“When was the last time you were walking down the street and you spoke to a complete stranger?” asks Israeli photographer Erez Kaganovitz. When five years ago he moved to Tel Aviv, he found himself amazed enough by the diversity of his adopted city that, moved by curiosity, he began to approach people. What emerged is his art project “Humans of Tel Aviv,” more than 1,000 portraits of everyday people and a glimpse into their life stories.
A Jewish Federation-supported free exhibition of “Humans of Tel Aviv” will be on display as a video installation from October 9th through December 30th at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Co-presented by Citizens Diplomacy International, it opens an unexpected window into Philadelphia’s sister city: a place that is beautiful, vibrant and as unique as the people who live there. Here’s a sneak peek.
I was born in Iraq. I remember my father playing with the masbaha. Even though it’s used in the Muslim world as prayer beads, I use it to clear my mind.
Ten years ago when I came here I felt all alone. All of my friends and family were 10,000 miles away from me. Today I just need to log onto social media and I get the latest news from back home.
I was born a Shia Muslim in south Lebanon. I joined Hezbollah in order to destroy them from within, helping prevent many terrorist attacks.The fact that we are even speaking right now is a pure miracle. After all the things I’d gone through in Lebanon, I reached the conclusion that the truth is in Judaism and decided to convert. Ibrahim Yassin, the Shia Muslim from southern Lebanon became Avraham Sinai, an ultra-Orthodox Jew from the holy city of Safed.
There is no way in the world that I will disguise myself. Sometimes in life, we need to put on a tie, but at the same time we need to remember to loosen the knot so we can be the person that we really are.
Wearing black doesn’t make you a better Jew. Faith comes from the inside out. I’m your modern hipster Jew.
I was born in Addis Ababa and came to Israel when I was one year old. It’s about time people understand that there is no difference between white and black.
Don’t wait 99 years to accomplish the things you really want to do in your life. Follow your dreams.
You will never be an individual if you keep dancing to the rhythm of the tribal drum.
Meet Manny and Yarit
Love can triumph everything. If it’s so important for her family, I don’t mind being converted to Judaism. I’m following my heart. If that means being Jewish — I don’t mind.
Sometimes I feel like a biblical character for deciding to leave my home and family behind me and devote myself to G-d.