Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Cyberangels of Peace Fly from Israel to Meri Open-Air Museum in Italy


Prominent Italian artist Lorenzo Chinnici and his son Francesco Chinnici created “Meri Timeless Immortal Art 2021,” an open-air museum in his hometown of Meri, Sicily. He invited sixty artists from countries throughout the world to participate in a collaborative art project to redefine the role of art in an urban context as a way of beautifying a city. I was invited to represent Israel.

Lorenzo Chinnici explains that the project involved the installation throughout the village of Merì of terracotta tiles on which are reproduced the paintings of sixty artists. There are no longer just simple name plaques on walls of streets and squares of the city, but sixty art works that transform it into an open-air museum. The open-air museum is intended to initiate urban regeneration through art as a model of cultural rebirth. Each participating artist is honored by having his or her artwork, name, and country linked to the name of a street or square.

MERI TIMELESS IMMORTAL ART

“Meri Timeless Immortal Art” is an artistic expression of international collaboration that puts Meri on the map. Merì is a charming small town with medieval roots on the north-eastern shores of Sicily. It is hardly where you would expect a worldwide artistic community participating in creating a pioneering open-air museum.   

To go on a tour through the town of Meri and see all sixty paintings on street signs, see MERÍ TIMELESS IMMORTAL ART 2021 - YouTube. My sign for Piazza XXXIV Maggio “Cyberangels of Peace Ascending from the Land of Israel” can be seen at 12.57 to 13.10 seconds into the video.

Below see a video pan from my sign to the piazza that it marks and back to my sign.

The Merì project aims to be more than an open air gallery. It hopes to create a model of cultural rebirth by changing how art is viewed within an urban context, art that is democratic, free and open for all, with no money involved and no commercial interest attached.

Countries represented are: Italy, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, China, Japan, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Ireland, France, Spain, Netherlands, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Poland, Ukraine, Croatia, Austria, Lithuania, Belgium, and Denmark, There are plans in the works to have the artworks of the same sixty artists adorn street signs in a city in China.

 CYBERANGELS FLY FROM JERUSALEM, ISRAEL TO MERI, SICILY

In response to Lorenzo Chinnici’s invitation to participate, I wrote that I am honored to represent Israel with my artwork CYBERANGELS OF PEACE ASCENDING FROM THE LAND OF ISRAEL among the artworks of many other countries in your MERI’ – TIMELESS ART project in your beautiful Town of Meri. 

I sent him this description of my artwork that he requested.

“CYBERANGELS OF PEACE ASCENDING FROM THE LAND OF ISRAEL is a serigraph in the collection of the Israel Museum that was created in Jerusalem by the Israeli artist Mel Alexenberg. It shows digitized Rembrandt-inspired angels ascending from a NASA satellite image of Israel. It illustrates the biblical commentary that the angels in Jacob’s dream go up from the Land of Israel and come down to earth throughout the world.”

“He had a vision in a dream. A ladder was standing on the ground, its top reaching up towards heaven as divine angels were going up and down on it.” (Genesis 28: 12)


“The Cyberangels of Peace carry a digital age message to each of the 70 biblical nations populated by the descendants of Noah that God “separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations” (Genesis 10: 5). They convey God’s message that the nations of the world are not meant to speak one language as in the disastrous Tower of Babel episode. Each nation has its unique and distinct voice to contribute to the grand planetary choir singing God’s praise.”

 ART IS A COMPUTER ANGEL

Lorenzo Chinnici told to me why my artwork was selected to mark the town square called “Piazza XXXIV Maggio” (Piazza twenty-four May). “The square takes its name from a date Important for us Italians, because on May 24, 1915 Italy entered the First World War, a difficult and dark era. We have chosen to place your angels there precisely for this reason, as a symbol of purity, freedom and protection, so that these dark periods never return. Your installation marking this square represents for us, a symbol of protection and blessing through your angels.”

I responded to him that the key to linking art and angels is found in the Bible. The term for “art” in the original Hebrew language of the Bible is found in the description of the master artist Bezalel creating the Tabernacle. The Hebrew for “art” is two words that translate as “thoughtful craft,” a feminine term. Since I’m a male artist, I transformed it into a masculine form. I was surprised discovering that in Hebrew, it reads as “computer angel." In the ancient language of the Bible coming alive in our digital age, “art” is a “computer angel!” So not only does my cyberangel from the Land of Israel come down to earth at Piazza XXXIV Maggio to symbolize freedom, but it announces that it is the mate of  art” itself.

On the cover of my latest book, Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media, you see my cyberangels ascending from a satellite image of Israel on a smartphone on their way to Meri. 


