Boston, MA, Sept 8, 2020 – At a time when social distancing will limit student trips to Israel and in-person campus programming, Northeastern University Hillel, the Consulate General of Israel to New England and Returning the Sparks announces the launch of the first-ever Israeli Art Lending Library (IALL).

The innovative public-private partnership will be housed at Northeastern University, and it will allow students the opportunity to bring a piece of Israeli art back to their dorm rooms for the year. Art lending libraries exist at several universities, including Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and the University of California, Berkeley, however this is the first art lending library to showcase Israeli artists.

“Although Zoom events can do a lot, they can’t replace live events and tactile experiences,” stated Gilad Skolnick, Executive Director of Northeastern University Hillel. “There’s a reason why we are willing to spend so much to go to Broadway or Fenway Park, when it’s free and so much easier to see much of the same on TV. Tangible events and things resonate in a different way. We’re wired for experience. The genius of this art lending library is that it brings a tangible piece of Israel – something personal and uplifting that the student selects – directly to them for daily enjoyment.”

“I listened this spring as foundations shared concerns that short-term immersive Israel trips for college students stood to be compromised for the Fall of 2020, without a clear alternative, due to the need for COVID-19 social distancing,” shared Arinne Braverman, Executive Director of Returning the Sparks, a non-profit which helps connect Jews with Judaism and Israel. “I figured if we couldn’t bring students on short trips to Israel and we couldn’t educate through in-person events, we’d bring a piece of Israel home to students and have the process itself be educational, while incorporating their personal preferences. It would be great to see other campuses launch Israel art lending libraries as well,” added Braverman who conceived of and spearheaded the IALL initiative.

The IALL website ( provides a social distancing-friendly means for selecting Israeli art, while granting an opportunity for students to learn more about the art’s subject and origin from the safety of one’s own dorm.

Framed Israeli prints, photographs, and original pieces were curated based on feedback Northeastern University Hillel received from student leader focus groups this summer. The selections represent Israel’s diverse society, and include selections by Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and LGBTQ Israelis, as well as artists with disabilities.

“Israeli society is a mix of different cultural backgrounds and identities, and as an innovative democracy with a rich history, it produces a variety of messages that reflect the diversity of perspectives, experiences and thinking of its people. We are glad to be able to show a little piece of our country through the intimate lens of art,” added Daniel Agranov, Deputy Consul General of Israel to New England. “IALL allows us to actively support a diverse array of Israeli artists during a challenging global economy, while providing students with resources to learn more about our country through related articles and maps.”

Some of the art that will be available include:

“Serenity” by Benjamin S. Tagger
Tagger’s art represents him as a gay young architect, playing with and exploring the lines between masculinity, geographic boundaries, colors, and his obsession with maps. According to the artist, a symbolic description of space, representing the world in an abstract manner, a map is never neutral.


“Face” by an anonymous Yemin Orde youth artist
Yemin Orde Youth Village is a home, school and safe haven for 430 at-risk youth from around the world. With the help of Yemin Orde’s team of dedicated educators and professionals, plus its successful ‘Village Way’ methodology and its popular art therapy program, fragile youth receive a quality education and heal in a supportive and loving environment that allows them to gain confidence, self-esteem, grow and thrive.


“Enid” by Shimon Wanda
Wanda is a multi-disciplinary contemporary Ethiopian Israeli artist from Kiryat Haim. He began drawing at a very young age as a self-taught artist who believes in testing the limits and exploring various techniques.


“Bride from Yemen” by Shai Yossef
Yossef was born in Rosh Ha’ain and often uses his art to engage in social issues. He likes to “sculpt” his artworks on canvas, and he is known for his oil paintings which are influenced by social values and the Bible.

“Moving into my freshman dorm was nerve racking enough, and having completely bare walls didn’t help,” stated Northeastern student, Maya Michalewicz. “This art lending program will be a great way to both connect students to their Jewish homes, and bring color and art to their new homes! I’m excited for this Israeli art program to begin, and to decorate the college homes of so many students, and bring the community together!”

All photos in this press release may be used in print and online articles about IALL, no need to request special permission. Larger images available upon request. For more information and artworks, visit the IALL website at

About The Publishers
Releases published on the JNS Wire are communicated and paid for by third parties. Jewish News Syndicate, and any of its distribution partners, take zero responsibility for the accuracy of any content published in any press release. All the statements, opinions, figures in text or multimedia including photos or videos included in each release are presented solely by the sponsoring organization, and in no way reflect the views or recommendation of Jewish News Syndicate or any of its partners. If you believe any of the content in a release published on JNS Wire is offensive or abusive, please report a release.