Photographer: Jono David. Children of the Kasuku Jewish Community. Ol Kalou Nyandarua Kenya. August 2013

The Children of Abraham and Sarah

Opening: 4.2.2016 | On display until June 2017

According to Jewish tradition, Abraham and Sarah were the first Jews and the parents of the Jewish people. As Jews, whether they were born Jewish or are converts, considered to be the Children of Abraham and Sarah. These exhibitions are by two artists who focus on small, previously undiscovered stories about the children of Abraham and Sarah. Their work reveals much about these communities and show moments unknown to the wider public.

Video artist Nira Pereg explores the interaction between Jewish and Muslim worship at the Cave of the Patriarchs. This cave according to the Bible in Genesis, was purchased by Abraham as a burial place for Sarah. Abraham was also the father of Ishmael, the father of the Arab nation.

Photographer Jono David captures the amazing phenomenon of a Jewish revival in Africa. A convert to Judaism, when called to the Torah, is blessed as a child of Abraham.

Two artists are on display in the former core exhibition space on the second floor. (The synagogue models formerly displayed here were removed to be displayed in the new synagogues hall in May of 2016.)

The artists currently featured here, Jono David and Nira Pereg, shed light on stories taking place in the peripheries of today’s Jewish world. Video artist Nira Pereg filmed the moments when the prayer hall in the Cave of the Patriarchs (Cave of the Machpelah) changes from Muslim to Jewish and vice versa, and photographer Jono David chose to aim his lens at the renewal of Jewish identities in Africa.

Sun-Thu: 10am-7pm ; Fri: 9am-2pm; Saturday: closed

Second Floor

Opened: 4.2.2016

On display until June 2017

Curators: Amitai Achiman, Asaf Galay

"Avraham Avraham" and "Sarah Sarah" – Nira Pereg

“Abraham Abraham” and “Sarah Sarah” were filmed at the Cave of the Patriarch, also known as the Ibrahimi Mosque, in Hebron. Holy both to Muslims and Jews, the Cave has long been a place of controversy and violence. These works portray the results of this explosive situation, and describe the “status quo” that regulates use of the Cave and is administered by the Israeli Defense Forces.

“Abraham Abraham” (2012), documents the preparations for a day of “Islamic exceptionalism”. For 24 hours, Jews are prohibited from the Cave and the usually Jewish area of worship is temporarily transferred to Islamic control. “Sarah Sarah” (2012), describes a parallel day of “Jewish exceptionalism”, when the Islamic area of the Cave is evacuated for Jewish use.

These two films are mirror images. They were shot within a few months of each other. They are exactly the same length and share an identical structure. Both focus on the opening of the door that connects and divides the Muslim and Jewish areas of the Cave.

These works depict the parallels and the cyclical uses of this holy sight. But the repeated temporary evacuations are not examples of religious co-existence. Instead, these films show each group of worshippers removing, hiding and locking away their religious objects and furniture before the other group takes over the space. Not even a single chair is left for the others to use. Synchronized soundtracks highlight the power struggles, hidden beneath these temporary evacuations and illustrate the strange but inevitable symbiosis between religion and military, between civilians and soldiers.


Nira Pereg, Avraham Avraham, 2012, Hebron. Courtesy of the Braverman Gallery, J. Art collection and the artist

Children of Abraham: A Jewish Revival in Africa - Jono David


Photographer: Jono David. The daughter of Rabbi Gershom Sizomu reads from the Torah at shacharit (morning) service, Moses Synagogue. Abayudaya Jewish community. Nabugoye Village, Mbale, Uganda. September 2013

The love affair between the Jewish people and North Africa began in the time of Abraham and Sarah, who fled the great famine in Canaan (ancient Israel) and went to Egypt. North Africa was the home of many Jews, from the destruction of the First Temple until the end of the 20th century. In the 19th century Jews immigrated to the south of the continent. Today, in the 21st century, northern Africa has been drained of most of its Jewish inhabitants, while southern Africa has lost well over half. However, a Jewish renewal is beginning in the center of the continent as tribes adopt Jewish ways of life. The following exhibition is a glimpse into a fascinating new phenomenon still unknown to many of us.

“He who travels the road less travelled will see things seen by few.”

This saying encapsulates the work of photographer Jono David, an artist who has dedicated himself to documenting the Jews of Africa.

This intimate photo exhibition will include a selection of David’s spectacular photos depicting a variety of communities of converted Jews throughout Africa. The focus of this exhibit is on community leaders and members, improvised synagogues, cemeteries and monuments, special Judaica items, Jewish holidays and local celebrations.

Jono David – an interview (i24news)