icnext 4: Food For Thoughts


Photographs in this exhibit were taken by the 25 student members of israel.cleveland.next (icnext) Cohort 4, during their Israel Mission in June of 2016. Creating and curating this exhibit is one of their leadership engagement projects. The exhibit will travel to various educational settings throughout our community, and students will act as exhibit docents, engaging and educating those who see it about Israel.

The Photo Exhibit Team: 
Allison Cohen, Adam Marcus, Shira Ophir, Shai Paz, Caleb Segar


Eric Leiser z"l



We focused on the following six categories suggested to us by Dr. Guy Ben-Porat (although we are aware that there are many, many more factors that make up this complicated concept):

Spectrum of Jewish Religion - Most Jews or Jewish families practice Judaism in their own way on a broad spectrum of Jewish practices, but in Israel the vast majority of Jews identify as simply either orthodox or secular. Laws regarding army, workforce and taxes among others are modified in an attempt to respect the orthodox and their practice; however, this has caused noticeable tension and divide between the two groups.

Economic Class - The wage gap grows increasingly large in Israel as bosses and owners of companies are making more and more while workers are making less and less. This is causing a deepening divide among citizens and tension within the nation as a whole.

Political stand on the conflict - Among many unsettled Issues that the Israeli government and the world faces, the future of the relationship between Israelis and the Palestinians is a very significant one. There are some Israelis who lean leftward and are willing to compromise with the Palestinians by giving up some land with the possibility of a two-state solution, and there are others who lean to the right believing that Israel is the Promised Land for the Jewish and that no compromise can be made on the matter. Clearly, this is another source of tension within the nation as they attempt to address this major issue. Jewish vs.

Non-Jewish - The world is very aware that Israel is“The Jewish State; however, more than twenty percent of the population of Israel is not Jewish, and Jerusalem is a holy land for two other religions (Islam and Christianity) as well. It is very important for Israel to find the proper balance of continuing to show pride in being a Jewish State while also honoring and respecting the other religions represented within the state.

Ethnicity - Jews returned to Israel from many different diasporas. While these groups hold the same values and beliefs as Jews, they have different histories and stories of how they came to the land of Israel. This often leads to different lifestyles and causes ethnic divides as Israelis seem to flock towards those whose histories and lifestyles are similar to their own. Center vs.

Periphery - The majority of the Israeli population is settled in a 62 mile strip of land along the Mediterranean coastline in the center of the country. In the middle of this strip is the urban center of Tel Aviv and other larger cities. However, many Israelis live on the periphery of the country. Those Israelis live in Kibbutzim, development towns and Moshavim. These two lifestyles are very different, creating unique identities and the potential for a clash of cultures. Looking through the lens of these six categories, with food as the subject, our cohort has used photography as a way of documenting a new understanding of Israeli identities. Reviewing all the pictures we took during our trip, and deciding which ones went into each category, was a long and tedious process. However, we understood that with a lesson as important as ours, the time was well spent in producing categories that appear exactly as we envisioned.

This exhibit is an attempt to present our new visual understanding of Israeli identities to the Cleveland community. Now please go and enjoy our exhibit!