Abride prays at the Kotel, seen from behind, in a poufy white dress and cascading veil; someone with tzitzit hanging out of a pair of jeans stands next to a Jewish memorial stone in Chalkida, Greece; a brick side of a building in disrepair includes the sign “Synagoga.”
The young photographers who have recorded these images pick up on the unexpected. They are past participants in Kivunim, a year-long post-high school educational program, founded by Peter Geffen, the group’s executive director. From their base in Jerusalem, the students travel to 10 countries, among them Bulgaria, Morocco, Spain, the Czech Republic and India.
These are photos of encounter: between the Jewish communities and the countries in which they are based, between the students and their subjects, their Judaism, and the selves they are coming to know better through their historical studies and adventures in global Jewish travel.
Some of the photos are soulful meditations, others are full of action, and some are both, like a man wrapping a blue turban in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco, or a woman bathing in a river in Varanasi, India.
More than capturing the moment, the photos inspire viewers to linger, to conjure these faraway places where Jews made their homes for centuries.
“Imagination: Young Photographers Embrace the World,” curated by Tobi Kahn with the assistance of Asher Krell, is on exhibit at the JCC in Manhattan through April 22. An accompanying full-color book, designed and edited by Krell and Brian Blumenthal, reads like a textured photo essay (Kivunim Press).
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