of Jewish communities. KIVUNIM’s open and engaging

also what they felt. The photographs freeze the encounter with the other and the

approach helps to minimize fear and maximize comfort with people, cultures,

self that is at the heart of the KIVUNIM experience. Can the camera in the Jewish

and religions that are different from our own, both as Americans and as Jews.

hand capture a scene without historical consciousness being present? Can the

KIVUNIM seeks to inspire a new generation of creative and independent thinkers

photograph of a Jewish site or person ever present itself in less than particular

who will articulate new ideas, build new institutions, and chart new directions for

and universal terms?

the Jewish people of the 21st century.

KIVUNIM students live at Beit Shmuel within minutes of the Old City of Jerusalem. Their journeys take them to ten different countries: Greece, Bulgaria,

Peter A. Geffen

Morocco, Spain, Turkey, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, and India.

Founder and Executive Director, KIVUNIM


Students’ Introduction

Every one of us who has experienced the KIVUNIM: New Directions program—

of reality and envisioning how we might have a positive impact on it.

along with our loved ones who see the pictures and feel the energy in our voices

The following collection of words and images, of close-up snapshots and

when we tell our stories—can testify to the quality of the growth process, the ever

immediate reactions alongside zoomed-out panoramas and deep reflections, is a

challenging and enriching routine we called life during those months. Our Kivunim

presentation of our attempt to contribute to an ever-growing aggregate report on that

experience was at once an investment in tradition and innovation, past and future,

reality. The Kivunim experience and our ongoing pursuit of the depths of our roots

memory and imagination.

and the healthiest future for the Jewish people and the world have proven richer and

"ImagiNation: Young Photographers Engage the World" focuses on the role

more complex than we could have ever truly anticipated. Nevertheless, in striving to

Kivunim has played in our lives as a catalyst—both inspiring creativity and inviting us

capture moments in photography, put our ideas into words, and make our dreams

to grapple with little-known aspects of reality. In endearing ourselves to dimensions of

reality, we have learned never to settle for failure of imagination.

Israel and threads of the Jewish people’s story that we never knew existed—including people and stories of all cultures and religions, spanning as many millennia as

Ben Perlstein

continents—we learned to appreciate our common stake in exploring the complexity

KIVUNIM 2008-09

Above: Benjamin Schwarz (Moscow, Russia)


“‘Would you do it differently next time?’ ‘No.’ No explanation, no elaboration. No hesitation, all smiles.” Danny Starosta


From Left: Zach Nanus (Athens, Greece); Rachelle Grossman (Veria, Greece); Barry Rosekind (Jerusalem, Israel); Anna Goldberg (Afyonkarahisar, Turkey)



Facing Page: Brian Blumenthal (Sarnath, India); Top Left (clockwise): Micha Stettin (Agra, India); Adam Sheinman (Sahara Desert, Morocco); Talya Frankel (Casablanca, Morocco); Naomi Reimer (Salonika, Greece)


