Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Brilliant History of Color in Art Hardcover – November 1, 2014 by Victoria Finlay( J. Paul Getty Museum)

Who knew that colors have such fascinating stories to tell? Finlay does a wonderful job of describing, in clear, accessible, witty language, how artists around the world, from prehistoric times to the present, have used natural materials, including charcoal, soot, plants, insects, shells, and gems and minerals, to produce magnificent paint and ink colors that continue to dazzle. Today, though, synthetic paints and even computers produce an astonishing range of hues. Browsers and cover-to-cover readers will find some tantalizing information here. For example, Vincent van Gogh once ate his toxic chromium yellow paint; Santa Claus wasn't always clothed in red; thanks to Isaac Newton, there are seven colors in the rainbow; human and animal body wastes were once essential ingredients in color production; and some commonplace colors were created by sheer accident. The handsomely designed book includes 166 excellent reproductions of artworks, many from the collections of Los Angeles's J. Paul Getty Museum. It is filled with illuminating captions and sidebars; reproductions have been perfectly chosen and placed to illustrate the author's narratives; and a "brilliant history of color" is a compelling, readable account of humankind's yearning to express itself beautifully since the beginning of time. An illustration list and lengthy index are included. Recommended for large public library collections and for school libraries; useful in art classes, particularly in units on art history/appreciation, drawing, and painting

The history of art is inseparable from the history of color. And what a fascinating story they tell together: one that brims with an all-star cast of characters, eye-opening details, and unexpected detours through the annals of human civilization and scientific discovery.

Enter critically acclaimed writer and popular journalist Victoria Finlay, who here takes readers across the globe and over the centuries on an unforgettable tour through the brilliant history of color in art. Written for newcomers to the subject and aspiring young artists alike, Finlay’s quest to uncover the origins and science of color will beguile readers of all ages with its warm and conversational style. Her rich narrative is illustrated in full color throughout with 166 major works of art―most from the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Readers of this book will revel in a treasure trove of fun-filled facts and anecdotes. Were it not for Cleopatra, for instance, purple might not have become the royal color of the Western world. Without Napoleon, the black graphite pencil might never have found its way into the hands of C├ęzanne. Without mango-eating cows, the sunsets of Turner might have lost their shimmering glow. And were it not for the pigment cobalt blue, the halls of museums worldwide might still be filled with forged Vermeers.

Red ocher, green earth, Indian yellow, lead white―no pigment from the artist’s broad and diverse palette escapes Finlay’s shrewd eye in this breathtaking exploration.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Jewish Henna Ceremony in Israel

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Henna appears in the Bible, as well as in other Semitic texts of the ancient Near East, and we know that henna was grown and used in the Land of Israel during the Hellenistic period. The earliest explicit records of Jewish henna ceremonies appear in the medieval Mediterranean. Henna use, both for everyday adornment and for ritual purposes, quickly spread throughout the Diaspora and was an established custom among the Jews of Morocco and other North Africancommunities, the Levant and Mediterranean basin, the Arabian Peninsula, and Western, Central and Southern Asia. Henna was used by some Jewish communities as part of everyday female adornment, dyeing hands, feet, nails, and hair. Some communities also used henna as part of ritual celebrations and holidays. The most significant use of henna in Jewish communities, however, is as part of a pre-wedding ceremony. These communities include Jewish communities sometimes called Sephardi ['Spaniards', i.e. descended from Spanish Jews expelled in the 15th century], or Mizrahi ['Orientals'], as well as others.

In these communities, henna was a crucial aspect of the preparations for a Jewish wedding, and often defined the structure of the wedding festivities, from the beginning (marked by the sending of henna from the groom to the bride) through the climax (the main henna ceremony itself) to the end (when the last remnants of henna wore off the skin). Furthermore, henna was used to mark the actors in a variety of other lifecycle events and passage rituals, such as birth, weaning, entering the school system, puberty, and coming out of mourning. It was also used at holiday celebrations and other happy occasions. The symbolism of henna in these Jewish communities was highly polysemous, but it is clear that it had three overarching functions: first, the henna’s staining of skin was seen as beautifying, both as daily adornment and for weddings; second, the materiality of henna was thought as protective, especially of actors at the center of a passage ritual; third, henna was seen as an aid in transforming and guiding the actors into the structure of their new social roles.

