Summer Cultural Spotlight: July in Jerusalem

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This month’s cultural hotlist is full of the joys of summer, with an abundance of festivals, art school finales, exhibition openings and high-profile performances. In an exciting month for film, the Jerusalem Cinématheque will host the acclaimed Jerusalem International Film Festival, offering up 10 days of screenings and events for our entertainment. The festive atmosphere will also include family-friendly events such as the sustainability-themed Festival BaYadayim and the science-based Flying High Street Festival taking place in July. Students across Jerusalem arts schools will also be celebrating, concluding their studies with public showcases of their work. Thrown into the mix are theatrical performances at Jerusalem’s leading theatres and original exhibitions across the city.


Events below involve institutions and projects supported by The Jerusalem Foundation.


Dinosaur Kingdom @Jerusalem Botanical Garden

1st July – 31st August


For the next two months, parts of the Jerusalem Botanical Garden will be transformed into a land of pre-historic giants as 46 life-size dinosaur models are stationed among the foliage. Visitors are invited to walk among them during the day, with nighttime light arrangements ensuring that the dinosaurs’ presence is still felt after sunset. The Garden, which was founded jointly by The Jerusalem Foundation, The Hebrew University and The Jewish National Fund as a living plant collection and place for scientific study, will also put on special family activities.



Israel Camerata @Jerusalem Theater (Jerusalem Center for the Performing Arts)

1st July, 20.00


Jerusalem Foundation-supported projects join forces tonight as the Jerusalem Theater hosts leading chamber orchestra, the Israel Camerata. Performing Handël’s Baroque oratorio ‘Israel in Babylon’ with the choral assistance of longtime collaborator The New Israeli Vocal Ensemble, the Camerata will fill the Henry Crown Symphony Hall, whose construction was aided by the Foundation. The revered Avner Biron continues to conduct the orchestra.


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Festival BaYadayim@ The First Station/Train Track Park

2nd July, 16.00-20.30


A sustainable festival for all the family, ‘BaYadayim’ will be coming to the First Station and Train Track Park  (Park Hamesilah) this Thursday. If you’re not artistically re-mastering a bike or watching a green circus performance, then you’ll be making merry music with kitchen utensils or joining in with one of the various Do It Yourself ‘repurposing’ family workshops. A bit of music will complete the festive atmosphere.


For more information please press here


Hoodna Afrobeat Orchestra @ Yellow Submarine

2nd July, 22.00


The Yellow Submarine music center, whose founding was assisted by The Foundation, continues to showcase Israel’s freshest young talent with a gig by the Hoodna Afrobeat Orchestra. Hailing from Tel Aviv, the 14-piece band fuse Afrobeat, Afro-funk and Ethiopian jazz rhythms to create upbeat, dance-ready tunes bearing the influence of both traditional and contemporary black music. Expect impressive rows of trumpets, saxes and drums, as well as an irresistible urge to get up and dance.


To view Yellow Submarine’s packed July program and line-up for their weekly Wednesday Jazz nights check out their website:



Flying High Street Festival @Nehorai Sculpture Garden, Katamonim

3rd July, 10.00-14.00


The Bloomfield Science Museum, which was established by The Foundation in partnership with The Hebrew University, brings a plethora of family-friendly workshops to the Katamonim street festival, Flying High. The Nehorai sculpture garden provides a tranquil backdrop for this community-organized event, which will see children learning to build rockets from bottles and designing kites, while music plays in the background. A great way to welcome the summer – not to be missed!


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‘The Yes Men are revolting’ film screening @The Jerusalem Cinématheque

4th July, 21.00


The latest cinematic installment from the ‘culture-jamming activist duo’ The Yes Men will be playing at The Jerusalem Cinématheque this week. It coincides with American Jacque Servin’s Jerusalem Foundation-supported involvement with The Artists’ Studios and Art Cube Gallery International Artist Residency Program. In ‘The Yes Men are revolting,’ as in preceding films, the pair impersonate corporate types in order to condemn perceived corporate and governmental injustice; a tactic that has earned them many an invitation to art shows and film festivals. A Q&A session with Servin will follow the screening.


