Just as an orchid’s petals wither and give way to new growth, our lives are filled with opportunities for new growth, reinvention, and renewal. This rejuvenation, or hitchadshut (התחדשות), lies at the heart of human existence and ensures that our lives are always filled with new adventures.
In Hebrew, the root ח-ד-ש is at the center of hitchadshut, containing the letters chadash (חדש), meaning something new. This word challenges us to look with fresh eyes as we embark on new adventures large and small, offering the hope and possibility of creating something that previously did not exist. But hitchadshut goes further, signaling the remaking of something old into something new within the movement of life. Hitchadshut also means renewal, or revival, pointing to a circular movement through which traditions are visited and discovered, revisited and rediscovered regularly.
The revival of the Hebrew language is an outstanding example of hitchadshut: the traditional language of the Bible and the Jewish people has been revisited, rediscovered, and renewed as it retains its ancient roots and adapts to modern times. Israel itself is a constant intertwining of old and new, from ancient historical sites to trendy modern coffee shops. The making of something new, or chidush (חידוש), also underscores dimensions of entrepreneurship in the movement of life, inspiring rejuvenation, transformation, and hope.
This collection explores a number of dimensions of rejuvenation as it relates to Israel and education. Through the lens of naive art and “Paintings of Tel Aviv,” we consider the relationship between “old” and “new” in Tel Aviv’s contemporary rejuvenation. In Nir Popliker’s instrumental album “Revival,” we are invited into his personal journey of rejuvenation in relation to the ever-changing realities of family life. In “An Exploration of the Rosh Hashanah Card” we ask how the passage of time brings new kinds of rejuvenation to Israeli society. Finally, in “The Cycle of Renewal,” we look at how two different texts—ancient and modern—understand the idea of renewal and its relationship to the past. Join us on this journey of rejuvenation.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
- What is something old that you cherish and find ways to renew?
- When do you seek rejuvenation?
- How do you rejuvenate?
- What new perspectives and insights do you see through this exploration?
- In what ways does this exploration connect you with Israel?
Rafael (Rafi) Perez’s paintings of Tel Aviv offer a link between the old and the new, imagining a rejuvenation of the city through the prism of naive art. This style often uses simplistic aesthetics to express a frank, childlike view. Illustrating a colorful and joyful perspective of the Sarona area in Tel Aviv, Perez’s work reflects the renovation and rejuvenation the city has undergone in the past decade. In the image, titled “Sarona,” Perez depicts the renewed architecture of the historical Templer houses dating back to 1871 as well as the modern highrise of the Azrieli Center. Bringing together the old and the new, the image embodies the vibrancy of Tel Aviv, while also evoking a utopian metropolis with disregard for underrepresented narratives.
In a similar vein to “Sarona,” the image “Bialik Street” illustrates Bialik Square area, capturing the first City Hall of Tel Aviv and the houses of two prominent figures who lived on the street during the 1920s: Chaim Nahman Bialik, the national poet of Israel, and the artist Reuven Rubin. At the center of the square, Perez illustrated artist Nachum Gutman’s artwork, highlighting Gutman’s influence on shaping Tel Aviv’s cultural spheres as well as Perez’s own connection to past traditions of Israeli art.
AS YOU EXAMINE THESE PIECES, CONSIDER:
- Tel Aviv was named after Theodor Herzl’s iconic book Altneuland, which literally means “old-new” land. In what ways does Perez’s image of the renewed Sarona compound relate to the encounter between old and new?
- Perez’s naive style illustrates a colorful, joyful Tel Aviv. What narratives are expressed in this image? What narratives surrounding the renewal of Sarona remain out of sight?
- How does the lens through which we look shape our perceptions?
- When has flipping your lens helped you see something from a different perspective?