Anna Goldberg When I came to live in Jerusalem, like many Jews, I found the history and spirituality of the Kotel awe-inspiring. However, as I have lived in Jerusalem over the course of the year, my relationship with the Kotel has proved to be in a constant state of change. As I have experienced the political and personal issues that influence Jewish life, my opinions have changed. The following excerpts illustrate two incredible moments that I have had at the Kotel as a woman this year. Both are very different, as I have experienced Jerusalem as a resident rather than a tourist. 10/24/2008 Tonight we went to the Kotel (Western Wall) to bring in Kabbalat Shabbat. Once I got there, I walked over to the women’s section to recite the Amidah next to the Wall. My friend and I finished praying and then made our way back to the Kotel Plaza, where the rest of Kivunim was doing Kabbalat Shabbat. When we got there, we joined a group of Israeli soldiers in singing and dancing to a classic Jewish tune. Soon Orthodox women, younger students, Jewish tourists, and a bunch of Kivunim-ers joined in too. It was incredible to be dancing and singing Jewish songs of praise about Israel in front of the Western Wall. It was a feeling of rejoicing—of living history—like Jews used to do in front of the Temple thousands of years ago. It was also incredible how many different women were all together, dancing and singing just because it was Shabbat. All of us had completely different backgrounds, traditions and customs, but we were all connected in front of one of the holiest Jewish sites in the world. Needless to say, it was quite a special way to start the Shabbat and our time in Jerusalem. 2/25/2009 This morning I woke up at 6:15 am to head off with my friends to the Western Wall. Today is Rosh Chodesh, which celebrates the beginning of a new month on the Jewish calendar. Rosh Chodesh is traditionally considered to be a special holiday for women, as a tribute to the fact that they did not offer their gold to the golden calf at the foot of Mount Sinai when the men did. Every month a group of "Women of the Wall" come to the Kotel and lead a prayer service together. It may seem normal for women to come and pray at one of the holiest spots in their religion, but it is not so simple. These women fight for their right to sing and pray, and every month they are heckled and told to be quiet. Today was the 20th anniversary of Women of the Wall. We all stood in the back and many wore talitot. My seemingly conflicting values were visible even in my outfit. I wore a long skirt out of respect to the Orthodox people who are always there, yet my talit felt out of place and very special at the same time. We did Shacharit and sang Hallel and had many Orthodox men and women tell us to be quiet and stop. Security came just as we were finishing and kicked us out. As we were leaving people were saying things like "you're starting a war" and "ba-olam haba, ein reformim, rak datiim" which means “in the world to come (Jews’ heaven) there will be no Reform Jews—only Orthodox ones.” Being part of this simple act of equality was a very powerful experience.


Facing Page: Adina Menashe (Dead Sea, Israel)



From Left: Becky Havivi (Jerusalem, Israel); Dalya Heller (Alibag, India); Molly Mardit (Mumbai, India); Max Kinchen (Budapest, Hungary)


“There is dirt and filth everywhere that somehow tantalizes all the senses, especially the eyes. The contrasting colors are amazingly strong. Bright and gray. Old and new. The eyes never bore in India.� Naomi Levy


From Left: Laura Belinfante (Izmir, Turkey); Asher Krell (Jerusalem, Israel); Adam Winer (Casablanca, Morocco); Naomi Levy (Varanasi, India)


“As you set off on your afternoon walk, tilt your head upward and notice the street signs. For now you know you could be in no other place but Israel...� Molly Mardit


From Left: Daniel Golston (Haifa, Israel); Yael Conti (Terezin, Czech Republic); Danielle Goldberg (Banias, Israel); Yael Conti (Usov, Czech Republic)



From Left: Dana Wimpfheimer (Berlin, Germany); Barry Rosekind (Budapest, Hungary); Liatte Dotan, (Atlas Mountains, Morocco)

“It's interesting to see how my perception of this place is ever changing. That simply shows how this land is so perplexing and makes its inhabitants think from all angles. It's confusing and overwhelming and most definitely exhausting.� Sarah Trager





A Shabbat Walk in Athens Brian Blumenthal As I walked a few steps away from the chaos and pandemonium, I encountered a completely unexpected scene. The streets were eerily quiet, and there were few people wandering about. The roads were blocked off to trafďŹ c, and I roamed around freely and unobstructed, paying no attention to the blinking trafďŹ c lights. It felt like the Shabbat spirit had taken over central Athens. Each year on November 17, a huge rally is held in Athens commemorating the day when students rebelled against the government, which eventually led to Greek Independence. All of the students, communists, and anarchists take to the streets, in an attempt to get their message out. During Kivunim's trip to Athens, this momentous day happened to fall on Shabbat. Hours before the rally began we could already sense an air of what was to come. As we walked to the Chabad house to eat lunch, we saw Communist signs lining the streets and policemen at every corner. During the meal, our z'mirot competed with the anarchists' songs being broadcast from a nearby building. After our lunch, thousands of protesters began ďŹ lling the main boulevard. The rally stretched on for miles. Once I walked past the hundreds of communists and anarchists, there were still multitudes of representatives from every student group imaginable, all braving the rain to get their message across. Our group couldn't stop talking about the rally, but the solitude lurking on each side street left an even stronger impression on me. The contrast between the crowded rally and the deserted surroundings surprised me and unexpectedly put me in the Shabbat mood. It was a strange feeling, yet it was very comforting to experience a Shabbat like this in the heart of Athens, miles away from Eretz Yisrael.

