World Jewish Communities

World Jewish Communities: Portrait of a People in Transition

 As a documentary photographer for nearly twenty years, I have been dedicated to studying the evolution of communities as brought on by modernization as well as catastrophies. My work has concentrated on documenting the changing ancient Jewish communities in various areas of the world. Many of these World Jewish communities have faced historical and political isolation yet maintains their devotion to Judaism. While migration changes the location of a community, the slower process of transitions over time is as powerful a force for change.

My body of work pays tribute to the endurance and evolution of Jewish life around the world. I am forever touched by the rich Jewish culture both within and outside the United States and Israel. Jewish life everywhere is flavored by the indigenous culture while maintaining rituals and laws that are unique to Judaism. However, each of these precious expressions of Jewish culture is threatened by global trends. My work meets an urgent need to create a record of the diverse ways of Jewish life in communities around the world before they are forever changed and to explore the inevitable transition as it occurs. Through my travels, I have gained a deeper appreciation for and connection with my own Jewish Heritage.

Throughout my travels, Hebrew, the common language of our ancestors, offers not only a way to converse but also an opportunity to develop connections. In each community that I have had the privilege to photograph, I have sought out to explore the commonality as well as to celebrate our diversity as Jews. My curiosity of our history and our roots has opened my eyes to the rich Jewish culture outside the United States and Israel. Jewish life everywhere is flavored by the indigenous culture while maintaining rituals that are unique to Judaism. We see the juxtaposition of ancient Jewish rituals with modern day lifestyles. We bear witness to the ways these communities have been transformed and continue to change.

My travels have taken me from the remote Simian Mountains of Ethiopia to the dense city of Bombay. The past three years have taken me to Cuba to document a community that is struggling to find a voice with religious practices once again open. I have spent time documenting the Jewish community in Turkey and Morocco. I have documented the re-emerging community in the Ukraine. I have spent time photographing in Argentina where from the original Jewish farmers emigrating after the Holocaust there are now half a million Jews in Buenos Aires alone. My journey has also taken me to the vibrant and very much growing community in Paris where many of the community have come from Tunisia and Morocco. And I have continued to document the Jewish community in Boston where I have spent the past fifteen years of my life.My passion for photography and for its ability to capture the essence of a situation has kept my process straightforward and simple. I have always worked with a 35mm camera for the mobility and unobtrusiveness of its design. I have used either black and white or color negative film enlarging the images to 16×20 for exhibitions. My approach is of a documentary photographer, always searching for unusual moments and connections while trying to convey images that are compelling and worthy of the test of time.