“And God Saw It Was Bad”

At 6am, on the 7th of October, in the year of 2023, the earth was formed and full. The trees surrounding the little sleepy kibbutzim and towns near Gaza, had recently been plucked for the Feast of Sukkoth. Morning had broken and blackbird spoke. Like that First Morning, Humanity was at rest.  It was long … Read more

Bill Evans

I like painting people, whether its be to capture those who make their mark on us all, or brave souls who have gone through so much and come out beautiful, or fun family portraits which make great gifts for weddings, graduations, birthdays, Bar Mitzvahs and other celebrations.

Elvis Presley

I like painting people, whether its be to capture those who make their mark on us all, or brave souls who have gone through so much and come out beautiful, or fun family portraits which make great gifts for weddings, graduations, birthdays, Bar Mitzvahs and other celebrations.

Rudolf Nureyev


I like painting people, whether its be to capture those who make their mark on us all, or brave souls who have gone through so much and come out beautiful, or fun family portraits which make great gifts for weddings, graduations, birthdays, Bar Mitzvahs and other celebrations.

The Problem With PTSD…

Episode 1: A Deep Dive into Trauma and Recovery | Jason Blankfield & Tal Hartuv. In this episode of The Mind-Bending Podcast, I explore with Jason Blankfield the realities of post-traumatic stress disorder. Trauma gave birth to suicidal thoughts, hypervigilance, social isolation, insomnia, rage, and depression. It was hardly surprising that some people did not … Read more

Writing Your Way Into Health

Episode 2: How Writing Can Help in Your PTSD Recovery | Jason Blankfield & Tal Hartuv. In this episode of The Mind-Bending Podcast, Jason Blankfield and I discuss writing as a tool for processing trauma, a means of healing and self-expression. I share some writing tips and exercises which helped me in my journey towards mental … Read more

Children’s Books

Life on a Moshav: cover

Arguably there is no greater gift than a children’s book, especially one that is personalised for the listener and reader alike.  These are a few illustrations I did for a couple of Hebrew books commissioned by grandparents who wanted the joy of having their grandkids cuddle up while they read them a story about their … Read more

Legacy Books

Legacy book: Martha

These are some of the 26 acrylic paintings in a book about Martha. Martha was part of the Kindertransport, a 1939 rescue effort by the British to get Jewish children out of Germany until the crisis was over. Because the British did not let the parents travel with their children, 12-year old Martha, had to travel to England alone. When she … Read more

The Dangers Of Victimhood

Episode 3: Avoiding The Victimhood Trap While Recovering From PTSD | Jason Blankfield & Tal Hartuv. In this episode of The Mind-Bending Podcast, Jason Blankfield and I explore the notion of victimhood. Seeing ourselves as perpetual victims is a death blow to self-esteem. Victimhood also has a shelf-life with those we love. I share how I have learned … Read more

How to Beat Trauma

Episode 4: Resilience and Growth: Navigating the Aftermath of Trauma | Jason Blankfield & Tal Hartuv In this episode of The Mind-Bending Podcast, Jason Blankfield and I speak about the effect trauma has on our personality, emotions and character. I also share some ideas for rediscovering the joyful essence in life following my brutal encounter with death, and … Read more

Irony of Jerusalem

Social media is a weird thing. It holds no prisoners as to what and who should be trending. It is safe to say, that no one would have predicted a choir of Orthodox Jewish teenage boys wearing black yarmulkes and outdated silky shirts would gain the attention of Western popular culture which is rapidly changing … Read more

Saving a world

In the Jewish world, Takele Mekonen is a living legend. Growing up in Ethiopia, Takele was very influenced by his Grandfather who was chief rabbi. His grandfather taught him the Talmudic principle that saving one person is akin to saving an entire world. Daily they prayed together for G-d to bring the Ethiopian Jewish community … Read more

The woman who won’t give up

In February 2019, Karen Pozaylov was competing in the preliminary qualifiers for the Israeli Equestrian Championship. For years she had trained with the same horse. The animal was like a best friend. It was if the horse knew exactly what she wanted: He knew when to run, when to stop, when to gallop and when … Read more