Previous Page: David Gluck (Thal Village, India); Facing Page: Brenne Rimberg (Thessaloniki, Greece)



Top Left (clockwise): Adin Lenchner (Budapest, Hungary); Arlen Weiner (Bratislava, Slovakia); Miriam Goldberg (Berlin, Germany); Elana Bulman (Berlin, Germany); Facing Page: Brian Blumenthal (Lostice, Czech Republic)


Adam Itkoff

During my year in Israel, and trekking across the globe, I have witnessed the hate and violence that occurs at the hands of stubborn associations. We are convinced that the entire world consists of an “us” and “them.” In reality, the necessary dialogue rarely occurs that would finally allow us to transcend this view. We do not hate the individual, but we despise the group. We are never even introduced to the individual, whereas the group is faceless, created by a skewed image that is a product of fear, the media and extremists who truly are outliers. The issue of the violent struggle in the Middle East, and even throughout the entire world is horribly complicated, but can be approached much more simply. If only we can realize, and truly grasp with every fiber of our being, that no matter what we believe or how convinced we are that there are cruel realities at work in the world, we as individuals, are each ultimately the same. We are each capable of both tears and laughter, and we are each simply flesh and blood. 30

Facing Page: Daniel Golston (Varanasi, India)



“Here, the desire to see the light at the end of the tunnel holds strong.� Dalia Shapiro

From Left: Leanne Silberberg (Jerusalem, Israel); Jason Wein (Delphi, Greece); Lauren Mindel (Alibag, India); Aimee Katz (Varanasi, India)


The Edge of the Desert Dalia Shapiro After walking half an hour in darkness through the cold, dry sand, we finally reached the top of a dune we deemed would be perfect for awaiting the rising sun over the Sahara desert. Shivering under the deep blue starlit sky, we huddled together in silence and waited for the sun to rise and warm our quivering bodies in the unanticipated coldness of the desert morning. Behind us, our hotel stood like a mirage in the middle of the sparse desert, holding the only proof of life for miles. In front of us, the desert stretched endlessly, filled with millions of grains of sand, stories and secrets. As the light from the sun peaked over the horizon, turning the inky sky into a powdery blue, my thoughts turned towards my ancestors. While the stars were fading from the desert sky and the grains of sand began to glow, I thought of Abraham. God told him that even though his wife Sarah was barren, he would have as many children as there were stars in the sky and grains of sand. I imagined Abraham praying every day, hoping to fill his wife’s womb with a son. A child would be a promise of a new generation, everything that Abraham wanted his entire life. Suddenly, I looked in front of me and noticed that students were reciting their morning prayers as the sun rose in the yellowing sky. They were personally communicating with God just as Abraham had done centuries ago. Then, a sense of awe spread through our veins as the morning heat replaced the evening winds, just as the emptiness of Sarah’s womb was replaced with a child. Past the glowing sand dunes, my mind raced back to the other areas in Morocco we had already seen and experienced. While going from place to place, I realized Morocco’s cities are all reminders of the ancient Jewish world. The Marrakech market is strikingly similar to the winding market roads of Jerusalem's Old City. The shepherds in the countryside live just like our ancestors did centuries ago. The desert was a clear reminder of Moses’ forty-year journey with the Children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land. Every aspect of Morocco brought me back to the Israel that once was: from the towns, to the tea, to the markets. All it really needed was a hint of Hebrew and I would have felt right at home. 34

Facing Page: David Gluck (Jerusalem, Israel)



"I’ve pushed myself to try new things, to understand different perspectives and to fully embrace every aspect of Judaism, even those that I may not agree with.� Andrea Horowitz

From Top Left (counterclockwise): Levi Natkins (Marrakech, Morocco); Lauren Mindel (Casablanca, Morocco); Eran Rosenberg (Boskovice, Czech Republic)


“Looking out across to Jordan on a hazy morning from the lowest point on earth, the unique natural elements of the Dead Sea leave its visitors with a sense of wonder.� Adina Menashe


Facing Page: Asher Krell (Dead Sea, Israel)


“Faith, conviction, and spirituality are powers that reach far beyond any physical bounds. The sheer beauty and awe of this monastery can speak to people of all faiths.� Jonathan Oxman