CYBERANGELS OF PEACE

Meri Open-Air Museum in Messina Province, Sicily, is an 1197 mile flight (1926 km) from Jerusalem, Israel; or 0 cybermiles via The Cloud 

Cyberangels of Peace are waiting on a virtual runway to fly from the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where the oldest manuscripts of the Bible are housed, to the Meri Open-Air Museum on May 24, 2022. They will join the cyberangels on the sign marking Piazza XXIV Maggio, the plaza in Meri commemorating Italy's entry into WWI on May 24, 1917. The two groups of angels will shout out in unison the words of the prophet Isaiah:

"They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift sword against nation, and never again will they learn war." (Isaiah 2: 4)

Friday, August 13, 2021

Cyberangels of Peace Follow Israel's Foreign Minister to Morocco

Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made his first visit to Morocco to meet with Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita to plan the opening of an Israel Embassy in Rabat and a Moroccan Embassy in Tel Aviv. As a first step, Lapid opened a liaison office in Rabat.

To honor the growing relationship between Israel and Morocco in the spirit of the Abraham Accords, I launched Rembrandt-inspired Cyberangels of Peace on virtual flights from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to the Mohammed VI Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat and to the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Art.  



During Lapid’s meeting with Bourita, he relayed an invitation from Israel’s President Isaac Herzog to Morocco’s King Muhammad VI.

“Allow me to express my sincere appreciation for Your Majesty’s decision to establish full diplomatic, peaceful and friendly relations between the Kingdom of Morocco and the State of Israel. We are committed to deepening the strength of our relations and hope that they further expand and flourish over time.”

Herzog expressed admiration for the king’s “ground-breaking contribution to Arab-Israeli reconciliation in many countries across the region.”

Bourita said that Lapid’s visit “reflects the commitment of our two countries to strengthening our bilateral relations and give them concrete impetus through the establishment of effective cooperation mechanisms.” He plans to be on the first direct Royal Morocco flight to Israel to dedicate the Moroccan Embassy there.

Mediterranean Rim Regional Opportunities

Yair Lapid proposed cooperation between countries surrounding the Mediterranean Rim extending to the Gulf. He said, “Think of it as a circle of Israel and Morocco and Egypt and Jordan and in some ways you can say Cyprus and Greece, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates. All of the countries that are religiously moderate with truly infinite economic potential.”

In response to Lapid’s visit to Morocco, Nimrod Goren penned an article in the Jerusalem Post “Israel should introduce a regional agenda for Israel-Morocco ties” in which he proposes ways for making Israel a key player in a Mediterranean Rim dynamic between the 21 nations bordering the Sea. He writes:

“Israel lies at the crossroad of the Middle East, Europe and the Mediterranean. These regions are strongly linked, and each provides Israel with options for integration and belonging”

As president of Mitvim – The Israel Institute for Regional Foreign Policy, Dr. Goren emphasizes the significance of adding a regional framing to bilateral ties that would contribute to upgrading Israel-Morocco relations and yield substantive benefits for both Israeli and Moroccan foreign policy.  

Conceptual Art Linking the 21 Med Rim Countries

As an experimental artist who has worked on a global canvas for decades, I am conceptualizing an artwork that radiates from Israel across Europe on the northern tier of the Med Rim from Spain and across North Africa on the southern tier to Morocco. It will include the 21 Mediterranean Rim countries from Spain, France, Monaco, Malta, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, to Morocco.

Cyberangels carrying messages of peace, friendship, and brotherhood will be launched from the Israel Museum through art museums in all the other 20 countries.

I had created a related artwork in 2008 that I called MERIWIP: MEditerranean RIm WIkiart Project that can be seen at Wikiartists. MERIWIP invited people living in the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea to be wikiartists by collaborating in creating a web-enabled peer-produced artwork by exchanging wedding photographs and flowers between nations. Participants sent photos of flowers grown in their country to a couple from another Med Rim country though the Wikiartists blog.

This artwork evolved from my 2004 exhibition “Cyberangels: Aesthetic Peace Plan for the Middle East” at the Jewish Museum in Prague. It proposes peace between Israel and the Arab countries based upon Islamic values expressed through counter-patterns in Moroccan kilim rugs. My exhibition displayed actual rugs woven with traditional Islamic patterns beside digital enlargements of their counter-patterns printed out on canvas. The exhibition presented an interplay between Arab Islamic art and the European Christian art of Rembrandt-inspired cyberangels mediated by an Israeli Jewish vison of aesthetic peace. See Aesthetic Peace.

