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Homeroom Class
The Complete Jessy Cohen Museum – The Weizmann School
Opening Date
13/01/2018
Closing Date
14/04/2018
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Assistant Curator
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Artists
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Graphics Designer
Production
Additional Information

Opening Hours during April 

On Saturday 31.3, the exhibitions will be closed. Opening hours for the rest of the holiday (1-7.4):

Tuesday 4 - 8 pm
Wednesday 2 am - 6 pm
Thursday - closed
Saturday 11 am - 3 pm

Art Works
Events
Related Items

The Complete Jessy Cohen Museum was established in 2016 by artists Effi & Amir together with Igal Ophir, Yaakov Erlich, Haviva Barkol, Pnina Barkol, Dvora Harel, Malka Cohen, Ruti Mizrahi, Tikva Sedes, Rachel Polet, Mimi Rosenberg, Ada Rahamim, alongside many more Jessy Cohen neighborhood residents.

The Museum was established with the aim of serving as a neighborhood museum that tells the story of the Jessy Cohen neighborhood from the perspective of its residents, who function as its curatorial team. In the Museum’s second year the curatorial team decided to engage with the history of Weizmann Elementary School which was closed down in 2012, and today houses the Israeli Center for Digital Art and the Complete Jessy Cohen Museum.

Weizmann School was established in 1958 and served as the neighborhood’s elementary school. As such, it maintained a close and inseparable relationship with the neighborhood residents, since for many years it was the central institution in the lives of numerous families, and generations of neighborhood residents attended it. Like many other schools, Weizmann School replicated the social structure in which it operated, and to a great extent reflected the unique history of the Jessy Cohen neighborhood. It was the first official institution encountered by many of the neighborhood children, and thus also served as the primary representative of municipal and state institutions in the lives of many new immigrants who had just arrived in Israel. The school and the neighborhood were their first stop in an aggressive and complex socialization process, whose effects are still evident to this day.

In the first stage the curatorial team issued a Call for Proposals to artists, detailing the requirements formulated by the neighborhood residents. Among other things, it stated:

 “In the coming year the Museum will engage with one of the central institutions in the Jessy Cohen neighborhood – Weizmann Elementary School – which operated in the neighborhood for almost sixty years until it was closed down in 2012. Today the building serves as the Israeli Center for Digital Art, which also houses the Complete Jessy Cohen Museum…

“You are invited to submit proposals for a project in collaboration with the residents that will entail spending time at the site and conducting a dialogue with the Museum staff, which will conclude with a presentation (an exhibition or other).

“Possible, but not binding, directions: The school’s specific history; the school as a site, as an environment; social and educational aspects; the role of a school in a community and neighborhood; questions concerning the education system, its role, and its place in contemporary society.”

Some ten artists responded to the Call for Proposals, three of whom were invited to interviews with the curatorial team. At the conclusion of the screening process, artist Gal Leshem was chosen to implement the annual project.

The decision-making process at the Complete Jessy Cohen Museum is a collaborative one that creates joint ownership of the Museum and its various projects by artists and non-artists. A group of residents assembled around the Weizmann School Project as well: former students at the school who together serve as an artistic-production team. To form the group, a school reunion event was held to which students who had attended it over all the years of its activity were invited. From this event a group of former students came together and worked in collaboration with Gal Leshem: Pinny Karon, Shlomo Zolty, Rachel Silvia, Ruth Zifrut, Pnina Ridler, Ilana Partush, Lea Aspis, Sima (Sisi) Partush, Ronit Partush, and Ze’ev Schwartz

In the first stage the group met and reminisced about their time at the school. In these conversations the central topics in which the project engages began to emerge. In the next stage the group formulated questions that were put to various generations of former teachers and students at the school in a series of video interviews that were held in one of the classrooms at the school. Some of the interviews were held individually while others were conducted in the form of small class reunions. The group met every few weeks to go over the interviews and analyze the various topics that were raised in them.

At the same time, a process of spatially mapping the school grounds took place, which was based on the students’ and teachers’ memories and on the various stages in the site’s physical development. Additionally, photographs were collected from former teachers and students which created a visual archive of the school over the years of its activity. The photographs engage primarily with school life: field trips, ceremonies, festivals, exhibitions, and so forth. A collection of class photographs was located in the possession of former school principal Shlomo Cohen, who was in fact the sole source for preservation of official photographs of this kind. Also discovered were photographs commissioned by the school and taken by a professional photographer, whose identity the Museum staff were unable to determine. These photographs were found in the possession of various former students and included series of photographs of students sitting at desks in their classrooms, as well as class photographs depicting students sitting and standing in rows with their teacher and the principal.

