Jewish and Arab orphaned children at the Agial Experimental School in Jaffo participated in a Marionette building project conducted by the Raz-Ram Foundation. During this annual project, the activities centered around the creation and operation of marionette puppets. In addition to creating the puppets, each child built his own personal story, and together with other members of the group, conducted their own puppet theater.
In cooperation with the Department for Social Action at the University of Tel-Aviv, the Raz-Ram Foundation made special meetings between orphaned children from Jaffa and students from the Faculty of Arts, in the joint research of subjects that have both scientific and artistic importance. The activity included visits to the zoo, planetarium, preparation of a movie, and tours of Jaffa and the University. This joint activity of the Raz-Ram Foundation and students from Tel-Aviv University is expanding to form the infrastructure for social involvement in Tel-Aviv-Jaffa, according to the “Seeds of Creation and Memory” model which the Raz-Ram Foundation is developing.
Other Activities of this Seeds of Creation:
Sciences and the Arts
Designing a New Life – A project for renewing old furniture and objects
“The Substance of Memories”- Background
The Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa is one of the country’s foremost museums, which combines permanent exhibitions from the fields of archaeology with a distinguished art collection. In July 2002, the museum staff hosted a group of children through the Raz Ram Fund for a full day of activities, which included a musical performance in the museum’s auditorium presented by the musicians and children of the Fund. In light of the great success of this one-day event, it was decided to build on the connection with the University of Haifa in general, and the Hecht Museum in particular, and make them the focal point for the Haifa Seeds of Creation. Within this context, the Haifa Seeds of Creation will develop a program, entitled “The Substance of Memories” based on artistic creation and study of art theory, with an emphasis on art history and archaeology. Alongside the art/archaeology connection, the theme of memory will be explored, from a historical perspective and through the individual perspective of each of the participants.
Art in Time
Summer Program at the Hecht Museum
The Raz-Ram Fund will be hosting groups of children at the Hecht Museum for a Summer Program during the months of July and August. The program will include one-day activities featuring creative art projects and archaeological research. The program will be staffed by students from the University of Haifa and Hecht Museum staff and artists from Raz-Ram, and will incorporate work with materials including paper, clay, glass, copper and wood, relating to different historical periods. Emphasis will be placed on inter-cultural influences which are evidenced in these materials.
As part of the “Perach” program, a group of orphaned new immigrant children from Russia, brought to Israel through the efforts of the Communications Division of the Prime Minister’s Office, live and go to school in the town of Kfar Hassidim. Over the past year, the Raz Ram Foundation has conducted an arts project with these children, and has also integrated the Kfar Hassidim orchestra, conducted by Barak Mendel, into its different activities around the country.
Garden of the Spring- Background
In the ancient Druse village of Hurfeish, located in the Western Galilee, the Raz-Ram Foundation established a joint project for orphaned children from Hurfeish and the Druse villages of Cisra, Bet-Jan and Usafiya. The project took place in a local community center in Hurfeish and also included children from a boarding school in the village, as well as other orphaned Druse children and children who were removed from dysfunctional homes.
As part of the project, the participants learned and carried out the entire process of building marionette puppets – preparing plaster models, sculpting, assembling the different pieces, painting the facial features, sewing the costumes, and more. The children also participated in a wide range of other creative activities, attended a special musical performance, and participated in a rhythm/musical activity. A group of Conservative rabbis from New York visited one of the activities, at the initiative of the Jewish Agency, which also supports the project. The rabbis, together with the children, created a commemorative statue and also visited the memorial for fallen Druse soldiers in the village.
The final exhibition for the project included a ceremony marking the laying of the cornerstone for the “Garden of the Spring” park. During the celebration, which was sponsored by the Minister of Culture, children from the Foundation’s Seeds of Creation activities around the country came to Hurfeish to see the exhibition of marionettes and take part in a wide variety of creative projects. Among the visitors were Beduin children from Rahat, Arab children from Jaffa, new immigrant children from Rehovoth and Rishon le Zion, Ethiopian children from Absorption Centers in Safed, and children from boarding schools in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. In an activity designed to give free reign to their creativity and imaginations, the children faced the Wadi where the village’s historic spring is set, and each one drew his own personal vision and designed the landscape of his spirit.
The Garden of the Spring site, which is part of the local Druse heritage, will be incorporated into the design of the future project, as a memorial park in memory of the fallen Druse soldiers. The park will comprise the materials inherent to the site: water, wood, earth, stone, etc., and will serve as a center for activities related to creativity and the local heritage. It will be a meeting place for inter-cultural gatherings, based on the values of peace and co-existence, and honoring individual and collective memory.
Other activities of this Seeds of Creation:
“Orphans without Borders”
The Babushkas of Bet Jan, Maghar, Hurfeish and Cisra Seminar:
The Galilee – A Culture of Memory and Peace
Garden of the Spring
Bells of Hurfeish
“Tree of Life” Project- Background
The village of Maghar is situated on the slopes of Mount Hazon in the Galilee, and has a mixed population of Druze, Christians and Muslims. In cooperation with the department for women’s services at the local Community Centers, the Raz-Ram Fund has created a special artistic project for widowed women and their children. Within the context of this project, the widowed women are able, for the first time, to meet with other women who share their experience of loss, in a supportive, artistic and creative environment. It also provides their children with an excellent opportunity to examine and process their feelings of loss through a creative artistic process, together, and with the Raz-Ram staff.
To the children artworks
As part of the project, the participants identify a special tree that has traditional or historical significance within the village. Working with clay, they create their own wind chimes. The finished wind chimes are then strung among the branches of this Tree of Life, transforming it into a site that connects art and memory, life and death, pain and hope, quiet and music.
The Love and Peace Theater- Background
“House of Love and Peace” is a boarding school located in Kfar Ramah, a village in the Western Galilee. The school, which was founded by a local minister and his wife, provides a warm and supportive environment for about forty children and youth who are either orphaned or have been removed from dysfunctional homes.
Raz-Ram Fund invited the children from the Love and Peace school to participate in several Raz-Ram events at sites around the country: a one-day Creative Happening in Jerusalem which included a visit to the President’s Residence, and an evening of artistic performances by Raz-Ram artists at the Enav Center in Tel Aviv. From the start, both the school management and the students expressed a strong interest in developing their own creative program with the Raz-Ram Fund. During the Enav Center event, one of the students from the school announced that, by next year, he wanted to be performing on the stage too.
Today, through the Raz-Ram Fund, the Love and Peace Theater program is underway. Achmed Dohan, a talented theater professional from Nazareth, who recently returned from a long stay in France, has begun work with the school’s students on a theater production entitled “A Story of Love and Peace”, which will be performed during the summer. The production, which addresses the problems of children around the world, uses techniques of movement to emphasize the issues of freedom, growth and love.
This is the first stage in a program that the Raz-Ram Fund is developing for boarding schools, which emphasizes the promotion of an integrated, creative outlet which will answer many of the needs of its students. It is hoped that this theatrical program, now being developed at the House of Love and Peace, will also serve as a role model which can be adopted by the many institutions of this kind in the country.