Letters from Israel : The Half-Full Glass   

"A recent survey found more than 80 percent of Israelis happy with their lives, despite all hardships.   The economy is in trouble, but the country remains a dynamic place culturally, technologically, commercially, even politically.

"Hope is part of the Israeli character.   It's the title of the national anthem, "Hatikva," which means "the hope."   Without hope, it could be impossible to make it here."
(Reference   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50921-2003Oct19.html)

(The National Anthem, "Hatikva," is now playing)

Pnina Evental

Chatliner, Pnina Evental, of Soroptimist International Givatayim Club, is a gifted artist and photographer.

1973 - 1977 : Avni Institute of Art.
1981 : Workshop in Artistic Printing Techniques at Tel Aviv Museum.
1983 : Study of "Art in the Age of Technology" Open University.
1994 - 1995: Study of Photography at the Tali Cohen-Garbatz Studio

1978: Exclusive Exhibition at the New Gallery in Tel Aviv.
1983,1986: Exclusive Exhibitions, Municipal Gallery in Givataiym.
1988: Exclusive Exhibition at the Thirteen and a Half Gallery in Jaffa.
1994: Exclusive Exhibition at the Bocaccio Gallery in Tel Aviv.
1990 - 1997:Several Group Exhibitions at the Artist's Association, the Akad publishing house Gallery and the Jerusalem Theater.

1990 Book of Israeli Artists
1991 "Psiface" Journal of Art and Poetry
1992 "Medicin" the Journal of the Israeli Doctors Association
1994, 1996 IJAM (International Journal of Arts and Medicine) USA


  • At the Institute for Rehabilitation of Heart Patients at "Tel Hashomer" Hospital
  • At the Nesher factory in Ramle
  • At the Southern Clinic in Givatayim
  • Ethiopian Exhibition on Permanent display at College of Management in Rishon-le Zion

  • Pnina's Photographic Exhibition "To Dream and Fulfil - Between Here and There (Roots in two different Landscapes)" deals with the Ethiopian Jewry.   A Mobile exhibition, sponsored by Soroptimist International of Israel, took place during a period of 2 years around the country, including the JERUSALEM Theatre. Exhibits were held in cities and towns where Soroptimist Clubs are located, with active participation of the Ethiopian community members.
  • The project was chosen among 28 others(selected from 60) to participate in a brochure that is published by The Bremen Threshold Foundation in Germany for: Exemplary commitment, for Justice, Peace, Human Rights and Integrity of Creation.
  • PROJECT - "Mirkam" at the Center for Educational Technology( CET)
    This Ethiopian Project is in its 5th year a " traveling" educational exhibition in schools of the CENTER OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY (CET) and integrated into the School Curriculum.   Educational materials for Israeli Teachers about the Ethiopian community is available on the Internet site of the ISRAELI MINISTRY OF EDUCATION at http://www.noar.education.gov.il


    - participation together with Dr. Hendré Falkson in a book about "Peace Projects"

    Book Cover



    Exhibition Invitation
    Pnina's photograph "The Band" was used as Exhibition Logo and for the Invitation to a Group Exhibition and Gathering of Choruses in honor of the national woman composer Naomi Shemer.

    Naomi Shemer (1931-2004), embodied the Israel dream of peace as perhaps no other composer and lyricist had done. Her greatest international hit, "Jerusalem The Gold," first performed in the tumultuous Summer of 1967, was, for many, the natural outcome of a string of songs that celebrated the return of the Jews to their historical homeland and language after 1,900 years of exile.

    Photo.net Display

    A large number of Pnina's photos are on display on the Photo.net website. To look at Pnina's different folders with photographs click on the links given below (pages will open in a new window)
  • Impression Mali - Story of a Voyage
  • Follow the Light - Homage Johannes Vermeer
  • Impression - Vienna Etc many recent series of photos.
  • Single Mixed Photos
  • Windows - In and Out of Contemplation
  • The Cycle of Life - Photos of Paintings
  • First Newborn 4 stages
  • Art and People - People's Art

  • Tel-Aviv sea shore, viewed from Jaffa - Photo by Pnina Evental
    Tel-Aviv shoreline, viewed from Jaffa     Photo by Pnina Evental

    Pnina has written some sketches of life in Israel, looking at "the half-full glass".   Pnina's photographs of cultural life in Israel illustrate her letter below:

    Harp - Photo by Pnina Evental

    July 2003    Pnina writes: "Let me share with you an outstanding event that took place in Tel Aviv.

    "Usually in summertime, the Municipality of Tel-Aviv with the co-operation of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, present an Open Concert in the Park, free of charge, to let people who love music, and are not always able to afford the prices, enjoy performances.

    "Yesterday evening it was The Israeli Opera performing NABUKO By Josefe Verdi.   It is known as his "Jewish" work of art as it is the story about the the first temple and the Exile from Babilon (I think 586 BC).

