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Although statistics say that less than half of American Jewry has visited Israel even once, I've managed to get there some 25 times. During those trips (the first visit was a full academic year) I photographed for myself, and also on assignment for social service organizations, youth programs, and universities.

I'm glad to share below a number of photo essays:  Judah S. Harris: Israel Photographs 1983-2008, contains nearly 60 images with short but revealing comments on each. The series Nefesh B'Nefesh Welcoming Ceremony captures the arrival of new olim one morning last summer and the piece titled
A Day at Weizmann describes some of what takes place at one of the world's leading research institutions.

You'll see further down that when Israel was 50 years old, the NY Times featured my Israel photos on the Op-Ed Pages. If you're hoping to see photos that portray even earlier years in Israel's development, take a  look at my biographical essay Eyeing History: Leni Sonnenfeld's AMIT Photographs 1950-1980.

For a taste of Israeli and Mizrachi music, you can catch my short film of the singer, guitarist, flutist Yoel Sharabi live in concert. Or get yourself to Israel for a broader choice of perfomers.


in this issue
PHOTO ESSAY: Judah S. Harris: Israel Photographs 1983-2008
PHOTO ESSAY: Nefesh B'Nefesh Welcoming Ceremony for New Olim
PHOTO ESSAY: A Day at Weizmann
ESSAY: Leni Sonnenfeld's AMIT Photographs 1950-1980
NY Times Op-Ed Pages featured Judah S. Harris photos on Israel's 50th anniversary
SHORT FILM: Yoel Sharabi in Concert
Photo classes in Israel this summer
$125 coupon offer - sign up now to get yours!
Some good reasons to join my mailing list
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PHOTO ESSAY:  An acclaimed collection of Israel photographs with commentary 

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Judah S. Harris: Israel Photographs 1983-2008, originally published last year at this time, offers 25 years of picture taking, as I share my personal encounters, both visually and with written commentary, during more than 25 visits to Israel.

Starting with a year spent abroad post-high school at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh, an hour from Jerusalem (on the 438 bus) and half hour from the seaside city of Ashdod, I grew over the years in my appreciation for the country, my familiarity with the language, and in my ability as a visual artist.

See a collection of nearly 60 images and read the intro to catch the story of my first, and totally "unauthorized," pseudo-exhibit, displayed daringly during the later parts of my first year in Israel, on the lunchroom walls of the yeshiva I was attending. 

View the Photo Essay

PHOTO ESSAY: Nefesh B'Nefesh Welcoming Ceremony for New Olim

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2000 new olim arrived in Israel last summer on charter and group flights coordinated by Nefesh B'Nefesh, a still-young organization committed to "revitalizing" aliyah from the US, Canada and the UK.

Read my firsthand account and view my series of photographs that portray summer 2008's inaugural NBN Welcoming Ceremony that took place on July 10th at Ben Gurion Airport.

Celebrate aliyah!

"The 777 jumbo jet taxis on the runway. Then the steps are moved into position, the hatch opens, and the new olim exit. About 20 minutes later, with the crowd of guests now outside, homemade signs, Israeli flags and a lot of cheers, songs, and piped in music meet the 220 olim."


PHOTO ESSAY - A Day at Weizmann
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Imagine spending a full day at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, one of the leading institutions in the world that devotes itself to researching the breadth of the sciences and technology.

What might you discover?

You'd discover a whole mini-world devoted to the activity of discovery - a huge campus with 75 buildings to be precise. 

Join me as I walk the campus, meet some of the players (they are called scientists), ask a few questions, and leave at close to 9:30pm with a very finite amount of photographs that can only allude to the seemingly infinite explorations that occupy the master scientists and researchers of our generation.
Essay: Leni Sonnenfeld's AMIT Photographs 1950-1980

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In 2005, AMIT organization celebrated it's 80th anniversary and I was commissioned to write a lead article for AMIT Magazine about Leni Sonnenfeld, a woman photographer who made many trips to Israel over a few decades, on assignment for a number of Jewish organizations including AMIT.

Leni, an immigrant from Germany who'd resettled in the United States, found herself documenting other immigrants who were striving to build new lives and a new country that was becoming a homeland for the Jewish People.

During a few visits, prior to starting the writing of the article, I delved into the archives at the AMIT offices, choosing photographs of Leni's that spoke to me, what I felt was her best work, and images that chronicled the earlier years of the State of Israel; scenes that we can only see today, because people like her chose to document them with care.

