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Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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On the road to Haifa lies Ein-Hod. This is an artists’ village on a hill, surrounded by olive groves, pomegranate, almond and carob trees, grape vines and figs, a nature preserve preserving the biblical flora of ancient Israel. Ein-Hod is at the foot of Mount Carmel, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the town of Atlit and an ancient 12th-century Crusader fortress. The village has managed to preserve its original historic nature and the romantic, simple charm of Israel in its first years of independence. You can still discern in the old structures the many textures and architectural forms of earlier occupants, from the Christian Crusades to the Turkish Empire. The roads and byways, a mixture of ancient and modern, all add to a very special atmosphere.

Ein-Hod is the only artists’ village in Israel and one of the few in the world where artists live and create in every media, from painting and sculpture, ranging from contemporary to early Israeli artists, to various craft media, to theater, music and literature. The gallery is one of the largest collections of Israeli art in the country. One can find works by the first generation, works of historical value, hanging alongside young contemporary artists, only recently accepted into the village.

Since 1985, Ein-Hod Artists’ Village has been home to Lea Ben Arye, a fabric and jewelry designer, and her husband Dan, a sculptor, painter and photographer. Lea was born in Israel and is a third generation of printers, rooted in the holy Kabbalistic city of Safed. Together, they founded the Art & Wear Gallery, located at the center of the village, where they exhibit and sell their works.

“I am a fabric and jewelry designer inspired by art and nature that surrounds me and memories from my magical hometown,” said Lea. “My jewelry is made of various materials—art to wear.” Among her unique jewelry designs are her Judaica collection, which is influenced by memories of her childhood rooted in Safed. One piece from this collection is a pomegranate sterling silver Star of David pendant, inspired by nature. “Pomegranate is a Jewish symbol of wisdom and prosperity,” she said. “The pomegranate has six points in its crown. When looking at the top of the crown, it looks like the Star of David.” Another piece from her Judaica collection is two linked hearts representing parity and love, creating a Star of David.

As a fabric designer, Lea creates eco-printed botanical pure silk scarves, using only natural materials such as leaves, flowers, fruit and tree barks to achieve a natural color range and images of leaves and flowers. She uses a unique printing technique that she developed herself.

Describing a botanical print silk scarf using grape leaves from the seven species, she said, “I lay the leaves on the silk, roll it and simmer in a pot. The tannin from the leaves transfers to the silk. It is an embrace from Israel nature. At the end of 2019, I was exposed to botanical prints, a magical method. I print leaves on natural fabrics such as silk and cotton.” Over the years, she has exhibited her works in Paris and the United States at various galleries and exhibitions.

Lea’s silk screen printing on fabrics workshop is in high demand. Her workshop offers visitors a unique, creative experience, starting with an explanation and demonstration of her special technique. You will also experience preparing and printing your own colorful designs on white T-shirts that you bring or on cotton bags that are supplied. The 90-minute activity is suitable for individuals, families and groups.

In 2005, Dan and Lea founded Tour Ein-Hod, the center for experiential tourism there, providing a rich and meaningful experience of the Artists’ Village. Dan conducts the guided tours, visiting galleries and coordinating trips to artists’ studios, ensuring that the visitor has an insider’s look. However, because Ein-Hod is actually a private place and not all of the galleries are open all of the time, it is important to coordinate your visit.

If you plan to visit Ein-Hod for several days or longer, Nir Etzion Resort is situated on the Carmel, above the Artists’ Village and adjacent to a pastoral nature reserve. The hotel, owned by the religious cooperative moshav of Nir Etzion, is glatt kosher, Mehadrin and only a five-minute drive from Ein-Hod. Nir Etzion’s kashrut, featuring products authorized by Rabbi Landa and the Haredi community, allows their guests who strictly observe kashrut to be guests all year round.

For more information about tour offerings and to coordinate your tour, please call or WhatsApp or Lea Ben Arye 972-544-811968 or email [email protected]

Art & Wear Gallery—https://ein-hod.info/benarye/

Tour Ein Hod—https://ein-hod.info/tour/index.html

Nir Etzion Resort

https://www.nirezion-hotel.com/


 

Susan R. Eisenstein is a longtime Jewish educator, passionate about creating special, innovative activities for her students. She is also passionate about writing about Jewish topics and about Israel. She has two master’s degrees and a doctorate in education from Columbia University.

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