Israel 2015:- ‘Ron Gang; Artist, musician, and friend…’

Ron Gang at his show in Kibbutz Ulim

Ron Gang at his show in Kibbutz Urim

I believe I first met Ron in 2012 at one of the Israel Blues Society’s monthly ‘Blues Jam’ at Mike’s Place. We began a cordial relationship and we’d chat with each other at the monthly ‘Jams’. Ron is a very interesting person and our chats allowed me the opportunity to learn a great deal about Americans/Canadians who made Aliyah in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

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Members of Kibbutz Urim. Some have been here since the ’50’s…

Ron was born in Canada and attended the University of Toronto where he received a degree in Philosophy and Middle East Studies. Ron first came to Israel in the late 60’s and returned for good in 1972. He met his wife Estie here in Israel. He lives on Kibbutz Urim which is located in the Western Negev. Ron worked in the fields as did  most everyone who lived on a kibbutz in the 70’s. He also has held several jobs on the kibbutz and is currently involved with kibbutz security. This is especially important today because the kibbutz is located about 16 miles from Gaza. See map… http://yhoo.it/1z6n3sp .

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Ron’s means of transportation on the kibbutz…

Ron, the artist…

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We recently visited Ron at his Gallery Show: Exhibition of Ron Gang’s Newer Paintings: Here and There in the Land of Israel תערוכת ציורים חדשים של רון גנג: כאן ושם בארץ ישראל .

Ron and Eileen at Ron's show...

Ron and Eileen at Ron’s show…

After several years of adjusting to life living on a Kibbutz in Israel, Ron began studying art at two of Israel’s most prestigious art schools: 1980 – 1984, Ma’ale Ha’Bsor School; 1984 – 1987, Tel-Aviv School of Art (Kalisher). He has had many exhibits of his work including several at the Stern Gallery in Tel Aviv.

One of Ron's work on display in the TziUrim Gallery on his kibbutz...

One of Ron’s work on display in the TziUrim Gallery on his kibbutz…

Ron paints mainly plein-air full-sized oil paintings of his surroundings in the Negev region in southern Israel. He is a firm believer in the magic of oil painting, the use of multiple layers and transparencies, to utilize the potential of this rich and versatile medium.  Painting on location from direct observation is a way of life, Ron returnins over and over again to the same locations in his “quest to unlock the secrets of the land and nature”.

Ron sharing his 'plein-air' work with Eileen...

Ron sharing his ‘plein-air’ work with Eileen…

Ron – the musician…

Ron is a self-taught (mostly) musician who plays the keyboard:

Ron playing keyboard at Israeli Society's 'Blues Jam'...

Ron playing keyboard at Israeli Society’s ‘Blues Jam’…

the ‘blues harp’ aka harmonica:

Playing harmonica at 'Blues Jam'...

Playing harmonica at ‘Blues Jam’…

and is a talented vocalist:

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Ron is a popular participant in the Israeli Society’s monthly ‘Blues Jam’ at Mike’s Place Herzliya…

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We look forward to seeing Ron next year upon our return to Israel. Come along with us to Israel and get to meet great folks and hear terrific music…

Israel 2015:- Tel Aviv-Some views you may not see…

Wall surrounding construction site. Street Art at its best...

Wall surrounding construction site. Street Art at its best…

When I posted my blog last week, ‘Israel 2015:- Come take a ride with me…’, I had concerns that the posting would be considered silly. To my pleasant surprise, many folks commented on how interesting it was to them, seeing places in Israel that they might never see themselves. So, to continue along that line, today’s blog takes you to Tel Aviv, to areas that are not well publicized…

My favorite buildings; one square, one round and one a triangle.

My favorite buildings; one square, one round and one a triangle.

Spire from IDF base...

Spire from IDF base…

Street Art…

Strolling thru the streets of Tel Aviv in the Sarona area…

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice...

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice…

Ran, bartender at Mike's Place in Tel Aviv... Hey it was 95F so a brew came in handy...

Ran, bartender at Mike’s Place in Tel Aviv… Hey it was 95F so a brew came in handy…

and of course…

She & he...