Restoring faith in humanity

Hanging in Yad Vashem is a huge painting of a man taking an emaciated young boy by the hand and leading him towards a palm tree. Titled, ”The Man Who Restored My Faith In Humanity,” it is the creation of the then-16 year old Czech Shoah survivor, Yehuda Bacon. After the war, he got on … Read more

Uranium and the stocking factory

While most of the world lethargically yawns over the Iranian enrichment of uranium, Israel is relentless in its pursuit to stop the appeasement and the disastrous deal. Uranium, one of the world’s most expensive materials, is also one of the deadliest. With enriched uranium it is possible to make nuclear missiles.  Whether Israel has nuclear … Read more

Kosher warrior

Of all the iconic photographs to have been taken since the 1948 founding of the State of Israel, by far one of the most famous is that of the first head of the military rabbinate, IDF chaplain Shlomo Goren. In the photo he is surrounded by Israeli soldiers at the Western Wall holding a Torah … Read more

The contrarian

When David Weiss Halivni passed away in the summer of 2022, at the very least, the Master of the Universe would need no convincing that the 94-year old had ever wasted a second of his incredible life. And even if there was any doubt, then there is a high probability that Halivni would have been … Read more


Until today, the most often-quoted and most popular Prime Minister to ever lead the State of Israel, is the late Menachem Begin. He was a man who lead a roller-coaster of a life. Despised by the British who considered him a terrorist, Begin’s determination and unflinching vision of a Greater Israel left his values and … Read more

Jerusalem of Gold

In the amazing and very varied repertoire of Israeli songs, there are two which Israelis, both young and old, will stop in their tracks and sing along to wherever they are: HaTikvah, and Jerusalem of Gold. Although there is somewhat of a competitive edge between the two songs,  throughout the years, Jerusalem of Gold has … Read more

The watchman

Given the fact that the Israeli driving test is one of the most difficult in the first-world, it is a known-phenomena that Israelis are not the safest or slowest drivers on the planet. The death-rate caused by accidents is sky-high. Not only do people fall victim to chance-taking drivers, over-tired drivers also kill.  Although Yehuda … Read more

Writing of the heart

In 1938, without any persuasion from Germany, the government of Hungary adopted the notorious Nuremberg Laws which had severe implications for the 846,000 Jewish community living there. Among multiple decrees, Jews, who were now defined as a person with 2 Jewish grandparents, found themselves thrown out of jobs, forbidden to mix or marry with non-Jews … Read more

Passing of an angel

Tamar Eshel was a woman whose life was ultimately extraordinary as her death. Her influence on the survival of the fledging state and the fabric of the later Israeli society is almost immeasurable.  Just a hint short of three decades after the first Zionist Congress in Basel called by Theodore Herzl, Tamar’s parents found themselves … Read more

Man of books

Right on the corner of King George and Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem, is Pomeranz, the most frequented English book shop in Israel. Desperate for decent bookstores selling English volumes, hundreds of Anglo Israelis come from all over the country to the shop every month. The astonishing pokey book store has the largest selection of … Read more

The ranch

Fenced off by rows of citrus trees twenty miles from Tel Aviv is a horse ranch, unlike many other ranches in Israel. There are fifty-five horses, ranging in size and age, the smallest being no more than a meter tall. Each horse is known by his or her name, and each horse has a different … Read more


“Winners never quit and quitters never win,” is the motto that Shaul Ladany lives by. Gritty and determined, the 84-year old well-loved and esteemed professor of the Negev’s Ben Gurion University set out in 2022 to prove this point by experiment – (in which he was both the scientist and the guinea pig) that even … Read more

Unsung hero

In a southern neighbourhood of Jerusalem, just a stone’s throw from the so-called Green Line, is Airplane Hill. It’s nothing special to look at and is absent from all tourism itineraries. It is a place where most people drive by without stopping on their way to their destination.  Yet, the golden rule of Israel says … Read more

