Just like the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Partnership with Israel program sends
Israeli and American students to each other’s countries, artists are also sent
from each side of the Atlantic Ocean to the other.
artists from the Western Galilee recalled emotions from their trips to the US
that were similar to the American artists who came here on the Artist Residency
The performing arts series that started three years ago has
brought theater groups and dance troupes to the 15 American cities in the
consortium that is bonded with the Western Galilee in the program.
artists perform before Jewish and non-Jewish audiences, meet their American
counterparts and stay with local Jewish families so they can learn about Jewish
life in the US.
Gali Kalef-Hayon, who directs two modern folk choirs and
dance troupes in the Mateh Asher region, said she took them to perform in
Indianapolis, South Bend and northwest Indiana.
They met with folk groups
in Indianapolis and the Israelis and Americans learned from each
“Folk dancing is an international language,” Kalef-Hayon said.
“It’s not specifically Jewish or Israeli, it’s international.
wanted something more Jewish, but it’s important to perform what the artists
feel, even if it’s something international and not hassidic or
The partnership has also sent over performers to the consortium
communities for Israel Independence Day celebrations and workshops on
“What’s most important is to expose them to Jews and non- Jews,”
said Albert Ben-Shloosh, the Israeli head of the partnership’s arts task
and the cultural director in Acre. “Some shows have had crowds of 500
They have been exposed to hundreds of people who see a different side of
The arts task force’s American chair, Kim Goldberg of Omaha,
said it is important for the Israeli artists to see what it is like for
America to be Jews, just like it is important for American Jews to see
Future projects include an exposition of Western Galilee
artists in the communities and an international arts conference in the
“There are a lot of great artists here and no one knows about
them,” Ben-Shloosh said. “The goal of the project is to find the
the artists, while deepening the connection of the communities and
the artists’ development and exposure.”– G.H.