Gil Cohen-Magen: Inside the Courts of the Hassidim
Gil Cohen-Magen spent a decade getting to know the closed world of Israel’s ultra-orthodox, persuading community elders to let him record their daily lives, family ceremonies and religious rituals in a project that changed his own perceptions. Cohen Magen came to Jewish Book Week 2013 to open a lens on a little known world.
Cohen-Magen was working as a photojournalist for the international Reuters news agency, recording some of the most violent scenes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, when he was asked to take pictures of everyday life among the Hassidim.
He was given exclusive access to observe and photograph their religious and cultural rites, ceremonies that have never been photographed or shown to the outside world before. His book Hassidic Courts shows special occasions and ordinary chores as well as religious ceremonies among communities with strict Jewish observance from Mea Shearim in Jerusalem to Bnei Brak.
Gil Cohen-Magen has exhibited his photographs in Europe, the US and in Israel. Born in 1971, he lives in Modiin, Israel.