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12.25.15 Issue

by Mary Sue Grossman, Center for Jewish Life

Through Omaha’s Partnership2 GETHER program of the Jewish Agency for Israel, artists in the community are invited — and encouraged — to participate in the 2016 “Artist Workshops in the Western Galilee.” Noa Friedman Epstein, Arts and Community Coordinator for P2G explained, “The AIR program is the flagship program of the Arts and Community Task Force. This is the 7th year that we invite artists from all disciplines to come to the Western Galilee and contribute their knowledge and talent with local artists to create meaningful community projects together.” Noa remarked that through this program “strong friendships have been formed between Israeli and American artists and many other people in the region.”

The 2016 program will be held from May 19-27. Applications for participation are being accepted from artists working in all mediums  including, but not limited to: photography, music, painting, theater, art therapy, writing, etc. This is a juried program with limited space available.  Each artist accepted into the program will be matched with the appropriate/related groups and resources to make the most of their time and creative offering.

One of last year’s participants was Mark Kirchhoff of the Jewish Federation of Omaha, Center for Jewish Life. “This was the first time that the program was organized with the majority of the delegation participating as one group with one objective,” he said. “There were seven photographers from the United States and one photographer from Budapest, Hungary, using their skills to document through photographs and narratives the diversity that is present in the Western Galilee. Each photographer worked with four different individuals.”

Noa shared that “the 2015 AIR project has produced a remarkable exhibit titled Faces and Names in the Western Galilee showcasing 40 photographs of residents, along with their life stories.” The exhibit will have its debut showing at the P2G Steering Committee Meeting at Fort Worth in January. The official opening will be at the Okashi Museum in Akko, Israel on July 8 and will be available for viewing through Sept. 3. The exhibit will then travel throughout the Partnership communities.

“The 2015 AIR project was an experience beyond that of being a casual tourist,” said Mark. “I felt like I was not only experiencing the lives of these people now, but also a sense of history and a perspective on Israel that each person held.” Mark also related that the hospitality of the Partnership staff, the effort they put forth in arranging tours of the area, and the warmth of sharing Shabbat in a private home and dinner in another home later in the week added depth and meaning to the program. “In some ways, the work as an artist was secondary. The connection with people will be for a lifetime,” Mark concluded.

Each artist is responsible for round trip flight costs, health insurance, private local transportation, and any additional private meals or activities. Partnership2GETHER provides lodging and transportation to art sites; breakfast, lunch, and home hospitality dinners; local trips in the Western Galilee, and art materials/equipment as determined for each participant. Participants are required to share the AIR program experience and art with the local community in the US — bringing the connection full circle.

Interested artists must complete a 2016 Artist Workshops application and the deadline is Feb. 1. Applications may be obtained by calling 402.334.6463, emailing mkirchhoff@, or on the Center for Jewish Life/ Partnership2GETHER page at Applicants must also submit a résumé or CV, and five examples of their work. Applications are also available by contacting Noa Friedman Epstein at or Dena Eber at

The Center for Jewish Life, through the Jewish Federation of Omaha, participates in the Partnership2GETHER program as part of its mission to maximize involvement of Omaha’s Jewish community in imaginative, compelling and meaningful Jewish experiences. For additional information, please call 402.334.6445.