These processes were adapted by Leshem and the group of graduates into an exhibition that is currently showing at the Museum. The video interviews were processed into a series of audio pathes, and visitors to the exhibition can follow them around the school grounds and listen to students’ and teachers’ stories/testimonies about specific places and events associated with different periods in the school’s history.

The recordings and pathes are divided into three topics: Placement Exam (the the schooling path), Weizmann Gourmet Salad (the cultural path), and The School as a Home (the interpersonal path).

The mapping process led to the creation of a map made from textile describing the layers of spatial memory of the Weizmann School grounds, and which locates the various buildings that existed in the grounds over the years on a single shared surface. The process of creating the map included wandering around the grounds and comparing the students’ memories with historical architectural plans and the buildings currently on the grounds. Each of the participants’ personal spatial mapping was based on their personal memories, and consequently the final map constitutes a kind of joint mental map of the group members. Also presented in the exhibition is a map incorporating the school’s architectural plans over the years. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to add various markings referencing their memories of the school, and thus create a new map of remembering.

The project is presented in the school building itself, and thus it was decided to use the entire grounds as the exhibition space. By “taking over” the physical grounds, the exhibition has taken the form of an audio and visual archive. The photographs and recordings are scattered throughout the entire grounds, thus enabling visitors to wander around them as though they are visiting the school’s various buildings down the years.

The archive of photographs collected during the project is presented in various ways throughout the grounds, in relation to and in the context of the historical marking and the different uses made of the spaces over the years.

The neighborhood school in Jessy Cohen can serve as a case study for in-depth processes undergone by Israeli society over the years, and while working on the project familiar questions associated with the ethno-class structure of the education system in Israel repeatedly emerged. One of the central questions addressed by the Museum staff was that of the role of a school in the community in which it operates – and more specifically, in an immigrant community. This role underwent various transformations in accordance with changing social and economic perceptions in Israel. One of the roles of any school is to prepare its students for life in the society in which it operates, but the precise way in which schools filled this role also varied in accordance with the ethnic origin and social class of the students and their families. Students with a high socioeconomic status and from a Western/Ashkenazi background generally attended schools that viewed their schooling as a central element in making them educated and well-informed citizens. In contrast, students from a Mizrahi background and with a low socioeconomic status were usually tracked to vocational education, which down the years operated under the Ministry of Economy, not the Ministry of Education, and its objective was to create an Israeli proletariat and preserve the ethno-economic class division in the country. This is also evident in Weizmann School, and emerged in the conversations and interviews held with former students while working on the project.

Another subject that clearly emerged is the use of school practices, such as field trips, ceremonies, and festivals, as part of the process of socializing immigrant students and integrating them into Israeli society. Many students recall these processes with mixed feelings, as positive experiences that are also bound up in processes that led to the erasure of their cultural identity. The balance of power between Ashkenazim and Mizrahim, especially in the relationship between teachers and students, emerged very acutely in this context.

Emerging alongside the above was the school’s significant role as an important framework that for many students served as a substitute for home. There are teachers and principals who are still remembered as key figures in the life of the students and the neighborhood. Names of principals and teachers recurred in many conversations and painted a picture of the school as a warm home where students received support and love, which in some cases they lacked at home. This feeling is also clearly evident in an issue of the neighborhood residents’ newspaper published in 2015 that focused on Weizmann School, and which we are republishing as part of the project alongside new articles by Dalia Markovich and Effi & Amir.

Another issue that occupied the curatorial team – as well as many of the neighborhood residents – was the school’s closure in 2012. For many of them this was a symbolic act that reinforced the neighborhood residents’ feelings of discrimination by municipal and institutional bodies. At the same time, however, there is also an understanding that the school suffered from prolonged deterioration which was manifested in low enrolment and the choice of many parents to send their children to schools outside the neighborhood. Today, Yahad State Elementary School is operating in the neighborhood and is undergoing a process of change and growth to once again become the educational institution the Jessy Cohen neighborhood deserves.

Sitting in the former Weizmann School building and relocating to it just one day after it was closed down posed complex challenges for us, the staff of the Israeli Center for Digital Art, as well; from the very use of an educational institution building for artistic endeavor without it being adapted to this purpose, to our identification as benefiting from the school’s closure (the Center’s previous home was also a former school building that served Geulim School in the Neve Arazim neighborhood, also called “Blockonim”). The connection between education and art touches on the heart of the Center’s artistic perceptions, and we hope we are successful in serving as an important and meaningful community and civic center for the community in Jessy Cohen, and constitute a worthy substitute for Weizmann School for the neighborhood residents and other audiences alike.