Further dates: July 11 – Yes Man Activism Workshop (registration required).



The City: Hip Hop Opera @The Incubator

4th July, 21.30. Also showing 23rd July.


The City: Hip Hop Opera continues its successful run at The Incubator Theatre, which prides itself on providing a platform for avant-garde productions in Jerusalem. The cast, who have been praised for their compelling stage presence, deliver a rap opera that draws on spoken word, poetry and hip hop traditions to create a strikingly original piece. A detective story-film noir fusion, The Opera centers on the travails of Joe, an embittered detective who takes on a perilous missing-person case. To witness this linguistic alchemy, book now.


Performance is in Hebrew.



100 Years of Printmaking in Israel: The Major Series @ Jerusalem Print Workshop

Open July 9th till July 17th


The Jerusalem Print Workshop, which was established in 1974 with the assistance of the Foundation, hosts an exhibition celebrating a century of etchings, lithographs and woodcuts produced by leading Jewish artists. Mostly émigrés from Eastern Europe, featured artists take Israel, biblical scenes and Jewish culture across the diaspora as their subjects. Big names include Joseph Budko, who embraced the woodcut revival, Abel Pann, whose biblical lithographs were well-received internationally, and Hermann Struck, who published a seminal text on etching: ‘The Art of Etching.’ As Israel’s leading center for lithographs, etching and silkscreen printing, it is fitting that The Workshop gets to host these graphic greats.


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“Nylon” – A White Night @ Tower of David Museum

9th July, 20.00


The King David Citadel will be visually transformed come Thursday, as artists (and artistes) converge at the ancient site to display their work for the “Nylon” White Night. Billed as the largest exhibition of the year, visual arts projects and performances will permeate every corner of the site to make for a thoroughly immersive cultural experience. This multidisciplinary showcase will include art forms as diverse as poetry, animation, architecture, and performance art, with five hip music acts – including The Angelcy and Echo & Tito – providing a soundtrack to the night.


The Finale @ The School of Visual Theatre

9th July – 15th July


The School of Visual Theater’s week-long Finale returns, showcasing yet more of the innovative, interdisciplinary art that has earned previous students invitations to perform at professional venues and festivals. Graduating students of disciplines as varied as Puppetry, Dance and Visual Arts will present and perform their final projects to the public.. The School, which has received support from the Foundation, strives to create an art form integrating visual and performance art, as the Finale will attest.


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32nd Jerusalem International Film Festival @ The Jerusalem Cinématheque

9th July – 19th July


With a featured short film from the Festival already nominated for an Oscar (‘Aya’), and last year’s ‘Gett’ earning a Golden Globe nomination, The Jerusalem Film Festival is gaining in international prestige. Spanning 10 days and showcasing between 150-200 films, the Festival celebrates its 31st year with a packed program. Long-established themes such as ‘The Jewish Experience’ and ‘In the Spirit of Freedom’ continue to promote discourse about Israel’s unique religious and socio-political status, while competitive categories for Feature, Documentary and Short films also reappear. There’s more to this festival than meets the eye, with film workshops, master classes, filmmaker talks and even a youth film competition to whet appetites. The Jerusalem Cinématheque, which was founded with the assistance of The Foundation, retains its hosting role, while the Foundation-backed Bernstein Prize in memory of Lord Alex Bernstein of England, returns. Previous prize-recipient Helen Yanovsky will have her 2012 film ‘The Jerusalem Boxing Club’ screened on 17th July.


Cat on a hot tin roof by Beit Lessin Theatre @ The Jerusalem Theatre

14th July – 19th September


The Tel Aviv-based Beit Lessin Theatre group brings its production of the Pulitzer prize-winning ‘Cat on a hot tin roof’ to the Jerusalem Theatre this July. The Tennessee William’s classic unfolds over the course of an evening; a Southern American family come together to celebrate a birthday, but beneath the surface lurk relationship issues and personal crises. Big Daddy fears infighting over inheritance should he reveal his illness, Brick has become a depressive alcoholic and Maggie, having escaped poverty, feels unfulfilled. Critics have lavished particular praise on the cast, while enjoying the irony of a set suggesting transparency (two tall glass windows). Book now to see Beit Lessin’s new take on William’s favorite play.