Israelis of Moroccan Origins

FM Yair Lapid discussed how Israel and Morocco are reviving a centuries-old friendship between the Jewish people and the people of Morocco by establishing diplomatic relations.

Jews have a long history of living in Morocco. After the establishment of the State of Israel, most of Morocco’s Jewish population moved to Israel where they contribute to all walks of life. Today, about a million Israelis have family origins in Morocco.

In 1977, my wife Miriam and I moved from New York where I was professor at Columbia University to Yeroham, a town isolated in the Negev desert, where I founded a college. Most of its population had moved there from Morocco. When our new neighbors learned that we were Americans, they said to us in Hebrew, “Americayim Moroccayim, almost the same thing.”

Our family became one of the families with origins in Morocco. Our New York born daughter Iyrit is married to Dr. Yehiel Lasry who was born in Morocco. His family moved to Ashdod when he was six years old when it was a small town on the sea. He is now the mayor of Ashdod that has grown under his creative leadership into one of Israel’s largest cities and its major port. He studied medicine at Ben-Gurion University, was Surgeon-General of Israel’s navy, specialist in internal medicine at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot, member of Knesset (Israel’s parliament), and a founder of the Andalusian Orchestra that creates a cultural bridge between Israel and Arab countries. Four of our grandchildren are half Moroccan.

My wife and I now live in Ra’anana, the same city north of Tel Aviv where Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett lives with his wife and children. Before partaking of the Sabbath eve meal, our Jewish families sing, “May your coming be for peace, Angels of Peace, angels of the Exalted One.” The song begins with the words shalom aleikhem (may peace be with you). Shalom aleikhem is the traditional Hebrew greeting when people meet. It is akin to the Arabic greeting salam aleikum.

May the Hebrew Malakh Shalom and the Arabic Malak Salam be recognized as one and the same Angel of Peace.


Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Isaiah’s Vision Revealed by Cyberangel Flights from Israel to Iowa and Abu Dhabi


As an American-Israeli artist, I launched cyberangels from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art to celebrate the Nationwide Bible Marathon on July 14, 2021 that was founded in Iowa by Dianne Bentley three years ago. It has since grown to an international event with participants simultaneously reading from the Book of Isaiah in 72 countries.

Isaiah sees shouts for joy when the corona pandemic ends. “Go into your houses, my people, and lock your door behind you; hide for just a moment until the plague has passed, then awake and shout for joy!”  (Isaiah 26: 20,19) 

Responses to cyberangels conveying Isaiah's vision

Dear Mel, I have been profoundly affected by your artwork. Just before receiving your email, my husband and I were talking about how one can write volumes and not really accomplish what he/she is saying, but a single image speaks volumes. Your artwork has prophetically spoken volumes into my life, and as tired as I am from the 7/14 @ 7:14 am Nationwide Bible Reading Marathon event, I can truly say I feel vibrantly alive and ready to spiritually war through the next year of work needed to join nations around the world in a 24 hour, 26 major time zone Bible Reading Marathon. This will be our 3rd year of prayer every Saturday at 7:14 am (CDT) which precedes each 7/14 event. Three other women from around the USA join me as we pray, discuss, and strategize with our Heavenly Father. Thank you for being an agent of release of God's love to us and our love for Israel and may 2 Chronicles 7:14 bless your life as it has ours. God bless, Dianne Bentley, State Leader, Iowa 99 County Bible Reading Marathon, Servant Leader, Nationwide Bible Reading Marathon

Hi Mel, Dianne Bentley forwarded your email to me and I've ordered your book. Looking forward to reading it. I'm the state leader for the Bible Reading in Georgia, There were 13 other states besides Iowa and GA that were involved in the 7/14 Bible Reading. What a blessing. I write a little weekly column for our local paper. I thought you would enjoy knowing how Dianne and I met and how this worked out for me to join her.  No accidents with our God! Shalom, Jerri Tuck

Jerri’s “Connecting the Dots” article in a Georgia newspaper tells of how she connected to Dianne in Iowa through a Facebook friend in Nigeria. God’s plan is continuing to connect the dots by Dianne forwarding my email to Jerri in the state of Georgia where my cyberangels have been in the collection of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta since 1987. I launched a new generation of cyberangels from Jerusalem, Israel, to the High Museum in 2019 and to museums in eleven other states in USA that have places named “Jerusalem” to honor Rembrandt on the 350th anniversary of his passing. See them all at my blog JerUSAlem-USA,

Jonathan Feldstein arranged for Israel to take part in the Bible Reading Marathon through his Genesis 123 Foundation that works to build bridges between Christians and Jews through the Bible they share. He is an American born Orthodox Jew who immigrated to Israel in 2004 and has been blessed with a calling to serve to create a meaningful dialogue between Jews and Christians and to help connect Christians to Israel.

