5 Things You Need to Know About…Ziona Tagger

Pioneering Israeli artist

1. Ziona Tagger was born in Jaffa in 1900. Her family had made aliyah from Bulgaria in 1880 and were among the founders of Tel Aviv.

2. A sabra, she was to pave the way for later female artists. She attended the Bezalel School of Art and Design in 1921 and two years later continued her studies in Paris, where she participated in the exhibition of the Salons des Independents. When she returned home, she continued working and exhibiting with other young artists, including Reuven Ruben. In 1934, she was one of the founders of the Israeli Artists and Sculptors Association.3804912_1_l

3. When World War II broke out, she volunteered with the British and later joined the Haganah.

ziona_purim4. She was a figurative painter best known for her portraits and local landscapes. Her work partakes of modern art principles –  cubism, for example – but stays close to her tradition. For example, she used Plexiglass sheets, painting on the wrong side as one might paint on glass, employing the bright colors of folk art and depicting Jewish themes. Her work won her accolades and awards.



    “I paint instead of praying.”



5. She is considered the most important female Israeli artist from the early part of the twentieth century. To see more of her work, click here. (Do it – it’s worth the trip.) She died in 1988.

You’ll find Ziona Tagger St. in Jaffa, off Yefet St.

ziona taggerThanks to Ido Biran, Telavivi, for this photograph.

8 Things You Need to Know About…Yisrael Bak

Pioneering Hebrew printer

1. Israel Bak was born in 1797 in Berdichev, Ukraine, where he became a printer and published close to thirty Hebrew books.

2. In 1831, he made aliyah, settling in Safed his family, two printing presses and tools for casting letters and for bookbinding.

Loc111a3. No Hebrew book had been printed in Eretz Yisrael for 245 years. In 1832, Bak printed a Sephardi prayerbook, reviving a moribund industry. The next year, he published the Book of Leviticus, the first book of the Pentateuch ever to come from a printing press in Eretz Yisrael.

4. After a peasant revolt in 1834 that destroyed his press and injured him, he began farming land on Mount Yarmak, overlooking Safed. His was the first Jewish farm in modern times.

5. He continued publishing, as well, the press employing 30 people at its height. But ill fortune continued to plague the people of Safed – an earthquake in 1837 and a Druze revolt in 1838. Again, his press was destroyed. In 1841, he moved to Jerusalem and established himself there, the first Hebrew press in Jerusalem. He continued printing books, some 130 in all, for 33 years.

6. He was a close correspondent of Moses Montefiore, who gave him a new press for his shop in Jerusalem.

7. In 1863, he founded the newspaper Havazzelet, but this venture was closed down by the Ottoman government after only five issues. After his death it was revived by his son-in-law and, though continually troubled, became an important organ for the Chasidic community.

8. With his son Nisan, he was a major force in establishing a central synagogue in Jerusalem for Chasidim. He died in 1874.

In Tel Aviv, you’ll find Yisrael Bak Street near the Ayalon River at Shekhunat Montefiore.