Henna in Israel

After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Jewish communities of North Africa, the Levant and Mediterranean basin, and Western, Central and Southern Asia underwent a massive and sudden displacement beginning almost immediately. Within 10 years, the vast majority of these communities had left their homes and been relocated, either to Israel or to Europe and the Americas. 

In Israel, the majority of the rituals and traditions surrounding the henna ceremony were initially abandoned upon arrival for a variety of reasons: socioeconomic circumstances made it uncomfortable to celebrate loudly and publicly for extended periods of time; the disorientation and confusion of integration into Israeli society had broken up communities and disrupted the traditional ritual sequence of events; and the negative stigma attached to markers of Diaspora identity, and Arabness in particular, discouraged immigrants from engaging in what had previously been activities and symbols with high social prestige and value.

It was not until the late 70s, when young non-Ashkenazi Israelis had become increasingly dissatisfied with their marginalization in the public sphere, and they began to vocally demand recognition as legitimate members of Israeli society, that previously-neglected cultural celebrations began to experience a revival: the Moroccan mimuna or the Kurdish saharane holidays, the new emergent style of modern ‘Mizrahi music’, and of course, the henna ceremony.

Today, the revived henna ceremony is very different than its historical predecessors. One of the main changes to the henna ceremony has been in its length and timing. While in the Diaspora, the pre-wedding festivities often lasted a week or more, in Israel they were severely compressed due to constraints of money and time. The application of henna to the bride, whether done over a period of three days, as in Yemen, or whether done multiple times over a two-week period, as in Morocco, was reduced to a single evening. The timing of the henna ceremony was moved from the night before the wedding, or a few days before the wedding, to the week before the wedding or even earlier. Furthermore, where formerly the groom may have been hennaed in a separate ceremony in a separate location, in Israel the two ceremonies were joined, so that the groom sits next to the bride and is hennaed witsth her. Another change was the rapid disappearance of the artistic patterns with which the henna was applied. It appears that the henna patterns practiced by Jewish communities in the Diaspora were almost immediately abandoned upon arrival in Israel. Today, even the memories of these patterns are rapidly disappearing.

Henna ceremonies in Israel today serve to reinforce a pan-ethnic unity, and often an even broader ‘pan-Mizrahi’ unity. The henna ceremonies of the Moroccan Jews and Yemenite Jews became the dominant models, while the henna ceremonies of other non-Ashkenazi communities were either abandoned or subsumed into one of the dominant models (usually Moroccan). Regional differences in the performance of the ceremony were abandoned, and one generic “Moroccan” or “Yemenite” ceremony was formed (it was usually a modification of the customs of the capital, or largest city, that prevailed). For example, one of the most significant and visible manifestations of this is in the clothing worn at the henna ceremony: among Yemenite Jews today, the henna ceremony features the Sana’i headdress, the tishbuk lulu, while similarly among Moroccan Jews the contemporary ceremony generally uses the urban grand dress, the keswa lkbira.

Corbyn’s Disturbing Actions Against Israel and the Jews ( do share), #stephendarori, #BardOfBatYam,#PoetLaureateOfZion

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BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 923, August 16, 2018 by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld  Republished  ( Do read it and share) 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has defined himself as a “friend” and “brother” of genocidal terrorists, and he supports and mixes with Holocaust distorters. Corbyn is an extreme anti-Israel inciter and anti-Semite who has used Iranian media for that purpose.

There is now so much information about the misdemeanors of British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn against Jews and Israel that his wrongdoings can be classified into sub-categories.

The first category is his support for genocidal terrorists. Corbyn welcomed representatives of Hezbollah and Hamas at the British parliament in 2009 and called them his “friends.” It took him until 2016, when he was challenged in the House of Commons by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, to renounce his words.

In 2012, on Iranian Press TV, Corbyn praised Israel’s release of 1,000 Hamas prisoners – terrorists who had killed 600 people between them – and referred to the terrorists as “brothers.” In November 2012, he hosted a meeting in Parliament with Musa Abu Maria, a member of the banned terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He has also shared a platform with the Black September terrorist and hijacker Leila Khaled.

