Encountering Israel by Susan Ressler
Part memoir and part spiritual journey, Encountering Israel asks, "Who am I?" and "What does Israel mean to me?" For most, these photographs may spark the burning question: "In what ways can we understand Israel today?" These images explore that question from diverging and often contradictory points of view: sacred and secular, ancient and modern, war and peace, and ultimately, Arab and Jew. Israel is a lodestar for the three Abrahamic faiths: Christians, Muslims and Jews all trace their ancient roots back to this place. Dry and sere, mostly desert, and yet filled with an unfathomable presence that has drawn worshipers and pilgrims throughout time, I went to Israel to honor my parents. Only weeks after they'd passed away, I arrived in this wondrous, yet perplexing place. As Israeli Supreme Court Justice Elyakin Rubinstein once commented, "Israel is a normal country that is not normal." What I saw was much more than paradox. With my heart torn open, I saw challenge and conflict – progress and pain. I was moved by so many poignant stories. I was moved by the people that I met. I did plant a tree for my parents. I did learn so much on the way. The spirit of Israel has touched me, and these photographs are my witness.
Susan Ressler lives and works in Taos, New Mexico.
To view more of Susan's work, please visit her website.