From Left: Adam Sheinman (Marrakech, Morocco); Becky Havivi (Atlas Mountains, Morocco); Adam Itkoff (Meteora, Greece); Jon Oxman (Meteora, Greece)



Top Left (clockwise): Aimee Katz (Errachidia, Morocco); Andrea Horowitz (Casablanca, Morocco); Gabi Mitchell (Sardis, Turkey); Hannah Ellenson (Jerusalem, Israel); Facing Page: Lea Landowne Leiter (Budapest, Hungary)



“If I don’t, who will?” Jesse Berkson I cursed the serenity of the place as I walked off the bus. How can such a tranquil location conceal so many great horrors? Theresienstadt, “the model camp” as the Nazis called it, was where my grandmother spent three years of her life sleeping outdoors on a balcony with six other women. When witnessing Auschwitz or any of the other major camps, one automatically succumbs to a sharp, cold pain that rushes straight to the bones. Yet, it is the lack of that pain that sickens me at Theresienstadt. Standing there at Terezin, I wanted to flee, to escape this place and return to the familiar safety of America and Israel. Our travels though Central Europe continued with a visit to Olomouc, my grandmother’s home city. In Olomouc, we were hosted by Petr Papousek, the head of the dwindling Jewish community. Petr's personal story is one so familiar to other second or third generation survivors, who spent their childhoods under Communist regimes. As a child, Petr’s only memory of what it meant to be Jewish was having a large and special lunch on Saturdays with his family. It was not until after the fall of Communism that Petr truly realized his Jewish heritage. We asked him why a young, observant Jew would choose to raise children in a place without any formal Jewish education and a place where a Jewish community will most likely disappear within a few short decades. He hesitated for a moment and replied with a shrug, "This is my home; this is where my family has lived for many years. If I don’t try to preserve this community, who will?" The following day our group visited two small villages near Olomouc. We were lead by a local Czech man named Ludek Stipl. Ludek, who is not Jewish, is the founder and director of an organization called "Respect and Tolerance." The organization serves to preserve the memory of the lost Jewish communities in the area, such as converting a deserted local synagogue into a museum. Last year, Ludek learned of my grandmother’s survival story and decided to dedicate the new museum to her. Why would this nonJewish man trade a life of comfort to create a foundation and museum dedicated to a lost people in the area? I asked him, and he replied with a familiar shrug, "If I don’t try to keep the memory of these lost communities that flourished here in peaceful coexistence for so long, who will?" Facing Page: Ariel Taub (Budapest, Hungary)



From Left: Anna Goldberg (Mumbai, India); Eliana Lauter, (Varanasi, India); Andrea Horowitz (Mumbai, India); Brian Blumenthal (Petra, Jordan)



Istanbul/Jerusalem: Where East Meets West Natanah Rothberg I am the towering minarets that gaze at painted cityscapes, wrapped in fog by godly hands with rich designs of holy shapes. I am the golden-tiled domes that glance at all the passers-by, swathed in yellow-lemon light, as waves of prayer infuse the sky. I am the rutted, rocky ruins that glimpse at life through silent trees, unaware of cargo ships and taxi cabs and factories. I am the modern Turkish man who gawks at girls with pretty hair. The pious life our fathers lived is nothing but an old affair. I am the bronzed Israeli face that glares at men in black and white, at veils that cover unknown lips, and those who chant at morning light. I am the Middle Eastern soul that glowers at our burning youth. The bloody blasts for which we’re known are pieces of a larger truth. From Left: Danny Starosta (Casablanca, Morocco); Beth Roseman (Jerusalem, Israel)





