Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Bezalel Final Artwork - מאין יבוא עזרי

מאין יבוא עזרי
(For Michael.)
Cassi-Lee Gewer
Pastel on board and cardboard

From whence shall my help cometh? Life and death are two common notions that surround us daily – it is how they are dealt with that defines them. Both drawings are of scenes captured by Cassi-Lee Gewer at Har Herzl (the Israeli military cemetery in Jerusalem). This is a place that is dear to her heart, one in which she states established and now enhances her connection with Israel.

In the first drawing – the scene displays an ritual that Cassi-Lee follows, whereby she will journey to Har Herzl in order to water the graves of the fallen soldiers. This is when the irony between life and death comes into play – the act of going to a cemetery, which is a place surrounded by death in order to sustain and provide life to the flora which rests on the grave of the soldier. The word rest used in the context of Har Herzl, is in connection to the symbolism of the grave representing a bed, the tombstone being its pillow and the flowers imitating a blanket. Another connection between the two artworks and Har Herzl is that each grave at the military cemetery has one stone that is places unevenly – making it stand out. This then represents the part of the nation that is now missing. Within both of the drawings there is a substantial segment missing. Relating to the incompleteness of the artwork- being dedicated to those who have fallen, the artwork is eternally without its viewers.

The water symbolises our impact on this country, our responsibility to honour, remember and therefore protect the names of those who are not with us today. The duty of the soldier to protect (as seen within the drawing), together with the protection of the flowers over the grave are both ironic when placed within a site such as Har Herzl – a place that honours the protection that as a country and as a nation, we lost. Once more in connection to the theme of vacancy.

The title of the artwork “מאין יבוא עזרי" comes from a psalm that is dedicated to the honouring of those troops who we have lost and the protection of the ones that are fighting today.

The personal journey between the artist and life and death is evident within the artworks, the title being in Hebrew as Cassi-Lee is in a transition zone of placing Hebrew as her dominant language over English, honouring Israel as she plans to make her stay here permanent – therefore the death of her South African citizenship and the birth of an Israeli one. The irony of Cassi-Lee seeking Har Herzl in order to gather her thoughts and rejuvenate – symbolism the death of her negative energy and the new life of a positive one.

The two artworks although completely separate are connected by the piece of paper that has been torn from the page and placed on the other. Symbolising those who have been departed from the physical world, who have completed their mission which is unknown to us and who are now placed in Har Herzl and are resting in a place unknown to the living mankind.

We raise our heads to those who grace the graves that line the floors of Har Herzl, we all salute those who have protected us and we will continue to water and guard our country with protection, strength and life so that no more beds will have to be made.

Lo Yanum Velo Yiyshan Shomer Yisrael.
לא ינום ולא יישן שומר ישראל
He that keepth Israel doth neither slumber nor sleep.


All expectations were filled on Israel's Independence Day this year! This has got to be one of the happiest days of my life so far. With the parties, barbecues, Israeli music and dancing and all the food - there was no one present without a smile.

Here are some of the photographs from our night and day. The most amazing thing to see are the tears on the everyone's faces that turn from the sadness of Yom Ha'Zikaron into the tears of joy on Yom Ha'atzmaut.  WE LOVE ISRAEL.

Our night included parties in the centre of town on the streets, bars, the sunrise on the roof and more more adventures:


The Old City 

Yerushalayim Shel Zahav

The Kotel

Friendship at the Kotel

Everything was blue - the cloud of our flag. 

Party Time


Am Yisrael Chai 


A Minyan at the park


The Michael Levin Lone Soldier Barbecue 

This was one of my best days to date. 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

A song that changed my life.

A song for those we have lost and for those who now protect us. This song has gotten me through the best and worst times - there is just something about it that has the ability to speak to me. 

Arim Roshi - Shai Gabso 

English Lyrics: 
I walk now in the path of the present
like a child walking into oblivion
my hands are extended
asking for help to continue the journey with you
and on the sides the flowers as though they lost their identity
searching for a ray of light that would help
another small gulp of water
from the wells of wisdome
that will bring them the hope

I will raise my head,
I'll lift my eyes to the mountains in the distance
and my voice will be heard as a scream,
as a prayer of a human
and my heart will call out
"where will my help come from"

I pass now between new landscapes
the steps are taken so slowly
what is there that is not here
I asked a passer-by
what do you guard in your heart
the city senior whose whole past rests on his back
glances around and looks for his world
when the present is so hard
he doesn't say a word,
I will raise my head toward tomorrow

