Women and Their Olive Trees – a Story of Coexistence and Shared Society

The Jewish Federation of the Berkshires to host Israeli Jewish and Arab women artists in an exhibit of the Olive Tree Project, a story of coexistence and shared society at the Berkshire Museum.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, in partnership with the Berkshire Museum, will present a community exhibition of Women and Their Olive Trees. The exhibition will be on view at the Berkshire Museum on Monday and Tuesday, June 6 and 7, with an opening reception on June 6 from 5 to 7 p.m.  The reception is free and open to the public.

The exhibition represents the art of 40 Israeli women from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds – including Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Circassian – who through their love of art have created an environment of tolerance, friendship, and sharing.

Olive trees as symbol and subject

Olive tree Exhibit PosterOlive trees are the subject of the exhibition, and the uniqueness, personality, and perspective of each artist is reflected in the 25 oil paintings on view. The women painted together, sharing their life experiences and cultures to create unique and symbolic pieces of art while building relationships that have transformed their perceptions of each other.

Four of the artists, two Jewish and two Muslim, will accompany the exhibit, which has been on tour throughout Europe. This past March, it opened at the United Nations at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

The exhibit is part of the Olive Tree Project, a year-long art program of the WIZO Afula Community Center that draws women artists from the Northern Israeli cities of Afula and Nazareth and the surrounding Arab villages.

“Just as each tree is different from the other, human beings are different, too, and the olive tree is an inspiration”, says Guila Cohen, one of four artists who will travel with the exhibition and meet with the community while in the Berkshires.

“It was important to me to make a connection though art and painting, and to find women artists who wanted to have open dialogue, to connect with and to learn from each other.” This is the message of coexistence that Mrs. Sheila Dvor Casdi, curator of the exhibition, wanted to carry through when she and Daniel Benn, director of WIZO Community Center of Afula, first conceived of the project in 2013.

The Olive Tree Project is one of a number of living bridge programs planned in the Berkshires as part of the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires’ newly established partnership with the Afula-Gilboa region of Northern Israel. As part of Jewish Agency for Israel’s Partnership 2gether Peoplehood Platform, the Berkshires joins more than 450 global Jewish communities that are linked with 46 city-to-city and region-to-region partnerships in Israel.

The Jewish Federation of the Berkshires mobilizes the local Jewish community to care for those in need, and nurtures and sustains Jewish life across the Berkshires, in Israel, and around the world. For more information, visit jewishberkshires.org or call (413) 442-4360.

For more information about the Olive Tree Project:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=E5gYhD0Y0SM

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