‘If it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for the museum’

Ilana Goor, Na’amat and the art of jewelry

“Made by Jewelers” exhibition in the Ilana Goor Museum (photo credit: URIEL BOOZAGLO)
“Made by Jewelers” exhibition in the Ilana Goor Museum
(photo credit: URIEL BOOZAGLO)
Walking into the Ilana Goor Museum down the winding narrow roads of Old Jaffa, one’s breath is taken away. While the area is renowned for its Ottoman-era architecture, entering the museum is akin to entering a different world entirely.
Currently host to the “Made by Jewelers” exhibition put on in collaboration between the museum and the Na’amat Education Network (running until December 19), it is a venue like no other. Built in 1742 as a home for Jewish pilgrims, its beehive-like ceilings and aged walls are contrasted with owner Goor’s astoundingly eclectic art collection, engendered through a policy she describes in simple terms: “If it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for the museum.”
The museum, however, is more than a museum; it is also her home. Containing a collection with works by artists such as Henry Moore and Pinchas Cohen-Gan alongside that of young Israeli artists, the temporary exhibition is testament to Goor’s ethos of working with groups and organizations that deal with a variety of social issues in Israel.
THIS IS where Na’amat comes in.
The biggest women’s organization in the country, it focuses on gender equality and gender justice.
With vocational schools all over the country, it aims, in the words of Na’amat Tel Aviv’s chairperson Liora Lenger, to “save” young women who have dropped out of high school. The organization works with groups across country, Arabs, Jews and Druse. Alongside this, it runs day-care centers, legal advice bureaus, and many other institutions.
One of these institutions the Umanit Jewelry College in Jaffa. While the college is open to both genders, it nevertheless embodies the same positive and hopeful ideology that Na’amat actively promotes, and this approach is personified in the exhibition curator and course leader at the college, Uriel Boozaglo.
Calm, charming, and buzzing with energy, Boozaglo explains how the 10-month course begins with “people who don’t know anything about jewelry.” In his eyes, his role at the college is to simple: “I’m trying to enable them to be themselves – not changing them, only leading them their way, not mine.
They are the important thing in here, not me.”
Merav Rasovsky, an architect who trained at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, “decided to convert” and took part in the Umanit course out of a desire to work with material in a more ‘hands-on’ manner.
Her work on display draws on natural materials such as plants, casting them in silver and resulting in a range of beautiful pieces. For those considering taking up the trade, Rasovsky makes clear it is in no way an easy one: “It’s very hard working with materials like wood, from the cutting to the sawing and beyond.”
HEADING UP to meet with Goor in her apartment in the museum, one feels as though one is entering into the museum’s cerebral cortex, the brain that is being represented in the its collection of works. Dressed in shirt and trousers, decked in rings and wearing a striking pair of stark black spectacles, she says that the Na’amat exhibition is a reflection of her desire to exhibit a wide range of Israeli artists.
“Na’amat came to me because they need a stage.
Our place here – open for 20 years and very well known – is a good place for them. I think this is really fantastic. Here you see how these people have already become professional.”
The museum’s ability to provide a home for the exhibition, as well as promoting it publicly, provides a voice for Na’amat that it would struggle to find in many other venues. As I leave, I ask Goor what it means to be hosting the exhibition.
“Happiness,” she answers simply. “I can help them.”
For more information: www.ilanagoormuseum.org/