I will raise my head


Holech ani ka'et bemish'ol hahoveh
keyeled haholech lo le'ibud
kapot yadai hen mushatot
mevak'shot et ha'ezrah leham'shich itach et hamas'a
uvatz'dadim haprachim ke'ilu ibdu et zehutam
mechapsim od keren or sheta'azor
od legimah k'tanah shel mayim
mima'ayanei hachoch'mah
tavi lahem et hatikvah

Arim roshi,
esa einai el heharim bamer'chakim
vekoli yishama keze'akah,
ket'filat ha'adam
velibi yikra
me'ayin yavo ezri

Over ani ka'et bein nofim chadashim
hatza'adim hem na'asim ko iti'im
mah yesh sham she'ein po
sha'al oti over
mah balev atah shomer
k'shish ha'ir kshe'al gabo munach kol avaro
mabit saviv umechapes et olamo
k'shehahoveh kol kach kasheh
lo omer davar,
arim roshi el hamachar

Arim roshi… 

Lyrics from: 

Yom Ha'zikaron: Chills, Tears and an Immense Amount of Pride.

A Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism. If there was one day out of these six months that I knew I had to be in Jerusalem Israel for it was Yom Ha'zikaron. A day in which not only family or loved ones mount but the entire country does so too. This is what I wrote and some pictures will follow: 

Shalom Everyone, 

Yom Ha'Zikaron... 

I struggle to place my emotions into words but I guess I can try. Tonight was one of those nights that signified a change within my life. I have felt emotions on this eve, ones that I have not encountered before. Tonight, I felt a sense of belonging to a nation, I felt a sense of gratitude to a group of honourable, brave and selfless people (the fallen soldiers), tonight I felt a sense of immense pride for a country and for the ideals that it stands for.
It is impossible for me to place my feelings within a short status. I do however, have to thank those who sacrificed their lives in order to put on the green uniform, wave our flag high and serve our country. We thank you, chayallim (soldiers/חיילים), for all that you have done. For me - you have inspired a girl to grow up, inspired a girl to find her home within Israel, and also inspired a girl to want to serve one day too.

Being able to stand today at the Western Wall (this is one of the photographs that I captured tonight) during the Official State Military Ceremony (טקס) and hear the words of Kaddish for all those who have been lost - it signified that this was not only a loss for a certain person or family but instead a loss for the entire nation. Tomorrow we will morn together, we will wave our flags up high, we will sit in silence and salute you, we will sing Hatikvah together with the HOPE that the number of 23 169 fallen soldiers, will not ever increase.

Ending off tonight with a ceremonial concert in an open square in the centre of Jerusalem, while we cried for those who are missed today and while we praised Hashem for blessing us with a strong country and the strongest nation. We shed tears for those who were being remembered and we shed tears for those who are out fighting today. We shed tears of sadness form grief as well as tears of happiness from victory.

I wish you all a meaningful Yom Ha'Zikaron. If you do a mitzvah (good deed) today, do it in the name and honour of the fallen Israeli's soldiers.

Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet. We honour you, salute you and devote our day to your bravery and memory.

I still cannot believe how incredibly inspiring this nation, country and the people of my home, Jerusalem all are.

I think tonight, I have found a place that I no longer want, but that I now need to call my home.


Har Herzl three days before Yom Ha'Zikaron. 

Now beginning with the official military Tekes (ceremony) at the Western Wall. 

This girl stopped beside me at Har Herzl, asked to photograph me drawing and my drawings. I then happened to run into her at the Tekes four days later. Only in Israel story. 

My favorite part of Yom Ha'Zikaron: I drew a soldier while waiting for the ceremony to begin (my friend, Aaron and I wanted front row seats so we stood and waited for four hours) once finished with the drawing I tore it out of my sketchbook, signed it and handed it to the soldier. The smile on his face and his reaction to the drawing (showing all of his fellow soldiers and the outer crowds the drawing coninuously throughout the night) allowed me to leave no filled with sorrow but rather filled with absolute pride. 

I now credit Jared's camera. 

This photograph was taken by my friend, Ore, of my telephone. Inception. 

My favorite place in the world: HOME. 
Photo credit: Ore 

Photo credit: Jared

This Yom Ha'Zikaron I had the absolute privilege of speaking and meeting Michael Levin's mother. After her giving me an answer to my question (I asked her for a hug) - we embraced and smiled while we stood next to the grave of her courageous, brave and heroic son; Michael. 

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