Abu Dhabi to Israel to Iowa and throughout the world

The cyberangels had just returned from their virtual flights from Jerusalem to the United Arab Emirates to celebrate the inauguration of the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate of Israel in Dubai. This historic event brought the Abraham Accords to life by reuniting the descendants of brothers Ishmael and Isaac, Moslem Arabs and Jewish Israelis.

To rejoice in this event of biblical proportions, I launched “Cyberangels of Peace” on flights from the Israel Museum to the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum in Dubai. These cyberangels heralded the realization of Isiah’s vision:

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2: 4)

Living Isaiah’s vision in the Land of Israel

My book Through a Bible Lens published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing offers biblical insights for our digital culture of smartphones and social media to both Jews and Christians. It documents life with my wife Miriam and our children and grandchildren in Israel, in the land where the biblical narrative unfolds, in the land that the biblical prophecies of the ingathering of the Jewish people is being realized today. Miriam and I sense the privilege of living the visions of the prophets in all that we see and do.

"I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 43:5-6)

The great biblical miracle of liberating one nation of thousands from enslavement in the one country of Egypt after two centuries of exile pales in comparison with the Zionist miracle in our time of ingathering millions of Jews from a hundred countries after two thousand years and bringing them home to Israel. 

I was born in New York of parents born in Boston and New Jersey. My wife Miriam was born in Suriname where the Amazon Jungle reaches the Atlantic Ocean.  Her parents were born in Amsterdam. We came on aliyah to Israel with our three children Iyrit, Ari and Ron who were born in New York. Our fourth child Moshe was born in Beersheva.  Iyrit’s husband Dr. Yehiel Lasry was born in Morocco and came to Israel with his family when he was six years old. He is mayor of Ashdod, Israel’s fifth largest city and its major port, former surgeon-general of the Israeli navy, and member of Knesset. Ari’s wife Julie was born in Boston, descendent of the Jewish sheriff of Tucson in the Wild West. Ron’s wife Miri was born in Jerusalem. Her father, a Holocaust survivor, is a rabbi born in Hungary. Moshe’s wife Dr. Carmit Eliassi Alexenberg is a chemistry professor born in Israel of parents born in Iran.

"Who are these who fly like a cloud, and like doves to their roosts … to bring your sons from afar?" (Isaiah 60:8-9).

My daughter Iyrit and her husband were on the tarmac at Ben-Gurion Airport welcoming the arrival of the first El Al Dreamliner from the Boeing factory in Washington State. Painted on the plane was Ashdod in honor of the city’s founding 60 years ago. Watching the plane touch down brought tears to Iyrit’s eyes as she witnessed the miracle of the Jewish people returning home on wings of eagles (Exodus 19:4).  My son-in-law told me that the citizens of his city Ashdod were born in 99 countries.

“When God will return the exiles of Zion, we will have been as dreamers. Then our mouths shall be filled with laughter and our tongues with songs of joy. Then shall they say among the nations, ‘God has done great things for them!’” (Psalms 126:1-2)

Reading the Bible in the language of digital culture

A number of polls show a growing trend that younger Christians and Jews read the Bible less than their parents and consequently have a diminishing support for Israel. Reading in the rapidly evolving language of smartphones and social media makes Bible study boring to them. However, I have found that when I translate the Bible from the original Hebrew into the language of digital culture in Through a Bible Lens, this fresh viewpoint sparks interest in the minds of millennials.

Let’s start with the first words of the Bible translated into English:   

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

In the original Hebrew language of the Bible, the word et appears twice:

“In the beginning God created et the heaven and et the earth.”

The Hebrew word et is the first creations before heaven and before earth. In translations, et drops out since it has no equivalent in English. It links “created” to “heaven” and "created" to “earth.”  et is spelled aleph-tav, the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Spanning the full set of 22 Hebrew letters from aleph to tav, et represents a prototypic media system used to create a spiritual system called “heaven” and a material system called “earth.” 

The ancient Hebrew language is a prototype of media systems used to create spiritual systems like the Bible itself. The Bible invites imaginative ways for exploring interrelationships between media systems, spiritual systems, and material systems.

The digital media system is a binary system of on-off, 1-0, light-darkness.

 “God separated between the light and darkness.” (Genesis 1:4) 

 “In the beginning” in Hebrew is B’ReiSheet, spelled with the same consonants as the word B’ReShet meaning “In the network.”

