Thursday, September 16, 2010

Town Hall with Taste

Remember Town Hall in America. It was the hub of activities and excitement in its small town. The closest thing we've got to Town Hall here in Israel is our local or regional council offices. We call each one a Moetza (Council).
While it doesn't host the local women's club meetings or the annual garden party, the Moetza of my hometown Efrat wants to welcome its residents inside its class doors just the same.
Council, under current Mayor Oded Revivi, wants Efratians to feel at ease enough to come up to the Municipality offices to raise any pressing issues with department heads or staff in education, collections, welfare, religious affairs, etc.
Well, until now, most folks have never moseyed up to the Municipality, but that's about to change.
Come On Up
This month, the Efrat Local Council turned its sometimes-intimidating-serious-whispering hallways into a gallery for fine art. The Municipality has launched its first of a series of art exhibitions that it hopes will entice Efratians to visit the Moetza building, and feel more at home in the core of Efrat's home base.
The first exhibit, which features the bright and charming artwork of David Avisar, will be on display during daytime hours until after the holidays. Approximately 50 of Avisar's paintings are hanging in the hallways and resting on easels throughout the Muncipality. They are worth the visit.
Edmund Hasin, curator of the Municipality's art exhibits, commented that the Moetza hopes to showcase artists and artisans from Efrat and areas throughout the country to expose Efratians to a wide array of Israeli art. Paintings, sculptures, ceramics, Judaica, photographs are all being considered for future exhibits.
In Love with the Land
David Avisar, the first artist on show, is a resident of Ramat Bet Shemesh. His artwork is inspired by his love of the land of Israel. Having traveled throughout the country – from the mountains to the deserts to the seas – David fell in love with the giant topographical distinctiveness of our little land and he has spent his life painting it. His work is on exhibit both in Israel and the United States.
One of David Avisar's most prominent motifs is the goat. To David, a goat is symbolic of peace and idyllic existence. As one who lives in Israel, I must agree. Although I had never seen a goat outside a petting zoo when we lived in America, almost all my drives along the roads of Gush Etzion include a glimpse of those same goats that our Patriarch Jacob described – white, brown, speckled, spotted. Whenever I see those goats grazing on the mountainsides, I naturally smile and take a deep contented sigh.
Of course, Avisar's work is overflowing with Jewish topics. In vivid colors and uplifting scenes, the artist portrays Shabbat, Sukkot, Bet HaMikdash (The Holy Temple), Emunah (faith) and Biblical Stories (including an especially endearing look at the camels that out Matriarch Rivka watered).
Not only can you shmy around the paintings, there's a booklet on the desk (as you enter the Moetza offices) that tells you about the painter and his work. And if there's something that really catches your eye, you can even purchase one of their works of art by visiting the "Machleket HaGvia" (Efrat's collections department). Best of all, 20% of the monies from the sale of David's paintings will go toward youth projects in Efrat. It's a win win for everyone!
You can learn more about David right here:

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