BOOK EVENT

 

BIG BLUE MARBLE BOOKSTORE IN PHILADELPHIA

PRESENTS

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY YAEL BEN-ZION

WITH ESSAYS BY AMY CHUA AND MAURICE BERGER

 

BOOK SIGNING AND DISCUSSION OF WORK 

WITH YAEL BEN-ZION AND RABBI LINDA HOLTZMAN

 SET FOR THURSDAY, JUNE 19 AT 7:00PM

 

 

Following her award winning monograph 5683 miles away (Kehrer, 2010) in which 
Yael Ben-Zion considered the meaning of "normal life" in her homeland of Israel, Ben-Zion now fixes her camera on another personal yet politically charged theme: intermarriage. This new body of work was published this spring in the photographer's second monograph with Kehrer, Intermarried. The genesis of the project was an Israeli media campaign that criticized the "loss" of Jews to intermarriage. Being intermarried herself, Ben-Zion was propelled to explore through her photography why people choose partners that are outside of their "immediate social group." Intermarried, which includes essays by Amy Chua and 
Maurice Berger, explores this complex issue with insight and sensitivity. 

 

On Thursday, June 19 at 7:00 p.m., Big Blue Marble Bookstore, located at 515 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19119 will host a conversation about Intermarried with Yael Ben-Zion and Rabbi Linda Holtzman, leader of Tikkun Olam Chavurah in Philadelphia, and author of the article "Struggle, Change, and Celebrations: My Life as a Lesbian Rabbi" in Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation, edited by Rebecca T. Alpert, Sue Levi Elwell, and Shirley Idelson (Rutgers University Press, 2000). Rabbi Holtzman performs interfaith marriages.
 

Ben-Zion initiated Intermarried in 2009 by contacting an online parenting group in Washington Heights, the Manhattan neighborhood where she resides with her husband and twin boys. She invited couples that define themselves as "mixed" to participate, leaving the definition of intermarriage open to the interpretation of the respondents. Ben-Zion was interested in the many challenges faced by couples that choose to share their lives regardless of their different origins, ethnicities, races or religions.

 

  

"Murphy bed"

"The term "mixed" is strictly an outsider observation. It is a term that "others" would

use to define what their eyes see. ... Most people in "same/same" relationships would be

surprised at how quickly "different" disappears ... " (Cedric)

 

The families presented in this book all gave Ben-Zion access to their homes to photograph themselves, their children, and the spaces they live in. These images are not straightforward portraiture or documentation, but rather intimate moments and depictions, which allude to the personal experiences of Ben-Zion's subjects within a wider social and political context. Through layered images and revealing texts culled mostly from a questionnaire she asked her subjects to fill out, Ben-Zion constructs a subtle narrative in which she explores and interprets the complex, multifaceted issues posed by intermarriage.

 

"West Side Story"

"Jeff is Catholic and I am Jewish - that difference has defined us mostly because of the impact

our relationship had on our families, who were not supportive of our being together. ... " (Ilana)

 

It is Ben-Zion's hope that her new book will foster a dialogue and create a "platform for thinking and talking about issues that are very personal but have vast social and political implications." In light of the current public discourse surrounding interracial and interfaith marriage, the publication of this book is very timely.

 

An accompanying exhibition of the work was on view at the La Galeria at Boricua College in Washington Heights earlier this year. The Bronx Art Exchange wrote this about the show: "... The lines are blurring all around us with intermarriage. It is doing the great service of shattering stereotypes and is, part in parcel, the very dream that Dr. Martin Luther Kind, Jr. spoke of and yearned for all Americans to reach ... Ben-Zion's work is powerful because it captures the essence of what is happening in our country today and the very nature of how identities in the future will be dramatically different than anything we know today."

 

 

"Frames"

Beatrice Rippy married Carroll Hollister in New York in 1959, one year after Mildred and

Richard Loving got married in Washington, D.C. to avoid the anti-miscegenation statutes

of their home state, Virginia. New York is one of the nine states in the US that never

enacted anti-miscegenation laws.

 

Book Details:

Hardcover

Publisher: Kehrer

128 pages; 57 color illustrations

ISBN-13: 978-3-86828-418-8

11.9 x 9.4 x 0.7 inches 

$50 U.S.; To order the book, go here

 

Event Details:

 

Intermarried, photographs by Yael Ben-Zion

Yael Ben-Zion In Conversation with Rabbi Linda Holtzman + Book Signing

Big Blue Marble Book Store

551 Carpenter Lane

Philadelphia, PA 19119

215-844-1870

For more information, go here.

 

Yael Ben-Zion was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Israel. She is a graduate of the International Center of Photography's General Studies Program. Prior to taking up photography, Yael had a diverse legal career that included pursuing LL.M. and J.S.D. degrees at the Yale Law School. It was at Yale that she took her first formal photography class. Ben-Zion's work has been exhibited in the United States and in Europe, and she is the recipient of various grants and awards, including recent grants from NoMAA and the Puffin Foundation. In 2007, her photograph Crash was selected for the cover of American Photography 23. Yael's first monograph, 5683 miles away (Kehrer, 2010), was selected as one of photo-eye's Best Books of 2010 and for the PDN Photo Annual 2011. It was also a nominee for the German Photo Book Award 2011. Intermarried, her second monograph with Kehrer, was selected for American Photography 30 and featured in a variety of publications, among them, The New York Times Sunday Review, Photo District News and the Forward 
 
To visit the artist's website, go here.

Rabbi Linda Holtzman is the leader of Tikkun Olam Chavurah in Philadelphia. She has been rabbi of Congregations Mishkan Shalom and Beth Ahavah in Philadelphia and Beth Israel Congregation in Coatesville, PA. She is the founder of the Reconstructionist Hevra Kadisha, also in Philadelphia. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Temple University, her Bachelor of Arts in Hebrew letters from Gratz College, and her rabbinic ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Holtzman is the author of a chapter in Twice Blessed (Beacon Press, 1989) as well as the article "Struggle, Change and Celebration: My Life as a Lesbian Rabbi" in Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation, edited by Rebecca T. Alpert, Sue Levi Elwell, and Shirley Idelson (Rutgers University Press, 2000).

 

Media Contact: To receive a copy of the book and artwork and to arrange an interview with Yael Ben-Zion, please contact Andrea Smith, 646-220-5950, andreasmith202@gmail.com.