icnext 6: Words From Israel


Photographs in this exhibit were taken by the 20 student members of israel.cleveland.next (icnext) Cohort 6, during their Israel Mission in June of 2018. 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 visit, about Israel. icnext is a unique 2-year program that educates a dedicated group of Cleveland’s Jewish 10th and 11th graders to become the next generation of Israel advocates in high school and on their college campuses. icnext prepares Israel advocates and Jewish leaders.

During the 2 years of involvement, participants attend seminars, take part in an exchange program with teens from Beit Shean/Emek HaMayanot, and enjoy a 10-day fact-finding trip to Israel. Ultimately they are leading educational and cultural activities designed to build understanding and support for the state of Israel.

Members of icnext Cohort 6: Emily Axner, Sophie Bravo, Andrew Caplan, Brian Caplan, Sophie Caplin, Danny Ecker, Max Feinleib, Sammi Fremont, Aidan Gross, Josh Isakov, Anna Jaffe, Adam Kahn, Jack Kannensohn, Aaron Lee, Jacob Levine, Elijah Saunt, Leah Schneider, Kayla Soclof, Danielle Stein, Alyssa Strongosky, Dylan Sussman, Noah Turoff


Leah Schneider 



Andrew Caplan, Brian Caplan, Kayla Soclof



Morgan Mann


My experience in Israel was enlightening for many reasons, but mainly because I was given the opportunity to see this beautiful country through two lenses: my own eyes and my camera.  For a person to fully understand something, whether it’s a place, an event, or a person, they must experience it visually via picture or photograph. The theme of our photo exhibit is language, and the photographs you’ll see show language in many different forms. The process of taking photographs in Israel opened all members of our Cohort to  the ideas of taking risks. Taking as many photos as possible, as we tried to capture moments from different angles. After going through over 1000 photos taken in less than two weeks, the exhibit’s curator team narrowed it down to just under 50 photos. We all really hope you enjoy our view of Israel.

In order to organize this visual representation, we have divided the photographs into categories. One of our categories, the most obvious that would come from the theme language, is dialogue. In Israel, countless languages are spoken from Hebrew to Arabic to English. In selecting photos for the exhibit, we are hoping that some of the photos capture the feeling that one gets hearing this symphony of multiple dialects.  While we were there, we snapped shots of people in their element, such as people working together on a puzzle or buying food at the Shuk in Tel Aviv. Beyond dialogue and words, body language is another form of dialogue used constantly throughout Israel, so having a photograph where one is using both their words and body to display a message is strong. You can tell the passion a person has in what they’re trying to say, and having one category of our exhibit be dialogue allowed us to show our passion for Israel.

As we travelled from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv to Beit She’an and in between, signs were everywhere. On the freeway in Cleveland, for example, we may not realize the signs all around, but in Israel, signs aren’t just on the roads. They’re next to you on the sidewalk, covered up by graffiti or warning you of danger ahead. Even though most of the signs in Israel are written in Hebrew, one must use their surroundings to understand the messages and language of the sign. As a group, the signs around us guided us to where to go, where not to go, and what was going on in that specific place.

We had the opportunity of going on a graffiti tour while in Israel. After that, we noticed graffiti covers the buildings, stones, and playgrounds of Israel. Whether it is a quick message pointing someone in a direction or an inspirational quote, Israel uses its graffiti as another form of language. Most of the graffiti in Israel gets covered up or continued from other artists, which shows the complexity and importance of graffiti. Even though graffiti has been criminalized in Israel, it is a very important role in everyday society to show all sides of the artist’s opinion or belief.

While in Israel, we learned about the more challenging things going on, such as poverty and military threats. Many of the people and places we photographed were showing their emotions towards these things, whether it was with anger, sadness or sorrow. However, there are many joyous moments in Israel, with celebration of love, life, and each other. Emotion is a difficult thing to photograph and explore with just one picture so our category shows people experiencing a variety of emotions, expressing them through different language methods.

Israel is a country that has undergone serious changes since its establishment. Within the ancient walls of Jerusalem, new bridges are being built and trees sprout from the old but nourishing soil. In the markets, people who’ve lived in Israel for decades use their historical background to create new art pieces expressing the older times in Israel. The Old and New nature of Israel gives the country a captivating edge. The country is not afraid to have older brick buildings right in front of new glass skyscrapers. This intricate essence allows Israel to speak to its people, and communicating this concept through the limitations of a photograph is a challenge that our icnext Cohort enjoyed.

Leah Schneider 

icnext 6 Photo Exhibit’s Project Leader


Welcome to the Cohort 6 Photo Exhibit: Words From Israel.
Throughout our June, 2018 Israel Mission, we were fortunate enough to look at Israel through the perspective of languages – not simply dialogue and words but rather a variety of communications that ultimately make up a culture. We were able to take a look at all of the different kinds of language Israel has to
offer, giving us a new outlook on the country itself. Israel’s language is Israel’s culture.

Dialogue is one of the most obvious forms of language. Within the Israeli culture, there are so many different spoken dialects from Hebrew to Arabic to English and more. The country is a linguistic melting pot! We got the privilege of seeing dialogue come to life by hearing many people express differing opinions about

the country. As we explored Israel, we were able to capture photos of these people conversing in all sorts of ways about all sorts of things. The ability of people to be able to converse in any way they want is one thing that allows Israel to be a country of so many lifestyles.

Exploring Israel for 10 days, we were able to see how the Signs throughout the country use language. Each sign was constructed in a way that everyone could understand. Most signs had at least 3 languages – Hebrew, Arabic, and English – while other signs made their point through pictures. We studied these signs, where they were posted, what they said, and the meaning behind them.

In another form, Emotion is an expression of language. Ones emotion and body language can sometimes communicate more than spoken words ever can.
They can show joy, sadness, comfort, discomfort, anger, or excitement. It is possible to understand how someone feels just by looking at their facial expressions and their body language. This form of communication can be more meaningful than words because, since it is unspoken, it requires a different kind of attention. It does not just pop out at you, rather, you have to open your eyes and look for it.

Roaming the streets of Israel, you are bound to see Graffiti. Art is one of the most important forms of language because it expresses emotion when words cannot. Graffiti artists in Israel use buildings, walls and fences as a canvas to make their emotions and opinions public. Israel’s graffiti artists are able to express their divergent views anonymously without fear of being censured or criticized.

Every piece of street art has a story behind it and offers a window into Israeli culture and language.

Although Israel was established only 70 years ago, she is rooted in Biblical times, creating a modern culture that is both Old and New. Israelis are responsible for creating some of the most monumental technological advances in today’s world, yet simultaneously, the country contains some of the most ancient artifacts ever found. This meeting of the ancient world and modernity, coming together despite their divergence, makes Israel unique. The old and the new together speak a language that no other country has. The excitement of the rejuvenated Jewish People reentering the land of the forefathers after 2000 years is bigger than words can begin to explain.

Enjoy our Photo Exhibit

Kayla Soclof, Cohort 6