Read the beginning verses of the Bible in the language of digital culture as:

“In the network of networks (the cloud), God created media systems for creating heaven and earth.  When the earth was absolutely empty and dark, God created light and separated between light and darkness (1 and 0)”

The media system of heaven, the spiritual realm, is written in the Torah with Hebrew letters that form words. The media system of earth, the physical realm, is written with electrons and protons that form atoms and molecules. The media system of the digital realm returns us to the primeval binary creation of darkness and light, 0 and 1. It is written with the binary digits 0-1 called bits that form bytes.  Every blog, website, video, song, and text that you access from the Internet is written with the binary system of the beginning of Creation.

Cyberangels are created in the binary system and fly from Israel to Abu Dhabi and to Iowa and continue their flights around Planet Earth via the Internet.

Monday, July 5, 2021

United Arab Emirates Welcomes Cyberangels of Peace from Israel

Hebrew Malakh Shalom = Arabic Malak Salam = Angel of Peace 

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid was greeted on tarmac by Emirati Minister of State Ahmed Al Sayegh as the first Israeli minister to visit the United Arab Emirates since The Abraham Accords were signed in Washington.

 He came as the guest of the Emirati Foreign Minister, Abdullah Bin Zayed to inaugurate the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate of Israel in Dubai on June 29 and 30, 2021.

 To celebrate this historic event as an American-Israeli artist, I launched “Cyberangels of Peace” on virtual flights from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum in Dubai. These digital age artworks express The Abraham Accords declaration of support for art and science that inspire humankind, maximize human potential and bring nations closer together.




UAE-Israel Peace as a Way of Life

The inauguration of Israel’s Embassy and Consulate in UAE was followed by an unprecedented act between foreign ministers of two countries. Yair Lapid, a Jew and Israeli, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a Muslim and Arab, defied expectations by co-authoring an article “UAE-Israel peace is more than an agreement. It's a way of life” in The National.

They wrote: “The UAE and Israel decided to do things differently with the signing of the historic Abraham Accords in 2020. With the establishment of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel, our two countries set out to determine a new paradigm for our region: one defined by the joint pursuit of peace, stability, security, prosperity and co-existence for our peoples.”

“We both want to live in a world where peace is possible. We need to work hard with our peoples and with each other. In order to achieve lasting and sustainable solutions to the issues that our region faces, we will continue to champion the spirit of peace in all efforts to shape a better world for our children. Peace isn't an agreement you sign – it's a way of life. The ceremonies we held this week aren't the end of the road. They are just the beginning.”

Abraham Accords and Year of Rembrandt

The Rembrandt-inspired "Cyberangels of Peace" are based upon the biblical passage of angels going up from the Land of Israel on a ladder in Jacob’s dream and coming down throughout the world to herald a message of peace. The angels are shown flying from the Land of Israel via smartphone and social media on the cover of my book Through a Bible Lens. The book explores the biblical roots of the Abraham Accords in the language of digital culture.




It is symbolic that one of my cyberangel artworks is in the collection of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington where The Abraham Accords were signed. My artworks represent historic exemplars of computer-generated art that act to unite Abraham’s decedents. These cyberangel artworks are in the collections of thirty museums on five continents. They are documented in my blog Global Tribute to Rembrandt.   

The Bible tells of Abraham’s good feeling seeing his sons Ishmael and Isaac together in peace at his deathbed. Now, four thousand years later, we saw their heirs come together in brotherhood on the White House lawn.

The Abraham Accords corresponded with the “Year of Rembrandt” honoring the great master on the 350th anniversary of his death. Throughout the world in museums from Leiden where he was born, to Amsterdam where he established his art studio, to Oxford, Madrid, Ontario, New York, and Abu Dhabi.

Cyberangels of Peace at Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi presented the exhibition Rembrandt, Vermeer & the Dutch Golden Age, masterpieces from The Leiden Collection founded by the American Thomas S. Kaplan who wrote, “More than any other painter’s legacy, we believe Rembrandt’s ability to touch the soul represents a uniquely fitting expression of this visionary Franco-Emirati project seeking to promote tolerance and the common civilization of mankind.”

I launched my first cyberangels of peace honoring the Abraham Accords to the Louvre Abu Dhabi from the Israel Museum’s Shrine of the Book, where the oldest Bible texts are housed. The Louvre Abu Dhabi was created by the renowned architect Jean Nouvel to express a new era of peace and brotherhood.

It was my honor to have hosted Jean Nouvel when he came to Jerusalem to receive the Wolf Prize in Architecture in 2005. I had been appointed by the President of Israel to the Council of the Wolf Foundation that awards the acclaimed Wolf Prize to outstanding scientists and artists from around the world for achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples. We sat together at the award ceremony in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) beneath a huge Marc Chagall tapestry.

