The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
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Focus on our Friends
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The amazing success story of the Israel Museum can be attributed to our ever-growing network of International Friends who support our activities in a number of ways. Here are some highlights of Friends events around the world.

Sukkot Open House at the Israel Museum 
October 2015

The Israel Museum’s annual Sukkot Open House on October 1, 2015 saw 60 guests begin their day under the shade of the Museum’s sukkah. Director James Snyder opened the event with a recap of the Museum’s 50th Anniversary year, now entering its final chapter, and emphasizing the many gifts and loans received to mark this special occasion.  Mira Lapidot, Chief Curator of Fine Arts, curators Miki Joelson of Jewish Art and Life, and Rachel Caine Kreinin of Archaeology, led participants on tours of new gifts in their respective wings, and  exhibition curator Tania Coen-Uzzielli completed the morning with a tour of her exhibition, A Brief History of Humankind, which explores the major milestones in the development of humankind through the use of objects from across the Museum’s collections.

For more details on the Sukkot Open House or to be invited to future IMJ holiday Open Houses, contact Yvette Messinas 

South African Friends Gala Launch, Johannesburg 
August 2015

The new Johannesburg chapter of the South African Friends of the Israel Museum (SAFIM) was launched at a festive dinner held on August 27 in the Johannesburg suburb of Rivonia. The event was attended by 250 guests, among them SAFIM Co-Chairs Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, Nina Kovensky, and Marco van Embden who flew in from Cape Town. Guest speaker was Mark Coetzee, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCCA), while the Israel Museum was represented by Barak Cohen, Deputy Director for International Relations. A highly successful auction was run by Ariella Kuper. The evening’s success was thanks to the dedicated Johannesburg host team headed by Della Berkowitz, and including Louise Bloch, Liora Meltzer, Julie Treger, Dori Weil and Gigi Wolf. The evening was generously sponsored by the Eric and Sheila Samson Foundation, Jonathan Beare, The Beare Foundation, Stonehage, Investec, Cape Gate, The Saxon, and Norman Goodfellows. 

For more details, contact Sarin Goott
Canadian Friends 50th Anniversary Celebration Garden Party, Toronto
August 2015

On August 12, the Canadian Friends of the Israel Museum in Toronto celebrated the Israel Museum’s 50th Anniversary with a garden party at the home of Wayne and Maureen Squibb. The Canadian Friends launched their 2015 Annual Partner campaign at this event and unveiled a limited-edition print by Olafur Eliasson, created especially for the Canadian Friends to mark the Museum’s landmark anniversary.

For more details, contact the Canadian Friends of the Israel Museum

Austrian Friends Gala and VIP Program
July 2015

Co-chaired by Thaddaeus Ropac and Sylvie Liska, the 5th annual Austrian Friends Gala and Auction was held on July 27, 2015 at the performance venue Kulisse, preceded by a concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Alongside the gala evening, the extended program included a guided visit to the Stefan Zweig Centre with director Dr. Klemens Renoldner; a viewing of the opera, Le Nozze di Figaro, on its opening night; and the now traditional lunch in the boathouse of the 10th century Anif Castle.

For more details, contact the Austrian Friends of the Israel Museum

The International Council, Jerusalem, Israel
June 2015

Our 50th Anniversary International Council on June 7-10 welcomed 450 guests from 20 countries to the Israel Museum. Participants enjoyed curator-led tours of new exhibitions, as well as of special gifts and loans in honor of the Museum’s 50th Anniversary; a gala on a custom-built platform overlooking an illuminated Shrine of the Book; and a 1960s themed dinner at the Rockefeller Archaeology Museum. Special presentations included film director Joseph Cedar and author Etgar Keret in conversation, and Amos Oz’s reflections on his book, A Tale of Love and Darkness, which has recently been adapted into a film by Natalie Portman. Additional programming for our IMJ Internationals' young leadership group included a behind-the-scenes look at the Museum’s conservation labs.

For more details, contact Judith Amselem

Passover Open House at the Israel Museum
April 2015 

On Sunday, April 5, over 70 Friends from around the world attended the Museum’s annual Passover Open House. Guests enjoyed refreshments while director James Snyder shared his vision and plans for the Museum’s exciting 50th Anniversary year in 2015. Mira Lapidot, Yulla and Jacques Lipchitz Chief Curator of the Fine Arts Wing guided participants throughout 1965 Today, an exhibition she co-curated. During the tour, she related stories about life in Israel during the Museum’s founding years, describing the country’s burgeoning art scene, alongside presenting objects from the period, such as clothing, electronics, and furniture. At 6 Artists 6 Projects, Curator of the David Orgler Department of Israel Art Amitai Mendelsohn discussed the exhibition’s take on cutting-edge Israeli art. During his tour, Mendelsohn, who co-curated the exhibition, discussed the diversity of the exhibition’s offerings, which ranged from video art to photography to a woven carpet, while also addressing the complexities of each piece.

For more details, contact Yvette Messinas 

Swiss Friends Concert-Gala, Lucerne
February 2015

On February 4, the Swiss Friends held a Concert-Gala at Lucerne's Culture and Congress Centre, which was designed by architect Jean Nouvel. Featuring works by Robert Schumann and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart performed by the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra; the night combined music and food, and saw over 170 participants join in the festivities.

For more details, contact Didier Bollag 

American Friends West Coast Gala, Los Angeles
January 2015

Over 250 guests attended the West Coast Gala on January 27, 2015. Chaired by Allison Berg and Nancy Lainer, the Gala was held at The Lot, a historical studio for television, film, and commercial production in Los Angeles. The West Coast Friends welcomed guest speaker Catherine Opie, an award-winning photographer and professor at UCLA, who has had her works exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and other museums around the world, including the Israel Museum.

