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.
The International Council, Jerusalem, Israel
On June 8 -11, the Israel Museum hosted our annual International Council, which included 240 guests from 18 countries—with 25% of the group attending their first
International Council. This year’s theme was “Celebrating Light,” and indeed the occasion was celebratory. Participants enjoyed exclusive tours of the museum’s most popular exhibitions, a lecture by guest artists Doug and Mike Starn, the creators of Big Bambú
, and a speech by award-winning Israeli writer, Ari Shavit.
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South African Friends Inaugural Evening
On May 15, the South African Friends hosted their inaugural event in Cape Town. Organized by co-chairs Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, Nina Kovensky, and Marco Van Embden, and sponsored by M&C Saatchi Abel, the event drew 100 attendees, including co-Chair of IMJ’s International Council, Marion Naggar, who made the trip from London for the occasion. The guest speaker was Mark Coetzee, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA). Following a short video from Israel Museum director, James Snyder, there was a lively art and wine auction. The South African friends look forward to launching in Johannesburg in the fall.
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German Friends Charity Art Auction and Festive Dinner
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The German Friends hosted their annual art auction and dinner to benefit "Bridging the Gap," the Youth Wing's flagship art program for Jewish and Arab students. The auction, sponsored and run by Christie's, offered around 65 works by prominent Germany and international artists for public auction, and an additional 20 items on silent auction. The auction was followed by a festive dinner with guest of honor Wolf Biermann, one of Germany's most famous singer-songwriters and poets. Together, the auction and dinner raised the necessary funds to cover another year of this important program.
International Executive Council, Gstaad, Switzerland
Our annual International Executive Council took place this year in the picturesque village of Gstaad, Switzerland. Seventy friends from 12 countries participated in a full schedule of special events, including private collection tours and visits to Gstaad’s most beautiful chalets. IMJ’s Executive Council meeting on the morning of January 17 provided opportunity for our leadership to review their accomplishments from 2013 and discuss plans for the coming year.
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French Friends Event at Fondation Pierre Berge, Yves Saint Laurent
On January 21, our French Friends hosted a soirée at the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent. Guests included local friends of the Museum, leading members of the art and cultural community, and international friends who had just participated in our International Executive Council in Gstaad. The evening offered a rare opportunity to visit Yves Saint Laurent’s studio and to enjoy a performance by video and installation artist Nelly Agassi, who the museum celebrated in a solo exhibition in 2012-3; for this event, Agassi created a numbered special edition of drawings, which were sold to the benefit of the Museum.
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French Friends of the Israel Museum
On December 12, Denise Levy hosted a soiree for the French Friends of the Israel Museum at her home. The 120 guests included existing friends of the Museum, as well as many new faces. The guest speaker for the evening was French writer and philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who spoke passionately about the Israel Museum and the importance of the universal message the Museum transmits to the region and the world. Following Henri-Levi’s remarks, James Snyder greeted guests and gave an overview of activity at the Museum in 2013. The evening concluded with a great show of generosity as guests agreed to make contributions to support scholarships for participants in Ruth Youth Wing’s educational programs.
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Mexican Friends of the Israel Museum
Guests from Mexico and overseas attended a series of events from December 1 – 3, hosted by Eduardo and Eeme Bross and the Mexican Friends of the Israel Museum. Activities included museum visits, walking tours to see historic architecture, and restaurant outings to sample the local cuisine. Eduardo and Emee organized a party for guests at their magnificent home which is built into a ravine, and invited 70 of their friends. Their son, Benjamin Bross Umann has taken on the mantle to become the new President of the Mexican friends and is hoping to get more young Mexican Jews involved with the group in the future.
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Swiss Friends Host Herod-Themed Gala
With a theme inspired by the exhibition Herod the Great, the Swiss Friends' Gala took place this year on November 19 in the historic Kunsthaus Museum in the center of Zurich. 200 guests from across Europe enjoyed a festive dinner followed by an amazing performance by renowned Israeli singer Achinoam Nini, who sang best loved favorites as well as several pieces from her new musical about Pope John Paul II. A public auction organized in conjunction with Sotheby's and Christie's was a huge success. The event was organized by co-presidents Vera and Didier Bollag and their dedicated committee.
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British Friends of the Art Museums of Israel
500 guests from the UK and overseas attended the annual Gala Dinner and Auction of the British Friends of the Art Museums of Israel (BFAMI) on November 26, generously sponsored by Christie’s at the Roundhouse in north London. Guest of honor was London-born artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, who had decorated the venue with his textiles. Shonibare's address highlighted the important role that the Israel Museum had played in his career, and the significance of the Museum on the international cultural landscape. An auction of artwroks donated by artists, galleries and collectors, organized by Cathy Wills, and conducted by Francis Outred, International Director of Christie’s, raised around ₤600,000. BFAMI Chair Wendy Fisher welcomed guests, while James Snyder and former IMJ Chief Curator of Fine Arts Suzanne Landau, in her new role as Director of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, brought greetings from Israel.
The Association of Israeli Friends of the Israel Museum
Our Israeli Friends annual gala, named Artishuk, was inspired this year by the color and vitality of Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market. Held at the Museum on October 21, 500 guests were treated to exhibition tours and unique encounters in the galleries with curators, artists, celebrity guests and public figures from a variety of spheres, including PR expert and TV personality Rani Rahav, artists Adi Nes and Yehudit Sasportas, playwright Edna Mazya, poet Agi Mishol, and actors Moti Giladi and Osnat Shir Visheinsky. Prominent guests included IFIM co-chairs Rachel and Moshe Yanai, Dan and Susie Propper, Itzik and Shlomit Molho, and Rhoda Fischer. A buffet dinner was served market-style from stalls and to conclude the evening, guests enjoyed a musical performance by Ethiopian actress/singer Ester Rada. The event raised a record 2,000,000 NIS.
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American Friends of the Israel Museum
Our American Friends held their Annual Gala, themed TIME & AGAIN, on Monday, October 28th at Cipriani 42nd Street. Chaired by the family team of Ruth Lloyds and Bil Ehrlich, and Allison Lloyds O’Neill and Matthew O’Neill, 450 people attended the evening which, together with the journal, raised over $2.2 million.
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The Austrian Friends of the Israel Museum
On July 30, our Austrian Friends organized a unique Gala Evening in Salzburg to benefit the Museum. The evening's festivities began with cocktails at the Grosses Festspielhaus, and then guests were treated to a concert by the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, an ensemble of young musicians who together with their music director Gustavo Dudamel have taken the world by storm with their talent and youthful energy. Later in the evening guests were transported to the Gala Dinner and auction that took place at the picturesque 18th century Schloss Leopoldskron, the former residence of Max Reinhardt, founder of the Salzburg Festival. The Gala event was a high point in an exciting three-day program organized by Thaddaeus Ropac and the Austrian Friends for a group of more than 30 international guests who made the trip to Salzburg for this special occasion.