Cyberangels of Peace virtual flight from Israel to the Louvre Abu Dhabi honored the inauguration of Israel’s Embassy in Abu Dhabi. On the next day, they took flight to the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum in Dubai for the inauguration of Israel’s Consulate there.

Cyberangels of Peace at Crossroads of Civilizations Museum in Dubai

The Crossroads of Civilizations Museum expresses the global vision of its founder and director Ahmad Obald al Mansoori who tells how it embodies the spirit of tolerance of the ancient past where civilizations, cultures and religions met. Dubai’s location at the crossroad of global trade routes had seen it interact with leading cultures and civilizations across Europe, Asia and Africa.

At a photo exhibition reflecting Jewish life in Arab countries at Al Mansoori’s museum, he initiated collaboration with The Heritage Center for Middle East and North Africa Jewry in Israel. The Heritage Center’s CEO Ashley Perry said, "The event tonight was an attempt to build bridges between Arabs and Jews through the prism of the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa. In preserving the culture and heritage of the Jews of MENA we can build a bridge from the past to a brighter future for the good of all peoples in the region."

The cyberangel flights to Abu Dhabi and Dubai are followed by virtual flights from the Israel Museum to museums in Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan, and to Egypt and Jordan, the first Arab states to have signed peace treaties with Israel.

Cyberangels of Peace are waiting on the runway ready to take virtual flights from Israel to the remaining sixteen member states of the Arab League. They are also waiting for the signing of the Cyrus Accords to fly from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to the Teheran Museum of Contemporary Art.

Hebrew Malakh Shalom = Arabic Malak Salam = Angel of Peace

I live with my wife in Ra’anana, the same city north of Tel Aviv where Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett lives with his wife and children. Before partaking of the Sabbath eve meal, our families join with Jewish families throughout the world singing, “May your coming be for peace, Angels of Peace, angels of the Exalted One.” The song begins with the words shalom aleikhem (may peace be with you). Shalom aleikhem is the traditional Hebrew greeting when people meet. It is akin to the Arabic greeting salam aleikum.

May the Hebrew Malakh Shalom and the Arabic Malak Salam be recognized as one and the same Angel of Peace.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Cyberangels of Peace honor King Mohammed VI of Morocco on his congratulations to Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett

 “Cyberangels of Peace” is a digital age artwork by American-Israeli artist Mel Alexenberg in which Rembrandt-inspired cyberangels are launched on a virtual flight from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to the Mohammed VI Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat.


King Mohammed VI of Morocco on 16 June 2021 sent a congratulatory letter to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett upon his taking office. In the letter, the King of Morocco wrote:

 "I am pleased to send you warm congratulations and my wishes for success on the occasion of your being elected as Prime Minister of Israel. I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize to you that the Kingdom of Morocco is determined to continue its active role and its best efforts to advance a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, which will enable all peoples of the region to live side by side in security, stability and friendship."

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett responded:

 "I thank His Majesty, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, for his warm greetings and I would like to express my highest esteem for him. Israel views Morocco as an important friend and partner in the efforts to advance peace and security in the region. I will further Israeli-Moroccan relations in all spheres for the welfare and prosperity of both peoples, who have been friends for many years."

The Abraham Accords

The Abraham Accords were signed in Washington D.C. on 15 September 2020 between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Shortly after, Morocco and Sudan joined the accords.

The Bible tells that that Abraham’s sons Ishmael and Isaac came together to bury their father. Now, four thousand years later, their heirs came together in brotherhood on the White House lawn. These accords celebrate the digital age reunion of Arabs and Jews, cousins who were once brothers.

This historic event bringing peace to the Middle East corresponded with the global tribute to Rembrandt on the 350th year of his passing. I launched Rembrandt-inspired cyberangels from the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem where the oldest scrolls of the Bible are housed to museums in UAE and Bahrain. Since Morocco has joined the accords, these cyberangel virtual flights link Morocco and Israel in peace through art.   

 Cyberangel flights that herald peace between Israel and all the Abraham Accords countries are documented in my Global Tribute to Rembrandt blog.  They are shown flying from the Land of Israel via smartphone and social media on the cover of my book Through a Bible Lens. The book explores the biblical roots of the Abraham Accords in the language of digital culture.



Israelis of Moroccan Origins

Jews have a long history of living in Morocco. After the establishment of the State of Israel, most of Morocco’s Jewish population moved to Israel where they contribute to all walks of life. Today, about a million Israelis have family origins in Morocco.

