The power of art and aliyah – Israel News – Google Alerts

Two artists living millennia apart both count on the power of “the experience” to move the human heart.

Tucked into the infinitely detailed instructions for building the Wilderness Tabernacle and all of its furnishings, the Bible introduces us to an artist who was tasked with the formidable challenge of creating God’s sanctuary on earth. The book of Exodus tells us that this man, Bezalel, was chosen by God and “filled with the spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts and artistic designs.”

His job was to create the atmosphere required for no less than “an encounter with God.”

Fast forward three and a half millennia. This time the artist is a young woman. She too has before her a formidable task: to capture and translate for a worldwide audience another divine encounter – aliyah.

Aliyah is the Hebrew word meaning “to ascend,” commonly used to describe the immigration of Jews from across the globe back to Israel, as foretold by many of the ancient Hebrew prophets.

“I was raised in a home where we were always active and involved with all sorts of humanitarian causes,” says 23-year-old Mikayla Goetz, who holds a BFA in acting from Coastal Carolina and is a founding member of Boots on the Ground Theater, or BOTG.

In the winter of 2018, Goetz jumped at the opportunity to place her “boots on the ground” for two months in the frozen, poverty-stricken and war-torn areas of Ukraine. With a backpack and a Go-Pro, Goetz conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with Jewish families and individuals who were trying to escape the harsh conditions of their homeland and seek a better life in Israel.

She embedded herself with the teams of Ezra International, a humanitarian aid organization working hand in hand with the Jewish Agency, which is dedicated to rescuing the poorest of the Jewish people from impoverished and politically volatile parts of the world and helping them immigrate to a place of…

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