Prisoner of Zion

An Israeli statesman, politician, author, human rights activist, refusenik, former political prisoner, mathematician and chess prodigy, Natan Sharansky, who was born Anatoly Borisovich Shcharansky in today’s war-torn Ukrainian city of Donetsk, is a Jewish hero known throughout the world.  In 1977 when only 29 years old, the outspoken Sharansky was arrested by the Russian KGB … Read more

The writer

Israel is a country bereft of star-struck masses waiting in line to get a selfia celebrity. This is because it is a country where all are equal, and all have an opinion which explains why there are nearly nine million Prime Ministers. With all being equal, for anyone’s obituary to be published on the front … Read more


Way back in the days of the Russian Empire, various kings and queens restricted the Jewish people to an area called the “Pale of Settlement.” For years Jews toiled in the all-too familiar scenery such as the likes found in the musical Fiddler on the Roof. But as the fresh air of revolution and emancipation … Read more

Rising star

The first ever Israeli live TV talk-show was born in 1992. It attracted thousands of devoted viewers and became the prototype for Israeli TV journalism today. Truth be told, it was more of a shout-show than a talk-show, with participants sometimes leaving the studio angrily live on TV. Much to the delight of the national … Read more

A minority of one

Not yet forty, Hussein Aboubakr Mansour, has already lead a whirlwind of a life. Born to a Muslim banking family in Cairo, Hussain has depicted his journey in his breathtaking memoir, “Minority of One: The Unchaining of an Arab Mind.” In it he depicts how and why he taught himself English and Hebrew, was thrown … Read more

The Christian and the Talmud

The invention of the printing press in the 15th century changed the world forever. Its inventor was the German bookmaker, Johannes Gutenberg. He made books all the rage. From the reading of books came the furthering of society and Europe was brought out of the dark ages.  Gutenberg was an innovator. Not only did her … Read more

Escape From Iran

Once upon a world ago, Iran was the world center of Jewish life. Known once as Persia, Jewish people first settled following the Babylonian exile. It was in these vast areas where the square-looking Biblical Hebrew letters of today, were formed from the linear shaped Hebrew letters with which the likes of the 10 commandments … Read more

Love Thy Neighbour

The often misunderstood Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community have come up with a very innovative idea based on one of the most prominent ideas in Judaism,  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” The idea was so necessary and so obvious that a donor kick-started the project with a million dollar pledge: and the charity Quality of Life was … Read more

The long run home

Most immigrants to Israel, no matter where they have come from, will readily acknowledge that while Aliya – for most – can be a dream come true, it sometimes is very challenging. As far as Aliya hardships go in Israel, the Ethiopian Jewish community is certainly near the top of the ladder. Yet despite all … Read more

In tune

Micah Hendler always believed that putting emotions to music is better than expressing them in words. Ten years ago, he changed his conviction into a practical reality, and formed the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, a choir comprised of Israeli and Palestinian high school students. Not that Hendler has rose-colored glasses about the conflict. He is not … Read more

On Good and Evil

“Noble be Man, merciful and good” wrote the German poet Goethe. It was a sentence to be repeated well-over a century later by Gerda Weissmann Klein, one of the most inspiring and outspoken Shoah survivors who sadly passed away at the beginning of April 2022.  Gerda’s telling of her horrific story throughout the years began … Read more

Giants in uniform

Among what seems to be the 24/7 streaming of bad news coming out of Europe, Israeli news is working hard to make sure that there are always reports that will bring a smile to people’s faces and a little light relief. And what serve that purpose better than Giants in Uniform.  Giants in Uniform was … Read more

The man who refused to forget

In 1941, Boris Romanchenko was only 15 years old when the Nazis invaded his home town in Ukraine. But it wasn’t the first time his county had been taken over by invaders. In the same year that Hitler came to power, before World War II had even started, Stalin had devised and carried out his … Read more

Jewish Google

On an unusually very cold and cloudy day in March 2022, major roads in central Israel were closed for hours, while 1500 buses parked on the side of the freeways as an estimated over half a million men, all dressed in black jackets and black hats, swarmed through a suburb of Tel Aviv, to accompany … Read more