Istanbul/Jerusalem: Where East Meets West Becky Havivi Footsteps traipse across well-worn cobbled paths Imbued with history Battles lost and won Empires come and gone And still the people come To straddle worlds thought to have impermeable boundaries A veritable Venn diagram Smack in the center, Lies an intersection of continents and cultures Western East or an Eastern West? A confused compass Defying singular labels: Religiously secular Newly ancient Tourists gape from tinted windows, encased in an air-conditioned vehicle At the conglomeration of eras A living textbook Proof that history is real No distinction between centuries. Time has achieved unity in space. Space that transcends the man-made divisions created to simplify complexity To codify time, by landmarks and architectural details Here, A theological skyline Religions spill out into streets lined with holy sites Made profane by the incessant flash of the camera All dedicated to different gods, (ancient modern omniscient anthropomorphic) A unified heaven must witness the warzone it has produced Adonai, Christ, Allah—they are all He Yet these different names are responsible for the blood spilled The realm of concurrent contradiction Resting precipitously Teetering with fear Of the collapse of a carefully stricken balance Previous Page: Ethan Buckner (Istanbul, Turkey); Facing Page: Natanah Rothberg (Jerusalem, Israel)



Facing Page: Leanne Silberberg (Jerusalem, Israel); Top Left (clockwise): Anya Manning (Jew Town, India); Noah Stern (Chalkida, Greece); Brian Blumenthal (Jerusalem, Israel); Adina Menashe (Jerusalem, Israel)



From Left: Jonathan Oxman (Marrakech, Morocco); Daniel Golston (Chalkida, Greece); Naomi Levy (Sahara Desert, Morocco); Jamie Albert (Alibag, India)

“There’s something so much more meaningful to living here than mingling with Israeli teens, eating amazing food and smoking hookah; it’s what we bring home that really matters. It’s about hearing the Islamic prayer calls while I lay in bed, walking through the Armenian quarter in the Old City and talking to a shop owner in Arabic, or visiting a very secluded, traditional Bedouin Tribe.” Andrea Horowitz


Reflection on a Yehuda Amichai poem Gabriela Bronstein With the comfortable red velvet cushion under my black dress, I closed my eyes and took it all in. The songs and the prayers permeated the walls of the synagogue and flowed through the souls of those repenting, all of them but me. It seemed as though there was a shield, invisible but thick and impermeable, surrounding my body, my soul and my heart. This shield prevented the words of the songs and prayer to reach me…they didn't even reach the surface of my skin. I wanted these words, the sounds. I wanted to feel each syllable, each note melt on my skin and soak through to my nerves and muscles. I wished so badly to have this connection that seemed nebulous and surreal and that so many others could feel. With my eyes still closed, I started to watch my breath. I studied it and felt the inhale and exhale of every breath of air. I could see it. I could watch it going into my mouth, down my esophagus and into my chest. I saw the expansion and contraction of my diaphragm and felt the vibrations in my lungs. After what felt like hours of concentrating on the rare feeling of breathing, with every inhale and exhale I uttered a single word. Inhale: Shema, exhale: Yisrael, inhale: Adonai, exhale: Eloheinu, inhale: Adonai, exhale: echad. Repeating this phrase over and over with an inhale and then an exhale was slowly breaking the shield. I started to feel the prayer, the Shema, at the tips of my fingers, and then it spread to my hands and wrists all the way up to my shoulders. It melted at my neck and slithered to my chest and my stomach down to my legs and covered my feet. The words climbed and reached to my chin, my mouth and nose, eyes and ears until it reached the very top of my head. Now I was embalmed in them; completely enveloped in these words, in these prayers that took me to a different place and now, now I was able to repent. Now I had entered into my very own Yom Kippur and could be a part of what I saw around me. Slowly, I began to open my eyes. Slowly, I began to see. I saw lights and smiling faces. I saw relief and contentment. I saw what I was not able to see before. I could feel what I had never felt before. With the comfortable red velvet cushion under my colorful dress, my eyes were open. 58

Facing Page: Naomi Reimer (Jerusalem, Israel)



Top Left (clockwise): Yael Foss (Negev, Israel); Ariel Taub (Varanasi, India); Sam Goodman (Yeruham, Israel); Ariel Taub (Varanasi, India); Facing Page: Ben Schwarz (Alibag, India)


“More than 75 young Indian students listened intently to Kivunim students sing "Oseh Shalom Bimromav". Although these children had never heard this or any other Hebrew song, they proudly and confidently raised their hands to identify the one word they knew...Shalom. At that moment I felt the power of the Hebrew language, and I understood that Shalom crosses all boundaries.� Eran Rosenberg 62

From Left: Ben Schwarz (Varanasi, India); Liatte Dotan (Athens, Greece); Ayla Lefkowitz (Delphi, Greece); Gabriela Bronstein (Berlin, Germany)