In 1977, my wife Miriam and I moved from New York where I was professor at Columbia University to Yeroham, a town isolated in the Negev desert, where I founded a college. Most of its population had moved there from Morocco. When our new neighbors learned that we were Americans, they said to us in Hebrew, “Americayim Moroccayim, almost the same thing.”

Our family became one of the families with origins in Morocco. Our New York born daughter Iyrit is married to Dr. Yehiel Lasry who was born in Morocco. His family moved to Ashdod when he was six years old when it was a small town on the sea. He is now the mayor of Ashdod that has grown under his creative leadership into one of Israel’s largest cities and its major port. He studied medicine at Ben-Gurion University, was Surgeon-General of Israel’s navy, specialist in internal medicine at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot, member of Knesset (Israel’s parliament), and a founder of the Andalusian Orchestra that creates a cultural bridge between Israel and Arab countries. Four of our grandchildren are half Moroccan.   

Hebrew Malakh Shalom and Arabic Malak Salam are the same Angel of Peace

Documentation of my Cyberangels of Peace digital age artworks  are in the collections of more than thirty museums throughout the world, from Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, to Art Museum of The Hague in The Netherlands. I began creating these artworks when I was head of the art department at Pratt Institute and research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies.

At that time that I working simultaneously in New York and Cambridge, I was invited to create an artwork at the Israel Museum affiliated printmaking workshop in Jerusalem. The serigraph that I created there is the basis of my current series of virtual cyberangel flights. It is in the collection of the Israel Museum. It illustrates the biblical passage of angels going up the ladder in Jacob’s dream from the Land of Israel and coming down throughout the world bringing a message of peace.


My wife and I live in Ra’anana, the same city north of Tel Aviv where Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett lives with his wife and children. Before partaking of the Sabbath eve meal, our Jewish families sing, “May your coming be for peace, Angels of Peace, angels of the Exalted One.” The song begins with the words shalom aleikhem (may peace be with you). Shalom aleikhem is the traditional Hebrew greeting when people meet. It is akin to the Arabic greeting salam aleikum. May the Hebrew Malakh Shalom and the Arabic Malak Salam be recognized as one and the same Angel of Peace.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Cyberangels of Peace Fly from Israel Museum in Jerusalem to Crossroads of Civilization Museum in Dubai



 

To H.E. Ahmed Obaid Al Mansoori, Founder of the Crossroads of Civilization Museum

I have attached my artwork showing Rembrandt-inspired cyberangels of peace on their virtual flight from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to the Crossroads of Civilization Museum in Dubai.

Please have it digitally printed out on paper or canvas as a new media artwork for your museum collection that links your museum to the Israel Museum’s Shrine of Book that houses the oldest copies of the Bible in its original Hebrew language.

It exemplifies your insightful article in the Jerusalem Post, “Why culture is vital in easing the path to peace” and your statement “It is our role to translate the peace deal into tangible outcomes through people-to-people connections” quoted in the Jerusalem Post article highlighting the shared history of Jews and Arabs.

My new media artworks are in the collections of more than thirty museums throughout the world, from Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, to Art Museum of The Hague in The Netherlands.  I was art professor at Columbia University and universities in Israel, and research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies.

Before partaking of the Sabbath eve meal, Jewish families sing, “May your coming be for peace, Angels of Peace, angels of the Exalted One.” The song begins with the words shalom aleikhem (may peace be with you). Shalom aleikhem is the traditional Hebrew greeting when people meet. It is akin to the Arabic greeting salam aleikum. May the Hebrew Malakh Shalom and the Arabic Malak Salam be recognized as one and the same Angel of Peace.

I also propose that I collaborate with a UAE artist in creating an art exhibition at both the Crossroads of Civilization Museum and Ashdod Art Museum in Israel. I suggest calling the exhibition “Parentheses of the Middle East: From the Gulf to the Sea.” Dubai is the major UAE port and Ashdod is Israel’s major port city. Dr. Yehiel Lasry, the mayor of Ashdod, is negotiating to make Ashdod and Dubai sister cities.

Dr. Lasry is particularly happy today that Morocco has followed the lead of UAE in normalizing relations with Israel. He was born in Morocco and came to Ashdod when he was six. He studied medicine at Ben-Gurion University, was Surgeon-General of Israel’s navy, member of Knesset, and a founder of the Andalusian Orchestra that creates a cultural bridge between Israel and Arab countries. Its purpose is to enrich the musical and cultural dialogue between Israeli and Arab artists. (Disclosure: Yehiel Lasry is my son-in-law.)