Legend of the Destruction

With news of its imminent release in cinemas all over the country, the film “Agudat HaHorban” (Legend of the Destruction) was a sellout in Israel in a matter of hours.  Legend of Destruction is an Israeli animated historical drama film about the destruction of Jewish Temple during the first century. It tells the story of … Read more

Ambassador of music

In the world of music, it is extremely rare to find an artist who appeals to all ages and all ethnic identities, but this is one of the great achievements of Israeli-born musician, Idan Raichel. His success is so supreme, that radio stations inside and outside of Israel regularly play his music. He leads the … Read more

The village that never was

Fiddler on the Roof is one of the most-loved and long-lasting musicals ever to hit the Broadway stage. It is based on the book “Tevye the Milkman” written by the Jewish Yiddish author Sholom Aleichem. The story is set at the turn of the 20th century in a Russian fictitious Jewish village called Anatevka. The … Read more

When the world looked away

Right in the middle of World War Two, buried deep in the November 25th 1942 edition of the New York Times was a very short article about the extermination of 2 million Jews in what was then Nazi-occupied Europe. The article concluded with a warning of the peril that the remaining 4 million Jewish people … Read more

The man with an open heart

Back in the 19th century when Jewish people in the Tzarist Russian Empire could not live outside the Pale of Settlement, Avraham Isaac Kook was born. His family were learned people and Orthodox Jews. Little Avraham was soon seen as an academic prodigy. Following in his father’s footsteps, when he was 18 Avraham started his studies … Read more

The spokesman

What Churchill was to Britain with his command of the English language, Abba Evan was to Israel. Of all the Israeli statesmen, it is Abba Evan who left a legacy of literary wit on every Israeli heart.  Among his most piercingly humorist and truthful sayings is the unforgettable, “If Algeria introduced a resolution that the … Read more

Fish brains

There is an old and rather cynical feminist joke that says, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” And Israel being Israel, researchers have embarked on research to train a goldfish to ride a bicycle.  Well, not exactly to ride a bicycle, but to steer a vehicle in the direction the … Read more

The power of the mind

many young people, when he was seventeen Perth-born Jason Blankfield was not sure what he wanted to do with his life. All he knew was, he loved sports. With nothing else of particular interest to him, he decided to enrol into the University of Western Australia and do a degree in Sports Science, and simply … Read more

Behind closed doors

In the summer of 1947, just months before the founding of the State of Israel, an event took place which would have far reaching effects on the life of English Lawrence Haffner: and also the history of modern Israel.  Just two years after the war, that summer was a difficult one for the people of … Read more

Laughing back to health

In Israeli hospitals there is a good chance that standing next to the doctor or nurse is someone donning a big red nose, a lipstick smile and a silly hat, trying to make a child laugh. These medical clowns are the inspiration of the Dream Doctors Project.  Founded twenty years ago, the charity is picky … Read more

Medicine and the Mishneh

The Bible and the Talmud form the basis of Jewish Law. Jewish Law is broadly speaking, millennials of rabbinic conversations of how to to arrive at a consensus for Jewish people to follow the commandments and preserve Jewish continuity wherever they may be. Many works have been written throughout the ages, each one adding to … Read more

Krav Maga

With Hitler’s rise to power, Jews began to find themselves as targets of anti Semitic attacks throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Deep in the heart of Slovakia, Imi Lichtenfeld, the 25 year-old wresting and boxing national champion, decided to do something about it.  Imi formed a group of other Jewish boxers and wrestlers with the … Read more

Lighting up the world

Until just a few years ago, children still had to attend school during the festival of Hannukah, which is never the case for the Passover, Shavuot and Sukkoth. However, due to the holiday’s popularity, and the oil-based comfort-food frenzy, the government decided (to the horror of working parents) that for such a joyous holiday, children … Read more

From London to the IDF

The young Major Keren Hagioff is a familiar face in Israel, and her story of rising through the army ranks to become the IDF Spokesperson for Israel’s Northern Border, is one of determination, commitment and inspiration. Like many Jewish British kids, Hagioff also decided to spend a gap year in Israel before returning to “settle … Read more