Facing Page: Sarah Sokol (Panevezys, Lithuania); Top Left (clockwise): Eran Rosenberg (Thal Village, India); Max Kinchen (Jerusalem, Israel); Dalia Shapiro (Sarnath, India); Dalia Shapiro (Marrakech, Morocco)


“How does one reconcile the ancient with the modern, the secular with the religious? We struggle with identity in our ever changing world.� Jonathan Oxman


Facing Page: Ben Schwarz (Marrakech, Morocco)



From Left: Aimee Katz (Terezin, Czech Republic); Rachel Buonaiuto (Fez, Morocco); Brian Blumenthal (Jerusalem, Israel); Molly Mardit (Jerusalem, Israel)



“Every day they get up in the dust, go to school in the dust, go home, grow in the dust. Girls learn to run the house on the edge of society’s conscience, have children, cook, stay in the rim of the world’s shadows.  Men sit outside their stores, turn their heads back and forth, drink tea, talk, and remain as such, frozen in time.   There seems to be little connection between the world in the windows and us inside the bus, the western world.  They are stationary, and we keep passing on the way. However, as we kept looking outside, at the camouflaged communities, we stepped back from our judgments. Who are we inside the bus?” Liatte Dotan

Facing Page: Sam Roth (Alibag, India)


Reality Check Jacob Kose Reality is like gravity, always Grounding, though we forget it exists. Reality is like lightning, only apparent when We see it flashing violently Before our eyes. When is reality real? Always. Does it grip and stir me? Sometimes. Only When believing is seeing. Reality is poverty, culture, heritage and stories, Borders, deserts, and oceans. Memory and change are very real too. Ancient Greece, Communist Bulgaria, Colonized Morocco, flashing violently Before your eyes. Empire Turkey, Bloodstained Germany, Mythical India, Grounding your naivetĂŠ. Believe your eyes, see your world. Today the Oracle at Delphi reveals to me the nascent Jewish Bulgaria, nervous but Confident. Yesterday pictures will show me Pacing the train tracks of Germany To Modern Turkey, a new nation, a new pride. Tomorrow may find me overtaken by The richness of the Indian Spirit, The profundity of Moroccan Progress. Tomorrow may also overtake me with The lightning of hopeless class divisions, The burden of inescapable history, The gravity of seeing. I cannot close my eyes. I have faith they will not forget what they see. When is reality real? Always, but it will only continue to grip and stir us, You too, when you see. 72

Facing Page: Brenne Rimberg (Sofia, Bulgaria)



“Sometimes the clash of two foreign cultures is a shocking experience for both. How does one begin to understand the other?� Jonathan Oxman

Facing Page: Brenne Rimberg (Varanasi, India)


“Being in Africa, in Morocco, in Ouarzazate, in the desert, in the kasbah, in a centuries-old Berber castle, I knew the chances of my coming back before I was seventy, and I had no intention of rushing.� Danny Starosta


From Left: Ariel Taub (Alibag, India); Jonathan Oxman (Alibag, India); Ira Elshanskaya (Telouet, Morocco); Danny Starosta (Sahara Desert, Morocco)



Facing Page: Yael Foss (Budapest, Hungary); Top Left (clockwise): Benny Summers (Athens, Greece); Daniel Golston (Jerusalem, Israel); Dalia Shapiro (Fez, Morocco); Dalia Shapiro (Kisvarda, Hungary)



“Even though there might be a smaller Jewish community in Sofia than there was in Salonika, their devotion to and knowledge about Judaism is prospering and lively.� Sarah Trager

Facing Page: Robyn Spector (Chalkida, Greece)





Previous Page: Natanah Rothberg (Athens, Greece); From Left: Rebecca Hornstein (Merzouga, Morocco); Natanah Rothberg (Tzfat, Israel); Robyn Spector (Grenada, Spain); Becky Havivi (Athens, Greece)

“Education, acceptance and experience are the only means by which we can overcome the narrow-mindedness that seems to corrupt American society. I can only hope that I can contribute to the growth, peace and prosperity of Israel as much as Israel has contributed to my personal development.� Andrea Horowitz