For more details, contact Janna Fisher

American Friends Palm Beach Gala, Palm Beach
January 2015

On January 22, 2015, 200 guests attended the American Friends Palm Beach Gala: "An Evening of Sand and Stars," which was held at the Beach Club at the elegant Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. Chaired by Phyllis Mack and Bonnie Stern, the event celebrated the Israel Museum's 50th Anniversary.

For more details, contact Kelly Calanni

International Executive Council, Berlin
January 2015 

Marking the first event of the Museum's 50th Anniversary, the 2015 International Executive Council (IEC) on January 15-18 acted a platform which allowed us to share our plans for this landmark year with 95 participants from 12 countries. Set against the backdrop of Berlin, the IEC program was developed in collaboration with Hendrik Berinson, Sonja Lahnstein, and Burkhard Riemschneider, and featured a full roster of special events, among them exclusive visits to private collections, artists' studios, galleries, and museums; a celebratory opening evening honoring fifty years of German-Israeli diplomatic relations and twenty-five years of our German Friends of the Israel Museum; a studio visit and lunch hosted by artist Olafur Eliasson; Shabbat dinner at the residence of the Hon. John Emerson, Ambassador of the US in Germany, and his wife, Mrs. Kimberly Emerson; a tour of Museum Island accompanied by architect David Chipperfield and Michael Eissenhauer, Director of the Berlin State Museums; and evenings in some of Berlin's most celebrated restaurants.

For more details, contact Judith Amselem

Mexican Friends Gala
December 2014

The Amigos Mexicanos del Museo de Israel (AMMI)’s annual gala took place on December 4 at Mexico City’s renowned Restaurante Hacienda de los Morales. Generously co-sponsored by Planigrupo LatAm, Cinemex, Bank Leumi, FINSA and Walton Street Capital, the Gala’s theme was “Celebrating the Israel Museum in Mexico,” which recalled 2014’s achievements, while looking ahead to the Museum’s 50th Anniversary in 2015. The evening was the first event with the Mexican Friend’s new Chair, Benjamin Bross. Over 150 people were treated to a night full of arts, including a selection of operatic arias and a keynote address delivered by renowned Mexican poet, Homero Aridjis.

For more details, contact Benjamin Bross

French Friends Gala, Paris 
November 2014

The French Friends of the Israel Museum hosted their Gala 2014 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. The evening included a cocktail reception and an auction of an artwork by Loris Gréaud. Additionally, the Gala offered a private tour of Décors à vivre, an exhibition curated in collaboration with Architectural Digest, which showcases interiors designed around pieces from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs’ collection. 

For more details, contact Caroline Davidovici 


CFIM Young Associates Dinner and Discussion, Toronto
November 2014

On Wednesday, November 19, more than 100 Canadian Friends of the Israel Museum (CFIM) Toronto Young Associates’ attended the launch of the 2015 membership campaign at the home of Canadian business icons and philanthropists Heather Reisman and Gerald Schwartz. Organized by Sam Reitman, Chair of the CFIM Toronto Young Associates, this year’s theme was “Starting a Collection,” and the magnificent home of Heather Reisman and Gerald Schwartz’s offered the perfect backdrop for this conversation. Guests enjoyed dinner, a private viewing of the art collection, and a conversation between Heather Reisman and David Moos, former Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario. 

For more details, contact Pearl Berman


Israeli Friends Gala
November 2014
The fifth annual gala of the Israeli Friends, held on November 5 with the participation of over 500 guests, brought back the ever popular "Arti-Shuk." The evening included encounters in the galleries between public figures and Museum curators, including Nobel Prize winner Yisrael Aumann, fashion designer Yuval Caspi, journalist Rina Matzliach, physician-poet Sagit Arbel-Alon, and celebrity chef Yisrael Aharoni, among many others. Dinner was served throughout the evening in the Museum’s Cardo in the style of Jerusalem's open air markets, complemented by surprise performances throughout the evening from internationally-renowned drumming ensemble Miyumana; the Hebrews of Dimona; and a roving marching band. Proceeds from the event were designated for free guided tours for soldiers and national service participants, as well as educational activities within the Museum.

For more details, contact Lea Rotstein

Cocktail Reception and Canadian Friends of the Israel Museum Annual Partners Dinner, Montreal
October 2014

On October 30, the Canadian Friends of the Israel Museum (CFIM) hosted a cocktail reception and private viewing of the Phi Centre Galleries in special celebration of founding Canadian supporters of the IMJ, Professor Blema and Mr. Arnold Steinberg. An elegant dinner for CFIM Annual Partners followed, hosted by Rita and Charles Bronfman, and Morris Goodman & family. The evening was dedicated in loving memory of Rosalind Goodman, Founding Chair of CFIM Montreal. The evening’s success is shared between CFIM Montreal Co-Chairs Karys Marcus, Marissa Nuss and Rhoda Pinsky, and Montreal Annual Partner Chair, Rita Mayo Bronfman. 

For more details, contact Pearl Berman 

American Friends of the Israel Museum Annual Gala
October 2014 

On October 27, 500 guests attended the American Friends of the Israel Museum’s Annual Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street. The Gala’s theme was ROCK IN THE GARDEN, in celebration of the Israel Museum's Billy Rose Art Garden. The gala was chaired by Stacey Bronfman, Chris Mack, and Allison Rubler, with the Gala Journal chaired by Susan and Morris Mark.
For more details, contact Leah Siegel 

For an archive of our past events, please click here >>