Myra Mandel

Inspiration from the Sources

Systems Analysts don't usually open galleries in the Artists Quarter of Tzfat, but that's what Canadian-native Myra Mandel did several years ago.

Myra made aliyah (came to live in Israel) after high school and studied Industrial Management Engineering at Haifa's Technion. Her subsequent career in computers carried her through her first years of marriage while raising her children. But as time went on, she found herself drawn to a decidedly non-computer aspect of her talents - painting.

Myra paints in a style she calls "Contemporary Spiritual Art". Her paintings incorporate verses from Psalms, prayers, words of the prophets and the Song of Songs, which are then combined with landscapes of the Galilee and the Judean desert, wild flowers and images of archeological elements. Her art speaks to a growing number of visitors who seek out her gallery to feel, through her vision, the atmosphere of Tzfat and Northern Israel and her love of Judaism. She expresses visually, as she explains, her personal emotional response to the text, be it the lyrical, expressive verses of King David, which express the yearning of man to connect with his Creator, or the poetic imagery of the later prophets as they spoke God's message of redemption to the people.

Art From the Well

Myra's gallery, Art From the Well, has a double meaning. The "Well" alludes to the Source, the verses and texts from Jewish sources that Myra weaves into her art. But the gallery really is a well - a cistern that she found when she and her husband bought their house in Tzfat. Although most of the year she lives with her family in a small community near Tel Aviv, she feels connected to Tzfat, where she is able to develop artistically. "The ancient city of Tzfat has a holiness that can be sensed in a way that is different than any other place in Israel" she says. "Tzfat is much more than just a collection of ancient buildings - it is full with an invisible presence: The air itself feels pure. As soon as I arrive in Tzfat, I feel a heightened sense of alertness and clarity of mind, a quiet energy that is specific to this place. I am constantly aware that these same cobblestone alleys were walked by our holy rabbis hundreds of years ago"

One day, Myra and her husband Joel would like to spend more time in Tzfat as her gallery develops. "I love to paint the landscape around Tzfat, the low hills cultivated with rows of olive trees and grape vines and the blue tinged Meron mountains in the distance" she says. Right now, Myra is looking into new forms of expression through collages composed of pieces of watercolor paper. She layers them with paints, lace and metal lettering, and pens and other colors.

It's another system to be analyzed.

Myra no longer exhibits in Tzfat. Her work can be seen on her website.