‘In Praise of Trees’: Photo exhibit takes root at Jewish museum

    The Jewish holiday Tu B’Shevat, which will be celebrated Feb. 7 and 8, focuses on trees — a tradition perhaps more suited to the warmer climate of Israel than the cold Delaware Valley.

    The National Museum of American Jewish History at Independence Mall will honor trees indoors, with a show of large-format photographs of Israeli fruit trees.

     

    These aren’t just any pictures. Israeli photographer Tal Shochat keeps tabs on particularly lush and healthy fruit trees, and takes idealized pictures of them at their most vibrant. The carefully pruned and lit trees are shot against a black background.

    “I was very taken personally when I saw the exhibition last fall with how much they made me think about our connections to places,” said museum chief curator Josh Perelman, who saw the pictures at the Andrea Meislin Gallery in Manhattan.

    “Certainly Jews, as an immigrant community, and Americans shaped by immigration are always asking questions of homeland and our ties to particular places and communities,” Perelman said.

    The trees include apple, pear, grapefruit and date — all rooted and photographed in Israel.

    The exhibit, called “In Praise of a Dream,” will open Feb.1 on the ground level of the museum. It will remain until April 23 — the day after Earth Day.

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