A Casualty Of The Fires In Israel: The Art Of Yoram Raanan

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After a black and burnt Friday in too many parts of Israel, the sun is shining on Sunday morning. Some families evacuated from their homes in the middle of night due to raging fires have returned. Yaakov reports that his home was unscathed, but others from Beit Meir, near Jerusalem, were not so fortunate.

People are thankful that no deaths have been reported. The government is to provide financial assistance to those who lost property. Countless community groups have organized to feed firemen and collect clothing. Israeli photographers are volunteering to take photos for families who have lost their cherished memories.

The irony of one huge, irreplaceable loss is weighing me down. “This a great loss for the history of art in general and of Jewish art in particular,” said Meira Raanan, about irreplaceable works destroyed by fire in Beit Meir studio of her husband.



In March 2014, Heichel Shlomo in Jerusalem samples of Yoram Raanan’s extensive works were on exhibit.

March 20, 2014 Yoram Raanan art

Raanan’s use of color in his bold strokes were features of acrylic on canvas pieces.

Heichel Shlomo art exhibition by Yoram Raanan march 2104

The size and colors of his masterpieces impressive.

Using old Jewish book binding for art Yoram Raanan

But not just blank canvases came alive, Raanan gave new live to old Jewish book bindings

Artist Yoram Raanan in Jerusalem for art exhibition at Heichel Shlomo
Yoram Raanan – photo @RealJStreets

and a special curtain to hang in front of ark holding Torah scrolls.

Yoram and Meira Raanan in front of recent work inspired by Jerusalem

At a recent exhibit Yoram and Meira Raanan stood in front of a new work inspired by view of Jerusalem.

I use the past tense. Raanan’s studio was burnt to the ground. Most of his life’s work destroyed in the intentionally set Beit Meir fire.

A friend introduced me to Israeli artist Yoram Raanan and his gracious wife Meira on a hot and muggy night at the Tel Aviv Old Train Station. The OneFamily organization was hosting an event to launch its new book, “Longing for a Hug.” Forty of the terror victims supported by OneFamily were paired with Israeli artists. Artists of various media produced works to accompany essays of the victims of terror.

Yoram Raanan's art in Longing for a hug by One Family event

Yoram Raanan’s “Dance of Life” inspired by Roee Rosen, in memory of his mother Eliyah Rosen z”l, was by far my favorite piece of art.

Now much of Yoram Raanan’s life has gone up in smoke. Physically safe. But. I wish I had photographed each and everyone to show you. Friends have started a campaign to raise funds to rebuild the art studio. But one of a kind masterpieces gone.

Lights of Heichel by Yoram Raanan
Lights of Heichel by Yoram Raanan

What a loss for the history of art in general and of Jewish art in particular.

You can donate here if you would like to help Yoram get back on his feet.

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I lived in the United States, Canada and Australia before moving to Israel in the midst of the Second Lebanon War. For the last ten years, walking the streets of Jerusalem, the scenes I saw every day did not resemble the ones familiar in the Western media. Now I try to share those positive images with the world, what is really happening in Jerusalem, Israel, The Real Jerusalem Streets