Jodi in Israel: Episode Eight

Episode 8:  Art is an effort to create, beside the real world, a more humane world. - Andre Mouris, Author

On Wednesday, we began our day touring the arts and community tracks of the north district of Ga’Aton, Regba and Kfar Rosh Hanikra, starting off at the location of a familiar face to the Dayton community: Yochanan Kishon, an Israeli photography teacher, artist and curator with over 30 years of experience. Yochcanon visited Dayton in 2014 as part of the successful series of photography programs through our JCC.  Cathy and I were browsing through a book of photos when lo and behold, we came across a photo by Daytonian Shumalit Adler who visited our Partnership region for a photography seminar.  It was really cool reuniting with our old friend Yochcanon, hearing him talk about his passion for photography and seeing the work of a local Daytonian on display. 

Next we went to the Kalderon MD Glass Studio – what an incredible workshop!  Kalderon MD founders and husband/wife team of Danny & Michal Kalderon are leading innovators of a uniquely artistic glassware collections.  With over twenty years of experience, Kalderon MD has become well-known for its fresh design concepts and high quality finishes with all of the pieces being handmade!

Danny is responsible for the design and creative aspects, while Michal runs the commercial side of the business.  And what a savvy business manager she is – their current marketing platform includes photos of Danny’s pieces taken in nature and near the ocean which totally showcase the exquisite, unique beauty of all of his pieces. 

We toured the workshop and met with the small staff who showed us how Danny’s creations are brought to life – we were surrounded by colors, shapes, molds and the creative energy of the shop was evident.  I wanted to buy everything!

Our final stop was the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC) one of the leading dance companies in the world.  With its technically strong and physically eclectic cast of dancers and its dynamic sensibility, KCDC characterizes Israeli dance at its best and performs regularly in the most respected theaters and at leading festivals worldwide.

KCDC was founded in 1973 by the late Yehudit Arnon who laid the foundation for today’s thriving International Dance Village which was developed and continues to evolve into a first-class center for dance under the leadership of Rami Be’er and KCDC’s management and staff.  (I will tell you a little bit more about the incredible Yehudit Arnon in just a minute.)

KCDC is situated in a beautiful location at the International Dance Village in Kibbutz Ga’aton, Israel.  The International Dance Village is the heart and home of the company and is comprised of nearly 80 Israeli and international dancers.  These dancers make up KCDC’s Main Company, KCDC’s Second Company, and KCDC’s 5-month & 10-month international study abroad dance program Dance Journey.  

Now let me tell you a little about the late founder of KCDC Yehudit Arnon z’l - Born in Kumarno, Czechoslovakia, Yehudit survived World War II as a young girl in the Auschwitz death camp.  The story goes that she was ordered by a group of soldiers to dance for them, but she refused.  She was punished by being left outside with no shoes or protective clothing in unfathomably cold, snowy conditions.  While she stood outside, Yehudit made the promise to herself that if she survived this terrible ordeal, that she would create a place for dance to teach and share her love of dance with others.  In 1948, together with her husband Yedidia, she arrived in Israel with the first group of pioneers from Hungary, who established Kibbutz Ga’aton in Western Galilee and the rest is history.

Our group was treated to two different dance sessions.  In the first session, the dancers were just learning a new routine – it was incredible to see them learn the complicated, body twisting movements of the dance in such a short period of time.  Next, we walked over to another rehearsal space where another group dancers performed a program for us.  They even included members from our group to participate - our own Irvin Moscowitz demonstrated some cool dance moves.  We were all so captivated by this group of talented young people.

After lunch, all the groups met again to work more on the visioning and strategic plan for the Partnership2Gether program.  Our Dayton group was front and center sharing ideas and helping to form the new mission and vision for the program. 

It was a truly inspiring day.

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