Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hof HaCarmel

We had a rainy, windy, stormy weekend in Hof Hacarmel. On Friday artist Zvika Lazr  graciously picked us up at our hotel and drove us north to the Hof Hacarmel region, sister city to Manchester, NH. We had a full agenda despite the storm.
He dropped us off at Atlit, an immigrant detention camp when the British were in charge, before Israel became a state.  We learned about the immigrants who survived the holocaust, made it to Israel and then were thrust back into camps again. We had seen this camp in 2006 when we were in Israel in 2006, but this time we had a much more in-depth tour, with movies and a private guide. The camp has been preserved as a historic site and has a historic recreation of a ship (also with movies and mannequins) to give us an idea of how crowded it was on the ships that brought the immigrants there. I did not take pictures of the barracks and barbed wire fencing this time since I had taken those pictures in 2006. The boat was new to us.

Then artist  Ziva Kainer  picked us up and took us to Ein Hod, an artist colony nearby.  We walked past her burned out home (from the Carmel fires) and went to her rented studio for a good talk and cup of tea. She has been struggling and hopes to rebuild her home and studio. We had a short walk around the village and went into the Ein Hod gallery where we met other artists and saw their work. Picture below is artist Lezer Manole. 

Ziva showed us some of he  paintings that are in the gallery and we saw more at the next stop. (pictures below). She took us to meet David Berman, a member of Nir Etzion and he acted as our guide. We had a wet tour of the area around the hotel and I managed to get a few pictures in between the rain drops of the Arab village across the way and some of the artwork in the hotel, some of it Ziva’s. The hotel ( is quite luxurious and even has an indoor heated pool. They cater to a mostly religious (Jewish) clientele, but also host other guests. They were affected by the Carmel fire too, but the scenery is still very beautiful there. We had a tasty lunch in the dining room with David and Inbal Shahaf Gilad, our Sister City contact person, who did a great job making all these arrangements for us.

A fused glass artist, Bob Nechin ( (picture at top) picked us up and brought us back down the road to Ein Hod. We met his wife Sue, toured his studio, and rested a bit at their house before heading on to our host and hostess for the night, Naomi and Zev Verchovsky. Their house also burned during the Carmel fire, but not completely, and they have restored it enough to move back in. Naomi is a potter and lost some of her studio, but is back in a smaller space next to the house.  She also gives workshops.
Zev had a used book store which burned down and he lost most of his inventory and his shop. He has rented a shop and is cataloging what is left. He is using the internet now as well as his shop. We had a wonderful evening and they hosted a dinner with other artists as well. Zev is a blogger too.

The next morning we had a tour of the artist colony and learned a bit about its history. We stopped at Sernoff Frohlich, a fine art gallery and looked at husband and wife paintings, both representational and abstracts. Our tour guide was Dan Ben-Arye and we met his wife Lea as well. Dan is a sculptor and painter and gives tours of the village. Lea creates wearable art as well as jewelry. We saw ceramic work and paintings at  Magal Ein-Hod  (also  where four generations of artists have created unique and beautiful work. We walked around (by this time the rain had stopped, but it was still cold and windy. We checked out the Janco Dada Museum and the Nisco Museum (music boxes and mechanical music), but didn’t have time for a full tour of that one. There are links to all the artists in the colony at the main website for Ein Hod Hod (
We stopped briefly at Tzvika’s studio to arrange our ride back and saw some of his work as well. He is also a painter (was formerly a captain in the merchant marine) and works primarily in an abstract painting style. Everyone we met was gracious and warm. They all had interesting stories. It was sad to see the devastation from the forest fires, but things are growing again, the area is green and the flowers are starting to appear. Many of the trees had buds on them already. Spring will come to Israel soon.

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