    "About 100,000 people from all over came to the park to hear it.   It was unbelievable to look around, one could see an ocean of heads, people sitting and listening.   The sound system was perfect and a lovely waft gently caressed the attentive audience.   On arriving at the park candles were given to the people, and when the choir started to sing the well-known Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves all the candles were lit and moving and the huge audience sang with the choir.   It was breath-taking.

    "It was an exciting evening that makes it possible to cope with the problems around. "

    Photos of Cultural Activities - Shown below are:

  • Painter's League
  • Painter's Group
  • Painter's League - Photo by Pnina Evental Painter's Group...Photo by Pnina Evental



    Every year our Givatayim Club's energetic President, Hanna Rodity, invites our club members for an evening reunion in her garden. :  Hanna's daughter, Nirit is Deputy Manager, and in charge of all educational activities of the Biblical Landscape Reserve. : It is called in Hebrew : NEOT KEDUMIM (freely translated : the Ancient Oasis or Valley). Nirit took part this year in our reunion and it became a very unique Soroptimist evening.

    Let me describe to you that site of Neot Kedumim first:

    The Biblical Landscape Reserve is located half-way between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. :  It is a unique experiment of re-creating the physical setting of the Bible in all its depth and detail. :  It includes natural and agricultural parts taken from the sources of the song of songs, Isaiah Vineyard, and many many more.

    It is far more than a garden showing various biblical plants, Neot Kedumim is a landscape of broad dimensions of the biblical values, and is providing the visitor and the pupil with a rich vocabulary for expressing it. :  It is done in a variety of disciplines, such as bible scholarship, botany, zoology, geography, history and archaeology.

    By re-uniting text and context Neot Kedumim opens up before the visitor the symbols, prayers, and holidays of the Jewish and Christian heritage preserved for thousands of years. :  It is the world's only biblical landscape reserve!!
    ( Details depicting the site were taken from Neot Kedumim publications)

    Nirit started her part of the evening with an analogy of the Soroptimist colors, the blue and yellow, with beautiful metaphors, especially of the yellow that she associated in a rich vocabulary to the sky and light. :  The next thing she did was showing us how they connect it to ancient reality. :  She brought with her: clay, cotton and oil.   We were asked to create a small candlestick that will hold the cord of cotton in it and the oil around it.

    Givatayim Soroptimists were very creative, and when it was finished, electricity was shut down and all cotton candles were lit together, illuminating us with a soft yellow light. :  It was a magic Soroptimist summer night, and I felt that I want to share it with you.

    Pnina Evental
    SI Givatayim Club

    Bush Landscape near Beer-Sheva, a city in the South of Israel

    Landscape near Beer Sheva - photo by Pnina Evental
                                                                                                             Photograph by Pnina Evental

    Comment by Hendré Falkson MBChB MD

    Israel is a small country situated in a part of the world where its democracy, freedom and rights make it unique.  Few countries in history, faced with comparable threats to their civilian population, have tried harder to comply with the rule of law.   Israel is a tiny nation, with few resources and little natural wealth that has had to devote an enormous percentage of its gross national product to defending itself. Yet it has not only created a good life for its Jewish citizens, but also helped its Arab citizens live better lives.

    Israel's healthcare system compares favourably with the best medical practice in the world, to the benefit of all its citizens.   Israel has national health insurance, which guarantees healthcare to all.   Access to such care has helped to raise the life expectancy of Israeli Arabs to well above that of their Arab neighbours.

    Israel has become a world leader in biotechnology, with Israeli companies leading the way in elements of cancer and autoimmune disease research.   With close ties to Israel's flourishing research universities and educational system, as well as support from the government, Israeli biotech has become industry leading, providing advances in research on Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis. Now, tragically, it has become the world leader in the medical treatment of injuries caused by terrorism.   Aside from medicine, Israeli research on many subjects - ranging from computer technology to archeology - is among the most respected in the world.

    It is often ignored, that Israel has become through hard work, ingenuity and, most of all, dedication to freedom and the rule of law, a diverse democracy with a critical media, a creative artistic culture and a commitment to equality based on gender, sexual orientation and race.

    My commentary is based on extensive reading plus discussions with visitors to Israel and especially with different Israeli doctors, several of whom spent a couple of years working in our Medical Oncology Department, University of Pretoria's Academic Hospital.   I therefore appreciate receiving first-hand pictures of Israel's cultural, scientific and humanitarian activities from a fellow Soroptimist.

    Hendré Falkson.MBChB MD

    The next episode illustrates how women in Israel are free to take part in a demonstration, striving to improve their socio-economic plight:

    July 2003    Pnina writes:

    I would like to write about an event that is taking place right now, and is very unique.   It concerns WOMEN - SINGLE MOTHERS in ISRAEL.

    I don't know if you are familiar with the Israeli state of economy, that has deteriorated because of 3 years of what is called "Intifada" (terror of suicide bombers), that cut tourism and outside investments, raised the unemployment rate and many other expenses.

    To correct the situation our government cuts sharply its expenditure which affects all of us.   Israel has a very developed welfare system, that subsidizes the unprivileged like single mothers, very poor people, etc.   The budget cuts are a real problem for many single mothers, but a necessity for the future.

