May 22, 2024
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Nahal Oz Memoirs: Photo Exhibit at HIR Portrays Yeshuv Eretz Yisrael in the 1950s

Baruch Raviv (1935-2014), Nahal Oz founder and photographer

Feelings of connection with a place can develop and grow as time passes by in various ways. Visual forms of expression can evoke in us emotion, thought and memories—fostering a bond between the artist, the object of his art and those who experience it. Thus, when an opportunity to host a photo exhibit about one of the kibbutzim along the Gaza border was brought to the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale—The Bayit, we knew it would help us connect with our brothers and sisters in Israel—especially during this difficult time.

“Nahal Oz Memoirs,” featuring the works of photographer Baruch Raviv, one of the founders of the kibbutz, will be on view in the lobby of HIR (3700 Henry Hudson Parkway, Bronx) through the end of April. Visitors are welcome before and after tefillah or during business hours. The pictures date from the early days of the kibbutz in the 1950s and have been carefully chosen by the photographer’s children, Gil Raviv (who lives in Israel) and Yael Raviv-Ferber (who lives in Riverdale).

Their father was born in 1935 in Kfar Gibton and grew up in Rehovot, Israel. Active in a youth movement from a young age, Baruch found purpose in settling the land of the young State of Israel. In 1953, together with a group of friends, he founded Kibbutz Nahal Oz in the western Negev, steps away from the Gaza border.

Nahal Oz, Israel, 1950s.

Baruch was rooted in agriculture all his life and became a prominent adviser in the field. Spending much of his time outdoors, he began photographing the landscapes and people of his surroundings.

To expand his knowledge and passion for this art, he studied at Bezalel Academy of Art and Camera Obscura School of Photography. Shortly after he collaborated with some well-known authors to publish children’s books that featured his photographs of children in nature. Later on, he published two books of his own where he reflected on his family’s roots and childhood, the founding of the kibbutz, and his love of humankind. He exhibited in solo and group exhibitions both in Israel and abroad.

Baruch passed away in 2014 and was buried in his beloved land of the Negev.

Nahal Oz was first established as a military base on July 26, 1951 in the newly recognized Israel. In September 1953, it was naturalized by a nucleus of young men and women to become a kibbutz. Its location was determined in accordance with the security needs of the era, hundreds of meters from the border of the Gaza Strip.

On October 7, 2023, on its 70th anniversary, the kibbutz was brutally attacked by Hamas terrorists, who murdered and abducted its citizens to Gaza. The kibbutz was evacuated after the massacre and declared a closed military area.

This exhibit portrays a historical glimpse of yishuv Eretz Yisrael—building the land of Israel. It honors the memory of the lives lost on October 7 and the kibbutz’s beautiful and historic early years.

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