Arts & Culture Favorites in Israel: Dorit Rabinyan, Ishay Ribo, Hilla Spitzer and Adva Aharon

Nothing is better then getting a recommendation from a trusted friend, especially in the realm of arts and culture.

I want to share with you a writer, a musician, an artist and a fashion designer I have been following over the last few months.

By no means I only follow Israelis. Parallel to these choices below, I have on repeat the British Indie band Seafret, am loving the colorful and feminine Instagram of the French Artist Lea Augerau, (is this me?), enthralled and hit emotionally (with tears) by Rupi Kaur’s first book of poetry “Milk and Honey”  and I am living in my Nisolo Ecuador Huarache Sandals which are a great solution to a covered toe, but an airy and comfortable wear. (They can ship to Israel for about 150nis, but I had my mom bring me two pairs in her suitcase from the U.S.)

However, it is more interesting to write about beautiful treasures we find at home, no?

Dorit Rabinyan’s “All The Rivers” (Author)


All the Rivers is a novel about the relationship between an Israeli writer and Palestinian artist in NYC during the winter of 2002-2003.

I recently got to visit Ramallah, Jericho and Bethlehem last October as part of an art tour with the Leichtag Foundation, and at one of the galleries we visited we saw a vivid painting by Hasan Hourani. (You can see the painting in the video in the post.)

A member of the group told me I must read Dorit Rabinyan’s “All the Rivers”, as Hasan is the Palestinian Artist she writes about.  I soon read the book…it’s a story full of emotion, complexity and lovely detail of New York and Israel, and such an important message of hope, though restrained and reasonable. I was truly moved.

Then, at the closing event of the recent International Writers Festival in Jerusalem, I got the opportunity to meet, very briefly, the wonderful, talented, and down to earth Dorit. I am looking forward to reading her other novels.

Ishay Ribo (Musician)

What can I say about Ishay Ribo? This is the soulful, religious musician who you hear regularly on the streets of Jerusalem and whose concerts are becoming sold old fast. You will need some Hebrew for his songs, but just get drifted away…

Here is the link ( ) if it won’t let you play the song below through the blog. This one is my favorite, roughly translated as “This Test/Trial”.

These two tracks I also love: “Kol Dodi” and “Ratzuf Ahava”

Hilla Spitzer (Artist)

We recently visited the Fresh Paint Art & Design Fair in Tel Aviv.  My favorite new discovery was a young Tel Avivian artist, Hilla Spitzer. I feel like I can walk into her free flowing, colorful paintings. I especially love the details in her kitchen paintings (this tablecloth?). Perhaps they remind me of my own kitchen? Or how I would want it to look? Colorful, charming and inviting? Or of my favorite Kandinsky painting from 1910, “Kandinsky and Erma Bossi” which is permanently located in my home state of New Jersey at the Princeton Art Museum. There is something very warming about a conversation in a colorful kitchen…don’t you think?

Above are two paintings I saw at the fair “Open House at Daniellas” and “This is Home”.

Adva Aharon (Fashion Designer)

I wish there was a Jerusalem fashion designer (perhaps there is?) doing what Adva Aharon is doing in Tel Aviv with her casual, yet tailored and sophisticated looks. Perhaps because she is not deliberately doing “Modest Fashion” her designs come out, to my eye, just the right balance.  I believe that many women where I live in Jerusalem (Katamon/Baka/Arnona areas), would like the choices of “Modest Fashion” to be more free with the necklines, and designed with a certain sophistication in mind. Kind of like Jerusalem….casual, modest, yet spiritual and deep.

I hope to visit her in Tel Aviv in the coming months to hear if perhaps she does have a connection to modest fashion, or it was just because it was winter…

I would love to hear some of your favorite local artists, writers, fashion designers and musicians, wherever you live. Please do comment on the blog!

Also, if interested, here is a recent post of Natural Health and Beauty Products in Israel and of  Israeli Singers and Songwriters.

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