A time to care

A time to care

Photographer's take on Ecclesiastes to support home for abused children in Israel

“A Time to Talk by Joel Wolff.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” wrote King Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes (Kohelet).

For Brazilian-Israeli photographer Joel Wolff, June 12 will be a time for exhibiting “Time to Time,” a show and sale of his photographs illustrating the passage from the biblical work that describes 28 “times” in life – starting with “A time to give birth and a time for death; a time to plant and a time to uproot.”

They will be on display starting at 7 p.m. at the Englewood home of David and Adriana Foni, longtime supporters of Emunah of America’s Bet Elazraki Children’s Home in Netanya, Israel. All proceeds from this show (and another in Manhattan at 202 E. 77th Street on June 17) will go toward the home, which cares for 240 babies, children, and teens removed from abusive or neglectful parents.

“The Englewood community has been very close to Bet Elazraki for a very long time and we feel they are part of our family, so there is no better place to do something unique for our children in Israel,” said Ari Korman, who is from Englewood and is the home’s director of international development.

Wolff, 50, lives in Ra’anana. He was inspired to do something creative for the children’s home after learning about its work through his daughter’s year of national service at Bet Elazraki.

“I took almost all the photos especially for the occasion, over a year and a half,” he said. “I am very passionate about Tanach” – the Bible -and especially the five megillot,” the five scrolls that include Esther, Ruth, Lamentations, and the Song of Songs as well as Ecclesiastes. “Kohelet speaks to each person, and it is always very relevant. I tried to put that into the photos.”

For example, “A Time to Cry” is illustrated with a black-and-white photo of a soccer ball landing in a net. “A Time to Laugh” is illustrated by the same shot, but in color to show that the same situation can be painful or joyous depending upon the viewer’s perspective.

“Time to Time” connects with Bet Elazraki, Wolff said, “because people always say, ‘Next year I will do something [charitable] when I get more money or when I have time to volunteer.’ I want to say that the time is now.

“Do it now – and maybe do it again.”

At the show in Englewood, Wolff plans to tell the story of how he was inspired to go from running a factory in Brazil to taking photographs in Israel. “A boy living in the streets of Brazil taught me the highest lesson of gratitude,” was all he would divulge for now. He moved five years ago with his wife and five children to what he calls “the land of beauty for the eyes and soul.”

“Time to Time” also will be exhibited in Tel Aviv in July, and perhaps later in Brazil and London.

Korman said a catalogue of the show will be available for sale.

The residents of the home, founded in 1969 by a couple who took in children of Holocaust survivors, come from all over Israel and all types of ethnic and religious backgrounds.

“We are a religious home, sort of the equivalent of modern Orthodox,” Korman said. “We present what it is to lead a religious life but do not force it upon them or require it of them. Our graduates have taken many different paths in life and we’re proud of them all.”

He said that Bet Elazraki becomes the children’s surrogate family, keeping in touch with each one even after “graduating” from the program at age 18.

“We support them through army, university, marriage – just like parents are with their children forever.”

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