Friday, May 25, 2007

An intimate, off-the-track museum

For the next several days, I’ll be exploring some of Israel’s nooks and crannies … sites less known by foreign travelers that help bring Israel’s complex spirit alive.

Today’s explorations took me to Tel Aviv's Rubin Museum, dedicated to the life and work of Israeli painter Reuven Rubin. Born in Romania in 1883, Rubin traveled and studied in Palestine (now Israel), Paris and the U.S. before settling here as part of a generation of new Israelis struggling to fit into an ancient homeland so longed for – but so unfamiliar.

For a foreigner, visiting here offers an insight into a nation’s growing pains, and Israel’s ongoing balancing act not only with fundamentalist Muslims but within it’s own society of secular and orthodox.

The painting is also enchanting – in some periods naïve. And with a small collection of 45 works, the museum offers a lovely snapshot that won’t wear you out.


Photo: Carmela Rubin in the artist's studio that has been preserved as part of the museum. JANE WOOLDRIDGE / THE MIAMI HERALD.

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