‘She & he’ in Sarona…

 

Israel 2015:- Come take a ride with me…

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On the Ayalon heading into Tel Aviv…

Eileen and I went to visit our friend Ron Gang who lives on a kibbutz in the south, not to far from the Gaza border and on the Negev Desert. So you might be wondering why there is a picture of the Ayalon Highway (above) leading into Tel Aviv?  Well, Eileen was driving, so I took the time to adjust/play with my Fuji XE-1’s settings. I took several test shots and when I looked at them I realized that this is probably a view of Israel, through the windows of Eileen’s Hyundai, that most people will never see.  So I figured why not share this ride with all of you. And better yet, you’ll be spared the lousy music found on Israeli radio.

The towers of Tel Aviv, several under construction...

The towers of Tel Aviv, several under construction…

Road signs are usually in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. The way the population is changing they'll also be in Russian and French...

Road signs are usually in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. The way the population is changing they’ll soon need to be in Russian and French…

Having fun with Topaz Adjust...

Having fun with Topaz Adjust…

As I noted above, Ron’s Kibbutz is located on the Negev Desert. Ron told us when we were leaving that we should detour and take the 18km (11mi.) Habesor Scenic Route. We’re glad we did!

The gravel road, barely big enough for two cars leads us along the path of Nahal Besor (Besor River) allowing, as seen below, for different vegetation along the way…

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Orange groves were located along the route. I found it very interesting that the farmers chose to protect the groves with cacti…

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Heading home the satellite cones are quite visible. Not sure if they’re commercial or IDF.

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I hope you enjoyed the ride. I had fun shooting from the car, a skill I learned from the master Bob Towery. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be taking in the sites of Israel from inside Eileen’s Hyundai…

 

 

 

 

Israel 2015:- A Visit to Yaffo Port (Jaffa Port)…

Eileen and I like to visit Yaffo (Jaffa) which is about a 20 minute drive from our home in Herzliya. Yaffo and its port have a long history spanning over several thousand years. Yaffo has an old fishing harbor, modern boat docks, and a tourism center. Yaffo is a major tourist attraction with an exciting combination of old, new and restored buildings. It offers art galleries, souvenir shops, exclusive restaurants, sidewalk cafes, board walks and shopping opportunities.

Yaffo port's entrane with modern day Tel Aviv in the

Port Yaffo’s entrance with modern day Tel Aviv in the distance…

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One of the galleries in Port Yaffo…

The port itself is mentioned in various ancient works, including the Hebrew Bible, such as the Book of Jonah, and the works of Josephus describing Jewish history and the First Jewish Revolt against Rome. For over 7000 years it has been actively used, predating Muslims, Christians, Jews, and even Egyptians.

Yaffo Port...

Yaffo Port…

In 1917 during World War I, British troops under General Allenby defeated the Ottomans and took Yaffo, which became part of the British-administered Palestine mandate (1922-1948). In 1947 and 1948 there was sharp fighting between Yaffo, which was largely inhabited by Arabs, and the adjoining Jewish city of Tel Aviv. On the 13th of May 1948 (A day before the proclamation of the State of Israel), the Arab forces in Yaffo were defeated after long fighting with the Zionist underground Haganah and Irgun Zva’i Leumi forces. On April 24, 1950 the Jewish city of Tel Aviv and the Arab city of Yaffo were unified, and the Tel Aviv-Yaffo Municipality was established. Today, Arabs of various denominations constitute about 25,000 inhabitants out of a total of 35,000 people.

Looking inside one of the Arab residences. Reminds me of Havana.

Looking inside one of the Arab residences, it reminds me of Havana.

One thing for sure, there is a lot of ‘street art‘ in Yaffo

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Put Yaffo on your list of places to visit the next time you are in Israel!

Chag Sameach!

(Happy Passover!)

Israel 2015:- The Tel Aviv Museum of Art…

From the 'She & he' series...