There were those who knew Leni Sonnenfeld, but I am not one of them, and the chances are that most who will read this never knew her or even of her. But still, the scenes she captured on film are the initial chapters in our own more-modern story. And what we are privy to witness today, if properly preserved for future sharing, will in turn be the building chapters for those who arrive at a slightly later point on this continuum that we call Jewish History.

Meet Leni Sonnenfeld

NY Times Op-Ed Pages featured Judah S. Harris photos on Israel's 50th
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When Israel was celebrating it's 50th anniversary in 1998, The NY Times featured my Israel photographs running the entire length of the Op-Ed Page. The art director of the Op-Ed Pages at the time was Nicholas Blechman, an illustrator, art director, and political cartoonist. I brought him a stack of photos, and he chose a nice number of them, and ran detail shots of each, numbering them from 1 to 50. Actually, some of the details shots are from the same images, so there were less than 50 photos that were used. Maybe 35-40 total.

I remember being in his office and looking at his original layout, and feeling that they were cropped into too much (for my taste), so I asked him to come out wider to be able to show more of the image. He did and I can only imagine the time he put into scanning the prints, making the design, and then adjusting it to satisfy the photographer too. All in a day's work.

My photographs have appeared on the Op-Ed pages on a number of occasions, and also elsewhere in the paper a couple of times, alas not of late.

See a larger version of the page  

SHORT FILM: Yoel Sharabi in Concert

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I first heard the Israeli and Mizrachi singer Yoel Sharabi perform when I was in college. He would be the headliner at some of the Chanukah and Israel Independence Day Concerts on campus at Yeshiva University. For students he was an entertainer whose music evoked the music of Israel, the Jewish People, and other cultures too.

Filmed at a Queens, NY concert on January 19th, 2008 with a Canon HV20, this short video (17 min) features highlights of the concert and includes a selection of Hebrew songs, classic Mizrachi music, a Yiddish lullaby, a song in Spanish, and an up-close display of Yoel Sharabi's agility with guitar and flute. He can even play two flutes at once, though he didn't at this perfomance.

To book Yoel Sharabi for a private party or community event, contact me directly.

His CD Shalom Aleichem is also available for sale while supplies last for $12, and that includes shipping! Good value, if you ask me, and makes a great gift. (Order the CD at Yoel's website and tell him you heard about it here and that you'd like him to autograph it for you.)  

Watch the Film

Photo classes in Israel this summer led by Judah S. Harris
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Thanks to those of you who've expressed interest in my teaching this summer (and fall) in Israel. Although the schedule is not yet formalized, I hope there will be a number of opportunities for courses at various skill and interest levels, both in Jerusalem and to points beyond the city.

Whether you are a serious beginner, advanced amateur, or working professional, there will be a course that will benefit you. I also teach privately one-on-one and offer a special pricing incentive to new students.

There will also be upcoming class and workshop opportunities in the NYC area (if you live elsewhere in the US, consider organizing a group of eight or more people).

To receive info about upcoming classes, drop me a line and specify your specific interests:

Contact form for photo classes & workshops

$125 coupon offer - EXTENDED TILL DEC. 15th, 2009

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Register online to receive your free $125 coupon. The coupon will be sent to registrants via email and must be redeemed by 12/15/09 to book photography for any event scheduled during the 2009 calendar year. Limit one per family or mailing address.

Allow 5-7 days for receipt of your coupon. This coupon has no cash value and may not be sold or traded, but may be transferred to another individual, provided the new recipient registers the coupon via email with Judah S. Harris Photography + Film prior to 12/15/09. Other restrictions may apply.

Get the Coupon

Real good reasons to join the Judah S. Harris email list or Facebook Group

(Here's some praise from across the US, Canada and Israel)

"Judah, this was really beautiful"

"WOW!! This is just great!!"
"Thank you for sending this beautiful essay"

"Your pictures and essays are always wonderful"

"The photos are magical, and the writing superb"

"Keep em coming...I love your emails...they're a great distraction for those of us not in the same skillset as you..."

"What an incredible essay on Tisha B'Av. It had me crying by the end of it.... Thank you for your most poignant writing"

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Judah S. Harris | photography + film | Kew Gardens Hills | NY | 11367