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Ofir Berman

Photographer
   
Children of Mea Shearim
Location: Israel
Nationality: Israeli
Biography: Ofir Berman is an Israeli documentary photographer whose work focuses on social and cultural issues and in particular society's youth and adolescence. Her work gives an intimate view of people living within the fringes of society. A... read on
Public Story
Children of Mea Shearim
Copyright ofir berman 2021
Updated 10/05/21
(2017-2018) 

The series “Children of Mea Shearim” captures the daily lives of children from the Mea Shearim neighborhood, an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood located in the heart of Jerusalem, Israel. The old neighborhood was built in 1874 and consists of various ultra-Orthodox sects that have chosen a life of seclusion and segregation, and most are even anti-Zionist. Their lives revolve around prayers, Jewish laws, traditions and Torah studies.

Walking in this neighborhood makes me forget that I'm in my hometown. An extraordinary life that evolves in the center of permissiveness and technological progress of the 21st century is revealed to me. The camera allows me to get closer, to observe and unite with this peculiar environment. Suddenly the deepest, darkest shades of Judaism are unveiled to me. Children are constantly running around the streets, with foreign gazes and the power of faith guarding them from above. As our eyes cross, curiosity and fear sparks. If I asked them "Who are you?" I'm pretty sure they would respond: "I am what I believe."

Documenting the young ultra-Orthodox generation in its natural environment feels like creating fiction. As I bring the repressed minority directly into the center of attention, the abnormal becomes normal.

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