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In August 2018, the Daily Mail disclosed that four years earlier, in Tunisia, Corbyn had stood with a wreath in his hand next to a memorial plaque commemorating the graves of members of the Palestinian Black September movement. This is the terrorist organization that perpetrated the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

The Telegraph has reported that one of the three main donors to Corbyn’s leadership campaign was Ibrahim Hamami, who supports stabbing Jews in Israel. He is a general practitioner living in London and founder of the pro-Hamas group, the Palestinian Affairs Center. Hamami has also been a columnist at an official Hamas newspaper.

Hamami helped organize the visit to Britain of Raed Saleh, who has described Jews as “bacteria” and “monkeys.” Saleh has also promoted the blood libel, claiming that Jews use the blood of gentile children to bake their bread. Corbyn has shared public platforms with Hamami, who acted as Saleh’s spokesman during the visit.

When Saleh was jailed in Britain, Corbyn called him “a very honored citizen who represents his people extremely well” and said he “looked forward to giving [him] tea on the [House of Commons] terrace.” Soon after his election as Labour leader in 2005, Corbyn hired journalist Seamus Milne, who had praised Hamas for its spirit of resistance, as his communications director.

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A second category of misdemeanor is Corbyn’s relationship with Holocaust distorters. He has participated annually in gatherings of a charity led by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen and has given it a donation. More recently, it became known that in 2010, on Holocaust Memorial Day, Corbyn held a meeting in Parliament at which the Netherlands’ best known Jewish anti-Semite, Hajo Meyer, compared Israel to the Nazis. (Meyer has done this frequently, including in Germany.) A Holocaust survivor claims that Corbyn told a policeman which protesters he wanted removed from that meeting. Only now, eight years later, has Corbyn apologized for attending.

Both Corbyn and Labour Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell signed a parliamentary motion proposing that Holocaust Memorial Day be renamed Genocide Memorial Day. In 2012, McDonnell accused Israel of attempting to commit genocide against the Palestinians.

A third category of Corbyn’s wrongdoings concerns extreme anti-Israel incitement. Substantial information about this is scattered throughout Dave Rich’s 2016 book, The Left’s Jewish Problem. For example, Corbyn chaired a conference that included talks on apartheid in Israel, Western imperialism, and anti-Arab racism. Rich also writes that throughout the 1980s, Corbyn sponsored and supported the Labour Movement Campaign for Palestine (LMCP). This group wanted to “eradicate Zionism while it supported a democratic secular state in place of Israel.”

In 2011, Corbyn presented his opinion on the BBC on a state-funded Iranian TV program. He said about the British broadcaster that “there is a bias toward saying that Israel is a democracy in the Middle East, Israel has a right to exist, Israel has its security concerns.”

In 2012 Corbyn promoted a conspiracy theory about Israel on an Iranian channel,  suggesting that it was in “Israel’s interest to kill Egyptians in an attack by Islamic Jihadists.” He also said, “I suspect the hand of Israel in this whole process of destabilization.”

In 2018, Corbyn attended a Passover seder with members of the small Jewdas Group, a radical anti-Zionist Jewish organization that has called Israel a “steaming pile of sewage which needs to be properly disposed of.” In August 2018, information about a video was disclosed that shows Corbyn making a speech in 2013 for the Palestinian Return Center in which he draws comparisons between the actions of the Israeli government and Nazism.

This year, Jonathan Arkush, the outgoing president of the British Jewish umbrella organization the Board of Deputies, noted that Corbyn had been chairman of Stop the War, an organization that is “responsible for some of the worst anti-Israel discourse.” Arkush added that Corbyn has anti-Semitic views and was making Jews question their place in Britain.

A fourth category of Corbyn’s wrongdoing concerns anti-Semitism. In 2012, he endorsed an anti-Semitic mural on Facebook. He did not apologize for this until six years later. He was also a member of various Facebook groups where anti-Semitic material was posted.

Corbyn is not the only member of his family who is highly problematic as far as anti-Semitism is concerned. His brother Piers tweeted that the “Jewish conspiracy will force Trump into war just like they did to Hitler.” The Daily Mail discovered a Nazi cartoon on his youngest son Tommy’s Facebook page. He, too, was a member of several anti-Semitic Facebook groups.

If only previous Labour leaders and their staffs had been more alert, Corbyn would have been expelled from the party years ago. Corbyn’s predecessor as Labour leader, Ed Miliband, is the main culprit behind this failure. A mainstream party should not have self-defined “friends” and “brothers” of terrorists in its ranks. The same is true for those who support Holocaust distorters. Corbyn belongs in both categories.