Dawn of a new day

Nearly twelve years ago, Shahar Grinspan was on waiting at a traffic light on her way to her Bat Mitvah. From nowhere, a car suddenly swerved and ran over her. The driver was drunk. Shahar’s head injuries were so horrific that the doctors doubted she would survive the night. Much of her brain tissue was … Read more

Making waves

The advantage of the radio –  as opposed to television –  is that it leaves far more to the imagination. The non-visual media allows us to tantalisingly “fill-in in the blanks,” leaving us all to draw our own creative conclusions. The nuance of radio is something that Israeli Jewish journalist, Eran Zinger, has capitalised on … Read more

An officer and a mensch

The Israeli Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi, has fast knocked up a reputation for his brilliant military strategic tactics which outwitted Hamas during the last war in Gaza. Under his command, the IDF moved large amounts of tanks and artillery to the border with Gaza and then “accidentally” leaked to the media that there was … Read more

Shanghai and the Jews

Every day, (except during the pandemic) nearly 9,000 Jewish students from the likes of Israel, USA, UK, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Russia, Canada and even Panama, gather in a yeshiva in the heart of Jerusalem and huddle over ancient books. The study of the Bible and Talmud at the Mir Yeshiva – the … Read more

Never ask why

Miriam Peretz’s Moroccan parents were devoutly religious, poor and illiterate. In the Jewish ghettos of Casablanca they dreamed of the day they would move to Jerusalem.  In 1963, when she was just 9 years old, that dream came true. Miriam and her family were part of the nearly one million Jews made stateless and forced … Read more

Tending the Kotel

The recently deceased 95-year old Binyamin Werzberger was very widely known in Israel. He was a familiar face at the likes of public commemorations, Days of Remembrance and even army ceremonies. But every Israeli knew him first and foremost as the man who cleaned the Kotel, the Western Wall: because for Binyamin, being in Jerusalem … Read more

Back to basics

There is a famous Jewish saying which claims that each verse of the Torah has 70 interpretations . This is not a literal 70, but rather conveys that when people study Torah, they bring their observations born out of their own perspective and life experience which will be different from that of their neighbours.  In … Read more


Every few decades a true prodigy emerges in the likes of art, music and science. It is difficult to categorise the brilliance of the late Ephraim Kishon. Not only was he a prodigy of the pen and one of the greatest and funniest men in living history, he was also a man who laughed his … Read more

Coming home

In India’s Northeastern border there are about 3.7 million people, all with various creeds and religions. Among them, are a few thousand, who for several years, have adhered to practicing Judaism because they see themselves as Jews. The roots of the claims are fascinating. Back in the 1950’s, one of the tribal leaders claimed he … Read more

Capturing the heart

In world saturated with digital images that enables anyone with even a smart phone to compete in the world of photography, it’s no mean feat to be one of the best: And that is exactly what Noam Chen is.  Whether it be capturing magnificent urban landscapes, rarely-seen  desert animals, intriguing portraits, or an ingenious plethora … Read more

Melting of Ben & Jerry’s

When the ice cream company Ben and Jerry’s made a racist decision and informed their customers that they will be boycotting Judea and Samaria, to satiate the sweet tooth, Israelis filled their trolleys with Haagen Dazs. The messy Ben and Jerry scoop brought an astonishing act of kindness into the light and a link between … Read more

Dog Whisperer of Judea

Whether we like it or not, Israel has a habit of changing us. It is a place where “the dreams we really have do come true,” and it’s a place where we never would have dreamed we would be doing the things we do. There is probably no better example than Leora Hyman. A former … Read more

Walking the talk

Israeli tour guides have a reputation for being self-confident, knowledgeable people with unlimited energy who are bent on promoting the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. David HaIvri is no exception.  Born in the United States, the bilingual David made Aliya with his parents as an 11-year old. The move across the Atlantic was … Read more

Against the tide

It’s a long and hard road for any Olympic athlete, yet arguably for those taking part in the Paralympic Games, the road is harder and longer.  But this daunting task did not deter the 33 athletes of the Israeli delegation from making the long trip to Tokyo and competing in 11 sports. Most memorable of … Read more