    Ethiopian mother & Child  by Pnina Evental One morning about 10 days ago, a single mother decided that it is impossible to live with the cutting of so needed money.   She lives in the South of Israel, her name is VIKI CNAFO.   She took a bottle of water (as it is very hot in the South), the Israeli flag, and started to WALK to Jerusalem (about 90-100 KM), as a means to demonstrate her plight.

    There is a proverb in Hebrew, freely translated "There are people who are buying their world in an hour", and that is what happened:

    On her way many citizens from the settlement went to help her with food and shelter, all the media are interviewing her and many single mothers from all over joined her.   She is now in Jerusalem, has met with the Minister of Finance (Benjamin Netanyahu) and many Israeli's are coming to Jerusalem to support her struggle!

    She is not an educated person but has a very nice personality that also helps the solidarity she is getting from all over.

    I think she is a person to admire, many women's organizations are behind her, and I hope she will be successful in getting help for those who really, really are in need.

    Our Soroptimist Clubs in Jerusalem are our delegates to the Single Mothers Event.   Today I have heard in the news that Single Mothers from the Israeli Arab population are joining the Jewish Single Mothers.   It is not an easy event, but I was glad they were able to join in the fight to better their situation.

    One Picture from Israel.

    Cyber Greetings from Pnina.

    Diverse Humanitarian Deeds and Compassionate Individuals:

    Pnina writes:


    There are human beings that "Buy their world in one hour".   There are others, very rare human beings, that are "Buying their world" every hour, every day, and all their life.

    That phenomenon is called Rabbi Firer.

    Diseases, and many serious medical problems, are not making any distinctions between rich and poor people, educated or not, young and old, all of us human being are subject to meet these problems along our life.

    The plight, when it happens, always becomes the center of our life, and all our energies are turned to an effort to solve it.   Many times medical problems are so complicated, that special care, medical specialists, second opinions, money, and instant help is required.   To solve many of that kind of problems, Rabbi Firer is the GODSEND!

    Rabbi Firer....Press Photograph
                                                                                                   Press Photograph.

    Encircled by his realm, "HELP for HEALTH", he is working day an night, literally, to help people solve their medical plights.

    His realm is functioning with the help of donations, so all his help is given free of charge.   He will arrange, in a time of urgent need to save human life, a "flying ambulance" with a medical team to everywhere in the world, where there is a chance to save a patient's life.   He has created as well an " army" of ambulances, so aid will come fast and efficiently.

    What else is he doing?   Is he a doctor?   No he isn't.   The knowledge he has accumulated, in year after year of studying as an autodidact, developing a net of medical specialists world wide, who are his admirers, and coming to give advice and second medical opinions free of charge, is more than any university credit.

    The man is well known in Israel and outside, he was honored by the "Israeli States Award", the highest in the country.  Many, but many families are owing him their life and thanks.

    How can that man, Rabbi Firer, be defined?

    I think that a gift to humanity, and "GODSEND" will be appropriate.

    Pnina Evental
    SI Givatayim Club

    Combining Compassion and Medical Expertise:

    Pnina writes:

    RE: "SACH"

    You will probably ask:   What is the meaning of that word ?
    Well, it is the initials of SAVE A CHILD'S HEART.

    SACH is an Israeli-based International Humanitarian Project, that was founded by an Israeli cardiac surgeon, Dr Amram Cohen.

    The project is providing life-saving heart surgery, and follow-up care for children from developing countries, who are suffering from Congenital Heart Disease.

    All the participants in that team, cardiac surgeons, pediatricians, nurses and others are VOLUNTEERS.   It is an NGO organization, which is based on donations.

    The team is located in a hospital near Tel-Aviv, and have been active from 1966.   Since that year they have taken care of 4000 children.

    Where do the children come from?   Well, here are some figures: 53% are from Africa, 33% are Palestinian Authority children, and the rest from the former USSR, China, and the Far East.

    The number of surgeries performed by SACH hitherto is more than 900!!

    SACH has 5 offices overseas, and main medical partnerships in China, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Palestinian Authority, Russia and Zanzibar.   All the countries mentioned have local teams trained by the SACH group to continue treatments for the children later on.

    I must add that Israel is fighting for its survival from the time of modern History, and because of that knows and understands what suffering means.   With its survival fighting, the country knows to extend a hand to others that are fighting for their survival as well.

    Here is a story of one case that was treated by that team.   It is a baby girl who arrived when she was 6 months old, and received two successful open heart operations to correct very bad defects in her heart.   She was hospitalized for 3 months, and left for home not long ago in a perfect condition.

    The mother's written reaction, as I was told: "It would never occur to me that my worst enemy will be the first and the only one who offered and saved my child."

    You have probably understood by now that the baby was a Palestinian baby............

    It is a moving story that I wanted to share with you.

    Love Pnina

    Another scene from Tel-Aviv photographed by Pnina
    Exercise and......Photo by Pnina Evental
    Health Exercise and....................the woman and her dog

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