From the ‘She & he’ series…

One of the places Eileen and I must visit each year is the Tel Aviv Museum of Art which is one of Israel’s leading artistic and cultural institutions. The museum was founded in 1932 by the first Mayor of Tel Aviv, Meir Dizengoff, in his private home on Rothschild Boulevard. Since then, it has changed locations and developed significantly. The museum’s collection, which originally comprised only a few dozen items, has grown steadily – in great part through generous donations by collectors and artists, and thanks to the dedication and support of the museum’s local and international committees and friends.

Tel Aviv as seen thru the shades on one of the museum's windows..

Tel Aviv as seen thru the shades on one of the museum’s windows..

The museum is currently situated in three main buildings: The Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art, built in the heart of the city in 1959, was the museum’s home for twelve years and today features mainly temporary exhibitions; the Main Building opened in 1971; and adjacent to it is the new Herta and Paul Amir Building which opened in the Fall of 2011,  This building, my personal favorite, was Designed by American architect Preston Scott Cohen.This building is an international landmark at the center of Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural capital.

Images from our visit follow in the slideshow below. I hope you enjoy.

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One of the personal projects I have been working on is the She & he… series’ that I have been posting on Facebook. Some of the images to be included were taken at the museum…

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Eileen and I would love to share this experience, and many others, on your next visit to Israel…C’mon down!

Israel 2015:- ‘Jewish Boys Gone Wild’…

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Purim is the one Jewish holiday where folks are allowed to have a good time, dress up in costumes if you like, and go have a drink or ten. Boys in their teens take full advantage of this day. In Bene Baraq, they got ‘happy‘ rowdy and seemed to be enjoying themselves. I’m sure they might regret it the following morning.

Enjoy the images of ‘Jewish Boys Gone Wild!‘.

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Israel 2015:- Bnei Brak (Bene Beraq) Celebrates Purim…

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Bnei Brak

Bnei Brak (or Bene Beraq) is a city located on Israel’s central Mediterranean coastal plain, just east of Tel Aviv. Bnei Brak is a center of Ultra Orthodox Judaism. Bnei Brak is the 10th largest city in Israel. It is one of the poorest and most densely populated cities in Israel. According to figures by the municipality of Bnei Brak, the city has a population of over 181,000 residents, the majority of whom are Haredi Jews.

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Haredi Judaism is a stream of Orthodox Judaism characterized by rejection of modern secular culture. Its members are often referred to as strictly Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox in English. Haredim regard themselves as the most religiously authentic group of Jews although this is contested by other ultra-Orthodox groups. In contrast to Modern Orthodox Judaism, which turned to modernity, the approach of the Haredim was to maintain a steadfast adherence to Jewish religious law by segregating itself from modern society.

Their communities are primarily found in Israel, North America and Western Europe. During the Holocaust, their numbers were devastated, with whole communities wiped out. Their estimated global population currently numbers 1.3–1.5 million and due to a virtual absence of interfaith marriage and a high birth rate, their numbers are growing rapidly.

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Haredi life, like Orthodox Jewish life in general, is very family-centered. Boys and girls attend separate schools and proceed to higher Torah study, in a yeshiva or seminary respectively, starting anywhere between the ages of 13 and 18. A significant proportion of young men remain in yeshiva until their marriage. After marriage, many Haredi men continue their Torah studies in a kollel. Studying in secular institutions is discouraged.  In the United States and Europe, the majority of Haredi males are active in the workforce. For various reasons, in Israel, around half of their members do not work, and most of those who do are not officially a part of the workforce. Families are usually large, reflecting adherence to the biblical commandment “Be fruitful and multiply”.

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Haredi Jews are typically opposed to the viewing of television and films, and the reading of secular newspapers and books. There has been a strong campaign against the Internet and internet-enabled mobile phones without filters have also been banned by many leading rabbis. In May 2012, 40,000 Haredim gathered at Citi Field, to discuss the dangers of unfiltered Internet. Internet has been allowed for business purposes so long as filters are installed.

Purim in Bnei Braq

On Purim, Eileen and I along with our friends Ariiet and Ilana visited Bnei Braq. The streets were crowded with revelers, and, for one day only, the Haredim were able to ‘let go’ and celebrate the holiday. Images from the day follow below:-

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To be continued…