GIL COHEN-MAGEN – In Hasidic Circles
Opening: 21.05.2013, 17:00
Galicia Jewish Museum, ul. Dajwór 18
The photographs presented in the exhibition In Hasidic Circles were made by award-winning Israeli photojournalist Gil Cohen-Magen. The project of photographing the Mea Shearim neighbourhood of Jerusalem – a bastion of the ultra-orthodox Hasidim – began as a typical assignment for Reuters and then became an original photographic project spanning more than a decade.
It was not easy in the beginning. The Hasidic communities he decided to document, citing the Book of Exodus, do not allow the taking of photographs: "Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, even any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth" (Exodus 20:4-6). Although the prohibition on taking photographs only applies to pictures used for ritual purposes, Cohen-Magen and his camera were looked upon with suspicion.
The determination and passion of the photographer meant that, over time, his presence began to be accepted and the project that began in Mea Shearim expanded to cover other locations. The result is a photographic essay about the communities who build their lives around the Torah, Judaism's holiest book.