Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Monday the winners of the 2017 Jewish Culture Prize for Literature, Mira Kedar and Yonadav Kaplun, and music, Odelia Berlin and Kobi Oz.
This prize is awarded annually to Israeli artists who have made significant contributions to Jewish culture in the fields of theater, cinema, literature, dance and music and was designed to encourage Jewish creativity and culture in all its many forms.
“I congratulate Yonadav Kaplun and Mira Kedar on the winners of the Prize for Jewish Culture in Literature, both of whom contributed in their unique and outstanding style to the Israeli literary collection,” said Bennett in a statement.
Prize-winner Kedar is a poet and novelist, of the members of the prize committee noted: “As a veteran poet and writer who is well versed in writing on the past and present, religious and secular, she is ideal example for many young writers who seek to create contemporary Hebrew literature with deep Jewish roots.”
Poet Kaplan also draws on his religious roots to enhance his text. “The work of Yonadav Kaplun has been a part of the Hebrew creative space for decades. His work in encouraging creative writing has proven to be a cornerstone in the cultural and religious renaissance we are experiencing today... his poems are mainly immersed in Hassidism and hassidic texts, but with modern and existential motifs that give his words a new interpretation” noted the prize committee.
Kobi Oz first gained notoriety as the lead vocalist and songwriter in the band Teapacks.
Today his list of achievements include: singer, songwriter, composer, musician, writer, radio broadcaster and music producer. The prize committee sad that “Kobi Oz creates unique Israeli music that connects old and new with East and West. His work incorporates different musical styles and explores social patterns that are reflected in his talents, and gives another level of relevance to renewing Jewish and Israeli culture.”
“As someone who was born into the world of Jewish music, Odelia Berlin recreates this music in a style that is new and feminine. In addition, she initiates women-only performances during the high holidays which draw thousands of female audience members.
Berlin takes old hassidic music and gives it a contemporary, feminine interpretation which offers a new and important hue to contemporary Jewish culture,” said the committee.