“. . . then the L‑rd your G‑d will bring back your exiles, and He will have mercy upon you. He will once again gather you from all the nations where the L‑rd your G‑d had dispersed you. Even if your exiles are at the end of the heavens, the L‑rd your G‑d will gather you from there, and He will take you from there. And the L‑rd your G‑d will bring you to the land which your forefathers possessed, and you [too] will take possession of it, and He will do good to you . . .” (Deuteronomy 30:3–5)

On the last day of his life, as the people were about to enter the Land of Israel, Moses gathered them all together to form a covenant with them. He explained that in the future the Jews would break their covenant and G‑d would send them into exile, but ultimately He would bring them back to their own land. Our sages tell us that all Jewish souls, past, present and future, were gathered together at that time to hear this promise.

We are witnessing this return with our own eyes and experiencing the miracle of living in this Promised Land. Even in our small rural community, Jews from around the world have come back to the land of their ancestors. It is said that King David wrote psalms in this very place in the Judean hills near Jerusalem. Inspired by the radiance of the land, I have painted the hills surrounding our moshav. Focusing on the light, shadow, color and movement, I tried to capture the spiritual energy of the land.

This is actually a photograph printed on canvas and then enhanced with oil pigment and glazes. It is part of a series which was motivated by daily walks, over many months, in the surrounding hills and forests. While the seasons, the colors and the shapes changed, I took hundreds of photographs of the landscape. One favorite mountain, Har Carmilla, I painted over and over again. The play between the photographic reality and the abstract paint allows the landscape to look alive and ever-changing, full of the extraordinary light which shines here.