Ice Cream in India Benny Summers

While wandering through the streets of Varanasi with several of my Kivu-mates, we happened upon an ice cream shop. The hot Indian sun quickly forced us inside where we rejoiced at the cheap price of ice cream and proceeded to purchase some frozen treats. As we sat in the shop watching the Indian street scene whiz by, we turned around to notice two small children gazing up at us with wide, innocent eyes. They did not speak to us, but they did not have to say anything. Their clothes were tattered and unwashed, probably for days. Their feet were dirty and mangled from too many shoeless walks through Indian alleys. It only took a second for all of us to dive into our pockets and search for money to buy the two of them some ice cream. It was something I certainly would never think to do in the United States—or anywhere else in the world for that matter. In America, such an act could be viewed strangely, most likely suspiciously. Luckily, we were in India. With feelings of sympathy and self-righteousness, I watched as the boys reached out with their dusty palms and devoured their ice cream. I have never seen faces light up like that for such a small treat. It gave me a feeling of satisfaction I have never felt before. When reflecting on India I can think of no better description to evoke than that of Mark Twain, who said: “our most valuable and astrictive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only!” In India, all of humanity’s greatest achievements and greatest tragedies exist together at one time, in one country, all totally visible and all totally jarring. I remember the faces of those two boys; their bright eyes and wide grins left an indelible print in my mind. I know that out of one billion people I brought joy to just two small children. To me, that was a moment larger than the nation of India itself. 86

Facing Page: Anna Goldberg (Mumbai, India)



“The only person with a similar last name buried in this cemetery also shared my first name.� Sarah Trager

From Left: Asher Krell (Istanbul, Turkey); Yael Conti (Budapest, Hungary)


Adam Itkoff

Several months ago, I spent a weekend at an Arab boy’s house in Haifa, Israel. As a North American Jew, I initially felt a bit nervous about a communication barrier, but otherwise was not in the least bit hesitant. His English was practically flawless, while both my Hebrew and Arabic leave much to be desired. Ironically, he shared the same first name as me, Adam. This seemed to be an early indicator of some sort of companionship, because we quickly bonded and soon after spent the entire night laughing and exploring the vibrant city. After introducing me to nearly all of his friends, and sharing some beer and cigarettes, we headed back to his house. He insisted that I sleep in his bed while he slept on a mattress on the floor, and quickly we assumed the role of two old school friends who had known each other for far more than just a few hours. We stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. speaking of politics, government, religion, family and relationships. The next morning, his mother insisted on washing my dirty clothes, and I was served a warm, tantalizing breakfast. As I attempted to use my sparse Arabic, his family laughed in delight, and I quickly found that they were the most hospitable family that I had ever stayed with. However, none of this surprised me. From the moment I met him, we had both bluntly expressed that he was not bothered by my being a Jew, and I was not bothered by his being an Arab. The gap was much easier to bridge in person I’ll admit, because we were immediately able to see, clearly and humbly, that we are both human. 90

Facing Page: Levi Natkins (Varanasi, India)



Top Left (clockwise): Jesse Berkson (Fez, Morocco); David Gluck (Golan Heights, Israel); Noah Stern (Errachidia, Morocco); Gabe Gorfinkle (Mumbai, India)

“They say that Terezin is one of the worst ghettos. In Terezin, you do not see death, rather you see a rich life that was extinguished. We stood in silence around the monument remembering those who had perished in the Holocaust. As we looked at the Israeli flag and sang "HaTikvah", something burned within us: we have survived. They did not defeat us.� Yael Conti


Ayla Lefkowitz This afternoon we visited the Jewish community in Veria, Greece. Consisting of only three families, it is the smallest one we have seen so far. This community is practically gone, which was apparent when we visited the cemetery. At ďŹ rst I did not understand what I was looking at. All I saw in front of me was a basketball court, tennis court, and colorful grafďŹ ti covering the surrounding walls and bleachers. Then, when I looked a little closer, I noticed large, broken tombstones lying on the ground. The sight shocked me. I was told that the entire place, including the playground, was part of the graveyard before the park was built. The more I looked around, the more disturbed I became. Children who play here everyday are playing on top of the bodies of Jewish people who lived here a century ago. This is a dead Jewish community. 94

