The Jerusalem Post
Festivals to honor Agnon and Amichai and spotlight Jerusalem arts scene
Two of Israel’s greatest writers, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Shmuel Yosef (Shai) Agnon and Israel Prize-winning poet Yehuda Amichai, are being honored in separate upcoming festivals.
The first international Agnon Festival will be held from June 21-23 at Agnon House, his home on Klausner Street which has been turned into a museum celebrating his work and his life. Agnon, whose unique writing style mixed modern Hebrew with rabbinic language, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1966 and lived much of his life in the Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem.
It will feature Zoom meetings (which will also be broadcast on Facebook live) in which leading figures in many fields will discuss Agnon’s works and their own personal connection to them. There is free registration available via the Agnon House website (agnonhouse. org.il).
The festival will open on Tuesday evening with a visit to Agnon House with Prof. Dan Laor, Rabbi Shai Piron and Agnon’s granddaughter, Dr. Yael Blau. President Reuven Rivlin will make an opening speech and other distinguished guests will include Culture Minister Chili Tropper, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion and Avigdor Yitzchaki, chairman of the Lottery Commission. The opening event will be moderated by Asaf Ofek, the artistic director of Agnon House.
This will be followed by a discussion between acclaimed authors Jonathan Safran Foer and Etgar Keret, who will talk about animals, climate change and being Jewish fathers, an event that will be moderated by Kathrine Tschemerinsky.
In an unconventional event for a literary festival, fashion designer Dorin Frankfurt, chef Yisrael Aharoni and actress/dancer/choreographer Renana Raz will talk about fashion, cooking and dance in Agnon’s work.
Other events include a discussion between authors Nicole Krauss and
Dorit Rabinyan on the concepts of homeland and exile moderated by Benjamin Balint, and a virtual tour of Agnon’s childhood home in Buchach, Ukraine. The full schedule is available on the Agnon House website.
The Jerusalem Arts Festival, sponsored by the Jerusalem Municipality (in collaboration with the Culture and Sport Ministry and the Jerusalem Foundation), which runs from June 21-25, will showcase a rich variety of events, held all over the city. The festival highlights Jerusalem’s thriving arts scene and features music, theater, dance, fine art and video and film art, both from the mainstream and fringe art. It will also be a celebration of the reopening of the culture sector.
It will open with a show called, “One Night of Love,” which will present the love poems of Yehuda Amichai, set to music, at the Jerusalem Theater. The evening will mark the 21st anniversary of the death of one of the most beloved Hebrew poets of all time, whose work so often used Jerusalem as its setting. Among the poems in the show will be “The Ballad of the Long Hair and the Short Hair,” “In a Magical Garden,”
“In Our Love,” “Accompany Me,” “Saturday Night Song,” “Elul in Ein Kerem” and others.
Some of Israel’s most popular and acclaimed musicians will be taking part, among them Ester Rada, Shai Tsabari, Shlomi Shaban, Sha’anan Street, Sivan Talmore and Elad Levy.
During the evening, a video art work created by students and graduates of the Musrara School of Art and Society created especially for the event will be shown. The work was inspired by Amichai’s poetry, and provides a visual interpretation of his poems.
Among the dozens of other events in the festival will be Bint El Funk – Yemenite Funk; Chill Out, a comic play by Gal Biderman and Keren Adler about how two mothers cope when their daughters become religious; Stigmata, a play about prisoners in a theater class opening up about their childhoods, their dreams and their daily lives; JerusaleMotion, a screening of video dance and video artworks from recent years will be screened, in collaboration with the Jerusalem Filmmakers Forum; and many more.
There will be a number of children’s plays and events, as well as master classes with artists from all disciplines.
The mayor said, in a statement, “The Jerusalem Arts Festival is an extraordinary opportunity to continue to mark and celebrate the return of the community of artists and cultural institutions to vibrant activities in the city. We will continue to promote culture and leisure in the city.”
For the full program and to order tickets, go to the festival website at https:// jerusalemarts.co.il/