Eyal Danon

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 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

Homeroom Class
The Complete Jessy Cohen Museum – The Weizmann School

Opening Hours during April 

On Saturday 31.3, the exhibitions will be closed. Opening hours for the rest of the holiday (1-7.4):

Tuesday 4 - 8 pm
Wednesday 2 am - 6 pm
Thursday - closed
Saturday 11 am - 3 pm

The Complete Jessy Cohen Museum was established in 2016 by artists Effi & Amir together with Igal Ophir, Yaakov Erlich, Haviva Barkol, Pnina Barkol, Dvora Harel, Malka Cohen, Ruti Mizrahi, Tikva Sedes, Rachel Polet, Mimi Rosenberg, Ada Rahamim, alongside many more Jessy Cohen neighborhood residents.

The Museum was established with the aim of serving as a neighborhood museum that tells the story of the Jessy Cohen neighborhood from the perspective of its residents, who function as its curatorial team. In the Museum’s second year the curatorial team decided to engage with the history of Weizmann Elementary School which was closed down in 2012, and today houses the Israeli Center for Digital Art and the Complete Jessy Cohen Museum.

Weizmann School was established in 1958 and served as the neighborhood’s elementary school. As such, it maintained a close and inseparable relationship with the neighborhood residents, since for many years it was the central institution in the lives of numerous families, and generations of neighborhood residents attended it. Like many other schools, Weizmann School replicated the social structure in which it operated, and to a great extent reflected the unique history of the Jessy Cohen neighborhood. It was the first official institution encountered by many of the neighborhood children, and thus also served as the primary representative of municipal and state institutions in the lives of many new immigrants who had just arrived in Israel. The school and the neighborhood were their first stop in an aggressive and complex socialization process, whose effects are still evident to this day.

In the first stage the curatorial team issued a Call for Proposals to artists, detailing the requirements formulated by the neighborhood residents. Among other things, it stated:

 “In the coming year the Museum will engage with one of the central institutions in the Jessy Cohen neighborhood – Weizmann Elementary School – which operated in the neighborhood for almost sixty years until it was closed down in 2012. Today the building serves as the Israeli Center for Digital Art, which also houses the Complete Jessy Cohen Museum…

“You are invited to submit proposals for a project in collaboration with the residents that will entail spending time at the site and conducting a dialogue with the Museum staff, which will conclude with a presentation (an exhibition or other).

“Possible, but not binding, directions: The school’s specific history; the school as a site, as an environment; social and educational aspects; the role of a school in a community and neighborhood; questions concerning the education system, its role, and its place in contemporary society.”

Some ten artists responded to the Call for Proposals, three of whom were invited to interviews with the curatorial team. At the conclusion of the screening process, artist Gal Leshem was chosen to implement the annual project.

The decision-making process at the Complete Jessy Cohen Museum is a collaborative one that creates joint ownership of the Museum and its various projects by artists and non-artists. A group of residents assembled around the Weizmann School Project as well: former students at the school who together serve as an artistic-production team. To form the group, a school reunion event was held to which students who had attended it over all the years of its activity were invited. From this event a group of former students came together and worked in collaboration with Gal Leshem: Pinny Karon, Shlomo Zolty, Rachel Silvia, Ruth Zifrut, Pnina Ridler, Ilana Partush, Lea Aspis, Sima (Sisi) Partush, Ronit Partush, and Ze’ev Schwartz

In the first stage the group met and reminisced about their time at the school. In these conversations the central topics in which the project engages began to emerge. In the next stage the group formulated questions that were put to various generations of former teachers and students at the school in a series of video interviews that were held in one of the classrooms at the school. Some of the interviews were held individually while others were conducted in the form of small class reunions. The group met every few weeks to go over the interviews and analyze the various topics that were raised in them.

At the same time, a process of spatially mapping the school grounds took place, which was based on the students’ and teachers’ memories and on the various stages in the site’s physical development. Additionally, photographs were collected from former teachers and students which created a visual archive of the school over the years of its activity. The photographs engage primarily with school life: field trips, ceremonies, festivals, exhibitions, and so forth. A collection of class photographs was located in the possession of former school principal Shlomo Cohen, who was in fact the sole source for preservation of official photographs of this kind. Also discovered were photographs commissioned by the school and taken by a professional photographer, whose identity the Museum staff were unable to determine. These photographs were found in the possession of various former students and included series of photographs of students sitting at desks in their classrooms, as well as class photographs depicting students sitting and standing in rows with their teacher and the principal.