From Left: Ariela Weinberger (Errachidia, Morocco); Rachel Buonaiuto (Jerusalem, Israel); Ira Elshanskaya (Telouet, Morocco); Dalia Shapiro (Jerusalem, Israel)


“Self discovery and newfound knowledge: that is what this year in Israel has meant to me. For that, I am most grateful." Andrea Horowitz


From Left: Becca Weintraub (Marrakech, Morocco); Jamie Albert (Agra, India); Eliana Lauter (Varanasi, India)


KIVUNIM Students and Staff, 2006–2009 STUDENTS 2008-09 Jamie Albert Laura Belinfante Talia Blau Georgina Bloom Gabriela Bronstein Michael Brunwasser Ethan Buckner Elana Bulman Liatte Dotan Adam Ezrapour Talya Frankel Matthew Giesberg Anna Goldberg Miriam Goldberg Rachelle Grossman Becky Havivi Gabriel Hendin Rebecca Hornstein Andrea Horowitz Adam Itkoff Samara Jaffe Aimee Katz Jacob Kose Asher Krell Eliana Lauter Ayla Lefkowitz Adin Lenchner Brendan Lyss 98

Rachel Miller Lauren Mindel Zachary Nanus Levi Natkins Benjamin Perlstein Naomi Riemer Brenne Rimberg Barry Rosekind Beth Roseman Dan Rosen Natanah Rothberg Nathan Shapiro Adam Sheinman Robyn Spector Daniel Starosta Micha Stettin Sarah Trager Ariela Weinberger Arlen Weiner Emily Weiner Jason Wien Dana Wimpfheimer Adam Winer 2007-08 Jesse Berkson Brian Blumenthal Rachel Buonaiuto Yael Conti Irina Elshanskaya

David Gluck Danielle Goldberg Daniel Golston Gabriel Gorfinkle Max Kinchen Naomi Levy Molly Mardit Adina Menashe Jonathan Oxman Dalia Shapiro Leanne Silberberg Noah Stern Benjamin Summers Rebecca Weintraub

Ari Papir Julie Retig Samuel Roth Liana Russo Benjamin Schwarz Aaron Sebag Victor Shelden Sarah Sokol Ariel Taub Eli Terris Nomi Teutsch Maxwell Weberman Daniel Weininger Michael Yohai

2006-07 Natalie Bernstein Aaron Blumenstein Sharon Bukspan Stephanie Freiman Nessa Geffen Samuel Goodman Matthew Haverim Dalya Heller Elana Itzkowitz Zoe Jick Monica Kamen Daniel Kieval Shira Laurence Esther Levenberg

Staff Hannah Ellenson Yael Foss Gabe Greenberg Tal Kita Joshua Krug Anya Manning Gabi Mitchell Eran Ravid Eran Rosenberg Yaakov Wolff

KIVUNIM Board BOARD OF TRUSTEES Joel Citron, President Dr. David Ariel Dr. Danny Aviv Marnie Berk, Esq. George Blumenthal Clifford A. Brandeis, Esq., VP & Counsel Ulrika Citron Tobi Gold Katja Goldman Emanuel Gruss Ria Gruss Jamie Hooper Rabbi Jonathan Lipnick Stefan Malter Marti Meyerson Rachel Ringler Roni Rubenstein Ilana Ruskay-Kidd Yossi Siegel Dr. James Stulman Dr. Anita Weiner Bill Yotive

HONORARY ADVISORY BOARD Dr. Lewis Bernstein Rabbi Yitz Greenberg Professor Susannah Heschel Rabbi Rolando Matalon Dr. Robert Sherman SENIOR STAFF, 2009-10 Peter A. Geffen, Founder and Executive Director Lea Landowne Leiter, Director, Israel Program Amal Abusif, Associate Director, Academic Program


From Left: Rachel Miller (Sahara Desert, Morocco); Jamie Albert (Varanasi, India)

What unites Jewish Communities from Marrakech to Mumbai has been the unique interplay between cultures, religions, and histories that has been at the heart of the Jewish Diaspora experience for thousands of years. This stunning photographic journey through the fresh eyes of college-age students from the KIVUNIM program brings to light what it means to be a “world-conscious� Jew.


Young Photographers Engage the World