Jewish Agency Photo Exhibition Tells Its Storied History

Exhibition marking 90 years of the Jewish Agency presents the story of the Jewish people and Israel’s heroes during transformative times.

The Jewish Agency was brining Jews home long before the establishment of the State of Israel.
Central Zionist Archives/Ya Rozenblit

PHOTO: Group of children arriving in Rehovot as part of the Jewish Agency’s “Operation Tehran Children” during World War II.

A photo exhibition titled “One to Ninety” opened in January at Ben Gurion Airport depicting the story of the Jewish Agency for Israel as it celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.

Since its establishment nine decades ago, the Jewish Agency has stood at critical junctures in the history of the Jewish People and the State of Israel. The exhibition presents a series of photographs and personal stories that represent those activities – and, through them, represents the history of the Jewish people and the country.

The exhibition, which moves along time and space, connecting the personal to the collective and linking the Jewish people’s past to its common future, presents a sample of the Jewish Agency’s stories of people, places and programs around the world and in Israel. 

It presents the story of the Jewish people and Israel’s heroes during transformative and important events, while also ‘visiting’ them in the present with portraits showing them today. Among the subjects of the exhibition are a young woman who immigrated to Israel on her own and served as a Lone Soldier in the Israel Defense Forces; a child rescued in a covert Aliyah of Rescue operation; a Hebrew teacher at the oldest ulpan (center for intensive Hebrew instruction) in Jerusalem; pioneers who built the country; Shlichim (Israeli emissaries) who promote Israel overseas; and others.

New immigrants in Moshav Bar Giora

One of the many small towns and villages founded by the Jewish Agency.

“Presenting the exhibition at Ben Gurion Airport, through which millions of immigrants have entered Israel and millions of visitors from around the world pass through each year, is exciting and highly symbolic,” said Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog. “In its tenth decade, the Jewish Agency is addressing major contemporary challenges facing our people in Israel and worldwide, including strengthening the ties between world Jewry and the State of Israel, acting as the voice of overseas Jewry in Israeli society, promoting Shalom Bayit (cooperative relationships) among the various streams of Judaism, ensuring the security and well-being of Jews around the world as they face rising antisemitism, and, of course, continuing to bring tens of thousands of immigrants to Israel each year.”

The Jewish Agency for Israel, which was founded in 1929, brought Jews to Israel even before the establishment of the state. Fulfilling the vision of creating a national home for the Jewish people in its historic homeland, the organization today has brought more than 3.5 million immigrants from all over the world, established hundreds of small towns across the country, and for decades played a crucial role in populating, building and developing the country for all its citizens.

It has led cross-sectoral and diversity programs within Israeli society on behalf of world Jewry, together with its partners at the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), Keren Hayesod, the Government of Israel, foundations and donors from Israel and around the world. Over the course of its 90 years, the Jewish Agency has worked to build a bilateral connection between Jews and Israel, and to strengthen the relationship between Jews – with Israel at its center. For these achievements, the Jewish Agency was awarded the Israel Prize in 2008.

The exhibition was curated by the Jewish Agency’s Global Brand Director, Elad Sonn.

 

About the Jewish Agency for Israel

Since 1929, the Jewish Agency for Israel has been working to secure a vibrant Jewish future. It was instrumental in founding and building the State of Israel and continues to serve as the main link between the Jewish state and Jewish communities everywhere.

This global partnership has enabled it to address the Jewish People’s greatest challenges in every generation. Today, the Jewish Agency connects the global Jewish family, bringing Jews to Israel, and Israel to Jews, by providing meaningful Israel engagement and facilitating Aliyah. It also strives to build a better society in Israel – and beyond – energizing young Israelis and their worldwide peers to rediscover a collective sense of Jewish purpose.

The Jewish Agency continues to be the Jewish world’s first responder, prepared to address emergencies in Israel, and to rescue Jews from countries where they are at risk.

The full photo exhibit can be seen here.

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