Beginning January 22 the JCC and the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) are teaming up to bring a photo exhibition to the JCC lobby, sharing and celebrating the beauty and inspiration of the land of Israel, which a group of Columbus women recently found during a JWRP-led trip to Israel. This was the first time JWRP launched its flagship program, the eight-day “Momentum” tour of Israel, out of Columbus, as well as the first time many of the tour’s participants had visited Israel.
The trip was a first, as well, for Lisa Crawford of New Albany, who took the awe-inspiring photographs. As one of the trip’s 10 female participants, she volunteered to visually document their journey to share with her fellow travelers. Her photos were so moving for what she now calls her “sisters in Israel,” as the trip went on, the 10 women decided they should be shared with the entire community. “We thought, ‘Everyone has to see these photos.’ We hope that this piques interest in the trip for next year. I hope people walk past the photos and it ignites a spark of the love of Israel,” Crawford explained.
To this end, the JCC will host a reception at 7 pm on January 22 during which the community may enjoy the beautiful photographs, learn more about the JWRP’s mission to provide subsidized travel opportunities for women (and men) to journey and visit the land of Israel, and purchase these works of art. All art will be for sale and each photograph will be accompanied by personal essays from each of the trip’s participants, detailing how the trip was meaningful or impacted their lives directly.
During the trip that took place last June, participants visited Tsfat, Masada, the Western Wall, the Dead Sea, rode camels, visited a shuq, and toured Jerusalem extensively. But it was the unexpected that moved the women the most, Crawford explained as she shared a story of the first day they arrived in Israel.
Their trip took place shortly after news broke that three teenage boys, Gilad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah, and Naftali Fraenkel, had been abducted. “They had found those three boys had been killed. The very first day. It was right after dinner and then they came in with this announcement. We all came together, 400 of us, and put our arms around each other and sang really quietly, and said a prayer. It was a beautiful moment that really bonded us for the whole trip. Then, when we got to Ben Yehuda Street, I took this really beautiful picture of the memorial candles. I think that for me, that was one of the most vivid moments. Nobody was afraid, nobody showed any fear, no one,” Crawford remembered.
Along with the JWRP and the exhibit’s organizers, Crawford hopes that the photographs, which not only document their trip but the experience of everyday life in Israel, will help rekindle memories and awaken interest in others who have never been. “I tried to document lots of different things—the food, the colors, everyday life, the people on the street, the sights, the sounds, the tastes, everything,” Crawford added. As her first trip to Israel did for her, she hopes the photos will provide a more vivid connection for others to the land of Israel. Connecting women (and men) to the land of Israel is JWRP’s primary mission, and they hope this exhibit helps bring awareness to their cause.
Admission to the 7 pm January 22 opening reception will cost $18 at the door. To learn more and RSVP for the January 22 opening reception, contact Shelly Dembe at Shellydembe@gmail.com.