Commemorating the Balfour Declaration with art and gin
Marking time

Commemorating the Balfour Declaration with art and gin

In addition to the centennial celebration of the historic British document, November brings a couple of photography exhibits and the start of this year’s Tel Aviv U Bar Talks

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Beverly-Jane Stewart's artwork 'Balfour Accomplished,' depicting imagery from a time of turbulence and change, and telling the story of a unique period of history, will be exhibited for two weeks at the Knesset as part of the events commemorating the historic document (Courtesy Beverly-Jane Stewart)
Beverly-Jane Stewart's artwork 'Balfour Accomplished,' depicting imagery from a time of turbulence and change, and telling the story of a unique period of history, will be exhibited for two weeks at the Knesset as part of the events commemorating the historic document (Courtesy Beverly-Jane Stewart)

In some parts of the world, November brings cold winds and gray skies and a desire to curl up at home and binge-watch TV shows.

But in these parts, you can’t rely on the weather for an excuse to be a couch potato because it’s still mostly sunny out there. So scratch that idea.

Luckily, there’s a surfeit of art exhibits, thought-provoking lectures and other opportunities to take advantage of this month, and most are free.

They cover a mix of topics and ideas, ranging from the commemoration of 100 years since the Balfour Declaration with some art appreciation and a cocktail, to looking at the Israeli Opera’s latest season and understanding Israel’s work abroad in areas of natural disasters.

There’s something for almost anyone. Read on.

London artist Jacqueline Nicholls interpreted the Jerusalem of the Jews and of the British, through the British hymn ‘Jerusalem’, as part of ‘Balfour at 100,’ an exhibit at the Jerusalem Biennale that will be temporarily shown at the Knesset (Courtesy Jacqueline Nicholls)

1)The Jerusalem Biennale includes the exhibit “Balfour at 100,” featuring the work of three British artists that will be temporarily re-sited in the Knesset from its location in the Museum of Underground Prisoners in order to coincide with activities marking the Balfour centennial on Tuesday, November 7 and on display through November 16.

Ruth Schreiber’s reflected interpretation of the historic Balfour Declaration (Courtesy Ruth Schreiber)

On display will be the works of British artist Beverley-Jane Stewart, a video installation by British-Israeli artist Ruth Schreiber, and a sketch relating to the installation by British artist Jacqueline Nicholls, which couldn’t be moved in its entirety from its original, Jerusalem Biennale display at the Museum of Underground Prisoners.

2. Looking for another way to celebrate the Balfour Declaration? Head to the Tel Aviv Hilton for a special cocktail based on gin, one of Britain’s all-time favorite spirits.

Gin was originally derived from juniper berries as an herbal medicine by Dutch and Flemish distillers, but was popularized in Great Britain by William of Orange, leader of the Dutch Republic, who occupied the English, Scottish and Irish thrones with his wife Mary.

A drink in honor of the Balfour Declaration, available at the Hilton, or from your home bar (Courtesy Lior Kahana)

In this cocktail, developed by bar manager Ray White, an image of Lord Balfour is imprinted on the top layer of foam (thanks to Israeli technology known as the Ripple Maker).

¼ finely chopped cucumber
50 ml. Tanqueray Gin
20 ml. lemon ginger mix
20 ml. lemongrass syrup
20 ml. lemon juice
10 ml. Benedictine liqueur

The cocktail costs NIS 60  ($17) or NIS 100 ($28.50) for two.

A photograph by Miki Kratsman, part of “50 Years,” B’Tselem’s exhibit marking 50 years of the Israeli occupation (Courtesy Miki Kratsman)

3. This year is also 50 years since Jerusalem’s reunification, which is not universally seen as a cause for celebration. Human rights organization B’Tselem is marking the moment with “50 Years,” a collection of portraits of Palestinians born in 1967, taken by Israeli and Palestinian photographers.

A portrait that is part of ’50 Years,’ a B’Tselem project marking 50 years of the occupation (Courtesy Basem Zalloum)

The subjects came from a variety of places, including Gaza, Ramallah, East Jerusalem, Hebron and Nablus, refugee camps and small unrecognized villages. The photographers, who came from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide, took the snapshots without aiming toward coexistence or dialogue.

“50 Years” will be open November 17 through December 7, at the Jaffa Salon in Shuk Hapishpushim, Jaffa Port.

4. In need of some academic reflection and understanding? Tel Aviv University begins its annual Bar Talk series with a discussion of Israel’s humanitarian measures in countries impacted by natural disaster.

Meet Col. Gilead Shenhar, who just returned from Mexico where he worked with the Israeli delegation following the September earthquake, and learn about the migratory effects of natural disasters with Einav Levy, head of the TAU School for Humanitarian Aid. The talk will take place at Dizzy Frishdon, 121 Dizengoff, part of Bar Talk. Register here.

Photographer Michal Chelbin’s interpretation of ‘Carmen’ by Bizet, a character who challenges both life and death, reconfigured in the figure of the toreador, as portrayed by a Sudanese refugee (Courtesy Michal Chelbin)

5. Opera lovers have an opportunity to consider their favorite music through another medium. “Operart,” a new exhibit at the Israeli Opera, offers seven works by photographers who offer interpretations of seven operas — “La Boheme,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Don Giovanni,” “Don Carlos,” “The Tale of Tsar Saltan,” “Dido and Aeneas” and “Carmen” — being performed this season at the Israeli Opera.

The photographers didn’t see the productions, but studied the librettos and music, and met with the opera’s artistic directors, allowing their works to offer another level of observation on the entire medium.

“Operart” will be open Thursday, November 2, through November 12 at the Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, 60 Ahad Ha’am, Tel Aviv, and then will be on display in the foyer of the Shlomo Lahat Opera House throughout the opera season.

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