Respectfully yours,

Dr. Mel Alexenberg

Author of the highly acclaimed book Through a Bible Lens  

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Cyberangels of Peace Fly from Israel Museum to Sarjah Art Foundation in UAE

 


American-Israeli artist Mel Alexenberg is launching cyberangels of peace on flights from Israel Museum to Sharjah Art Foundation in UAE. These digital flights of Rembrandt-inspired cyberangels honor the signing of the Abraham Accord between Israel and United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in Washington.

This historic event forging ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors occurs during the year that Rembrandt is being honored on the 350th anniversary of his death by museums from Leiden where he was born, to Amsterdam where he established his art studio, to Oxford, Madrid, Ontario, New York, and Abu Dhabi.

 Alexenberg documents the digital flights from Israel to the Emirates on this Global Tribute to Rembrandt blog. He created an artwork that shows a cyberangel of peace ascending from the Israel Museum’s Shrine of the Book, where the oldest Bible texts are exhibited, and entering into the Sharjah Art Foundation.

His blog also documents cyberangel flights from Israel to thirty museums on five continents that have Rembrandt-inspired artworks by Alexenberg in their collections. These images are augmented by texts on the impact of digital culture on contemporary art by the artist, former art professor at Columbia University, research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, and professor at universities in Israel.



Mel Alexenberg's 2004 exhibition Cyberangels: Aesthetic Peace Plan for the Middle East at the Jewish Museum in Prague anticipated this historic event on the White House lawn. It presented aesthetic values derived from Islamic art that invites a perceptual shift through which Muslims see Israel as a blessing expressing Allah’s will rather than as an alien presence in the midst of the Islamic world. Weavers of beautiful Islamic carpets include a small counter pattern in their designs that can symbolize a Jewish state living in peace surrounded by friendly Muslim states. His blog Aesthetic Peace includes testimony from Islamic leaders on the religious validity of his concept of aesthetic peace. The photo above shows the artist explaining his aesthetic peace plan to the ambassadors of the United States and Israel at the opening of the exhibition.  




One of his Digital Homage to Rembrandt cyberangel artworks has been in Washington in the collection of The National Museum of American History since 1987 as a historic exemplar of computer-generated fine art printmaking. These cyberangels that have been dormant in the museum’s flat files have awakened in 2020 both as a tribute to Rembrandt and to the historic Abraham Accords uniting the decedents of Abraham’s two sons Isaac and Ishmael.



His cyberangel flight from Israel to the Gulf coast was preceded by Alexenberg’s cyberangel faxart flight around the globe via AT&T satellites on the 320th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death. On the morning of October 4, 1989, it ascended from New York, flew to Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam to Jerusalem to Tokyo to Los Angeles, returning to New York on the same afternoon. When it passed through Tokyo, it was already the morning of October 5th. Cyberangels cannot only fly around the globe, they can fly into tomorrow and back into yesterday. The photo above shows Mel Alexenberg in period garb receiving his Rembrandt-inspired cyberangel in his studio in Rembrandt House on its circumglobal flight.




Mel Alexenberg was invited to create one of his early Rembrandt-inspired cyberangel artworks by the Israel Museum affiliated graphics center in Jerusalem at the time he was head of the art department at Pratt Institute in New York where he taught “Fine Art with Computers.” It shows cyberangels ascending from a NASA satellite image of the Land of Israel as an expression of the biblical commentary that the angels in Jacob’s dream go up a ladder from the Land of Israel and come down to earth throughout the world. This serigraph is in the collection of the Israel Museum.

 These cyberangels emerge from a smartphone screen on the cover of Professor Alexenberg’s most recent book Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social MediaA smartphone has the power to make this biblical vision a reality. Reading his highly acclaimed book offers opportunities for Arab cousins of the Jewish people to get to know about the life and beliefs of descendants of Ishmael’s brother Isaac living today in the Land of Israel.  




Before partaking of the Sabbath eve meal, Jewish families sing, “May your coming be for peace, Angels of Peace, angels of the Exalted One.” The song begins with the words shalom aleikhem (may peace be with you). Shalom aleikhem is the traditional Hebrew greeting when people meet. It is akin to the Arabic greeting salam aleikum. Indeed, the word Islam itself is derived from the same root as salam (peace)May the Hebrew Malakh Shalom and the Arabic Malak Salam be recognized as one and the same Angel of Peace.

For further information and requests for interviews, contact Prof. Mel Alexenberg at melalexenberg@yahoo.com, phone in Israel 052-855-1223, international call +972-52-855-1223


Cyberangels of Peace Fly from Israel to Meri Open-Air Museum in Italy

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