These processes were adapted by Leshem and the group of graduates into an exhibition that is currently showing at the Museum. The video interviews were processed into a series of audio pathes, and visitors to the exhibition can follow them around the school grounds and listen to students’ and teachers’ stories/testimonies about specific places and events associated with different periods in the school’s history.

The recordings and pathes are divided into three topics: Placement Exam (the the schooling path), Weizmann Gourmet Salad (the cultural path), and The School as a Home (the interpersonal path).

The mapping process led to the creation of a map made from textile describing the layers of spatial memory of the Weizmann School grounds, and which locates the various buildings that existed in the grounds over the years on a single shared surface. The process of creating the map included wandering around the grounds and comparing the students’ memories with historical architectural plans and the buildings currently on the grounds. Each of the participants’ personal spatial mapping was based on their personal memories, and consequently the final map constitutes a kind of joint mental map of the group members. Also presented in the exhibition is a map incorporating the school’s architectural plans over the years. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to add various markings referencing their memories of the school, and thus create a new map of remembering.

The project is presented in the school building itself, and thus it was decided to use the entire grounds as the exhibition space. By “taking over” the physical grounds, the exhibition has taken the form of an audio and visual archive. The photographs and recordings are scattered throughout the entire grounds, thus enabling visitors to wander around them as though they are visiting the school’s various buildings down the years.

The archive of photographs collected during the project is presented in various ways throughout the grounds, in relation to and in the context of the historical marking and the different uses made of the spaces over the years.

The neighborhood school in Jessy Cohen can serve as a case study for in-depth processes undergone by Israeli society over the years, and while working on the project familiar questions associated with the ethno-class structure of the education system in Israel repeatedly emerged. One of the central questions addressed by the Museum staff was that of the role of a school in the community in which it operates – and more specifically, in an immigrant community. This role underwent various transformations in accordance with changing social and economic perceptions in Israel. One of the roles of any school is to prepare its students for life in the society in which it operates, but the precise way in which schools filled this role also varied in accordance with the ethnic origin and social class of the students and their families. Students with a high socioeconomic status and from a Western/Ashkenazi background generally attended schools that viewed their schooling as a central element in making them educated and well-informed citizens. In contrast, students from a Mizrahi background and with a low socioeconomic status were usually tracked to vocational education, which down the years operated under the Ministry of Economy, not the Ministry of Education, and its objective was to create an Israeli proletariat and preserve the ethno-economic class division in the country. This is also evident in Weizmann School, and emerged in the conversations and interviews held with former students while working on the project.

Another subject that clearly emerged is the use of school practices, such as field trips, ceremonies, and festivals, as part of the process of socializing immigrant students and integrating them into Israeli society. Many students recall these processes with mixed feelings, as positive experiences that are also bound up in processes that led to the erasure of their cultural identity. The balance of power between Ashkenazim and Mizrahim, especially in the relationship between teachers and students, emerged very acutely in this context.

Emerging alongside the above was the school’s significant role as an important framework that for many students served as a substitute for home. There are teachers and principals who are still remembered as key figures in the life of the students and the neighborhood. Names of principals and teachers recurred in many conversations and painted a picture of the school as a warm home where students received support and love, which in some cases they lacked at home. This feeling is also clearly evident in an issue of the neighborhood residents’ newspaper published in 2015 that focused on Weizmann School, and which we are republishing as part of the project alongside new articles by Dalia Markovich and Effi & Amir.

Another issue that occupied the curatorial team – as well as many of the neighborhood residents – was the school’s closure in 2012. For many of them this was a symbolic act that reinforced the neighborhood residents’ feelings of discrimination by municipal and institutional bodies. At the same time, however, there is also an understanding that the school suffered from prolonged deterioration which was manifested in low enrolment and the choice of many parents to send their children to schools outside the neighborhood. Today, Yahad State Elementary School is operating in the neighborhood and is undergoing a process of change and growth to once again become the educational institution the Jessy Cohen neighborhood deserves.

Sitting in the former Weizmann School building and relocating to it just one day after it was closed down posed complex challenges for us, the staff of the Israeli Center for Digital Art, as well; from the very use of an educational institution building for artistic endeavor without it being adapted to this purpose, to our identification as benefiting from the school’s closure (the Center’s previous home was also a former school building that served Geulim School in the Neve Arazim neighborhood, also called “Blockonim”). The connection between education and art touches on the heart of the Center’s artistic perceptions, and we hope we are successful in serving as an important and meaningful community and civic center for the community in Jessy Cohen, and constitute a worthy substitute for Weizmann School for the neighborhood residents and other audiences alike.

Eyal Danon

 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

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