15th, 16th and 17th July @Hazira Performance Art Arena


Multidisciplinary performance art group Hazira continues to stoke the fires of Jerusalem’s alternative arts scene with its annual contemporary dance festival, which is supported by the Jerusalem Foundation. An acute awareness of the body, the forces affecting it and states of being are the central themes communicated by three programs of expressive dance. Ofir Yudilevich’s Gravitas explores gravity’s power to determine movement and even language (hence up/down, light/heavy), while Uri Shafir and Ayala Frenkels’ respective pieces operate along more existentialist lines. Shafir’s protagonist in Coloclum for instance, is beset by paradoxical desires; she wants to be significant and to disappear; to do everything, but doing nothing. A fourth program features video works by longtime collaborators Noa Zok and Ohed Pishof, including a new piece specially commissioned for the festival. Performances are short, and repeated across three nights, so you could easily squeeze in a few.


Opening of ‘Objective’ exhibition @ The Tower of David Museum

16th July, 19.00


Another notable event on the Citadel’s calendar is ‘Objective’, a contemporary design exhibition that brings together two Jerusalem-born artists with disparate design styles. Bezalel design lecturers Ezri Tarzi and Haim Parnas present a personal study of Jerusalem, treating it as both an abstract subject and a producer of rich, albeit politically-charged, material culture. The show restores the Citadel’s museum-gallery function as it was under the British Mandate, so bears historical as well as artistic significance. The exhibition launch is open to all.


Graduates Show @The Naggar School of Photography, Music and New Media

 Opening 16th July, 19.30. Runs until 30th July.


The Naggar School of Photography, Music and New Media jumps on the graduate- show bandwagon with a showcase of its students’ final projects. Their forays into Phototherapy – a young but growing field of art therapy - as well as their New Media and New Music creations, will be on show to the public from 16th July. Some brief explanation will suffice to explain these possibly unfamiliar disciplines: New Media courses explore the interactions between artistic and technological fields (e.g. electronics and programming), while honing students’ conceptual and technical abilities. Meanwhile New Music, which situates the traditional art form within a technological context, has a similar modernizing, alternative bent. Straddling the divide between East and West Jerusalem, the Musrara neighbourhood – where this unconventional art school is situated – is a powerful symbol of the city’s complexities. The institution has become one of Israel’s most highly-regarded art schools since its Foundation-supported establishment in 1986.


Uncle Vanya @ The Jerusalem Khan Theatre

19th & 20th July, 20.30


The renowned Jerusalem Khan Theatre has been producing high-quality plays since its inception in 1972, and may that continue with their adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s famed Uncle Vanya. The eponymous character and his niece are visited on their provincial estate by his brother-in-law, an aged professor, whose appearance causes suppressed emotions to rise to the surface. Opening with characters fantasizing about love, freedom and alternative futures, the play offers a glimpse of a Russia anticipating revolution. The Foundation helped to establish the theatre and has since funded numerous renovation projects.


For full details and the July schedule:


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End of Year Exhibition @ Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design

23rd July – 7th August


Israel’s oldest higher education institution opens its doors to the public to showcase an array of fine art and craft student projects, with screen-based art, ceramics, Jewelry and photography forming one exhibition (opening 23rd July), while the Architecture department hosts a separate display (opens 24th July). Bezalel Academy has been furnishing the national and international cultural scene with innovative Israeli artists, designers and architects for over a century. Pop along for a glimpse of the next generation.


The Young Israel Philharmonic Orchestra @ The Jerusalem Theatre

30th July, 20.00


The Henry Crown Symphony plays host to another classical music concert this month as The Young Israel Philharmonic Orchestra takes to the floor. Ninety of Israel’s finest young players, ranging in age from 14-18, will take on Bloch, Mendelssohn and Ravel. They have been honing their musical skills under the wing of The Jerusalem Music Center, which was co-founded by the Foundation to nurture outstanding talent.