This past summer, on my third visit to Israel, I created a new installment to add to my original exhibit, Tiferet: Beautiful Images from the Land of Israel. The original Tiferet was on display at the DHJC for part of 2018, and at the Suffolk YJCC this past Spring. It was also used in synagogues in Plainview and Roslyn to teach religious school students more about Israel. The first Tiferet exhibit focused on the breathtaking beauty, magnificence and awe found in the art, architecture, plants and animals, sunrises and sunsets, bodies of water, natural wonders, and cities of Israel. Tiferet is a Hebrew term that roughly translates to “beauty,” but goes far beyond that. It is an energy, a feeling you get when you experience something breathtaking, like a sunset, a rainbow, a moon rise, and other marvels of nature; or when you see or hear something that deeply moves you, like a magnificent work of art, or beautiful music.

As I planned my July trip, and the photos I wanted to capture, I realized that an entire category was missing from the first Tiferet exhibit…the beauty of the people of Israel! So, in July, I focused my lens on the Tiferet of the Israeli people…their beauty, their warmth and their collective joyous spirit, which strongly radiates, despite any differences in their dress, gender, religious beliefs, or color of their hair, eyes and skin. People’s differences are often what we notice first…however, when we take the time to look a little more closely, we begin to see the similarities between all people.

Tiferet Too opened at the Suffolk YJCC in Commack on September 15th. The exhibit seeks to highlight all the wonderful ways the Israeli people are connected to each other. I hope many of you will have a chance to walk through the main hallway at the SYJCC and view the exhibit. As you explore each photo, you will get a sense of the joy, the warmth, the friendship, and the ahava…the love…that is inherent in Israelis, regardless of perceived differences. At the end of the day, don’t we all desire and treasure the same things? Could finding joy be as simple as doing what we love, spending time with family and friends, and connecting in a meaningful and authentic way with others? Large or small, whether it’s the preplanned joys of life events, such as getting married, or the simple and spontaneous joys of watching the sunset, planting trees, or taking a good selfie, we just need to focus on and tune in to this uplifting energy.

The photos at the left and the photos below are just 13 of the 37 photos in the exhibit. Looking at these photos, which do you relate to most? What brings you the feelings that are expressed in these images? I hope these photos bring a smile to your face, and make you feel as uplifted as if you had actually traveled to the beautiful land of Israel!

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