Ashkenazi Rollercoaster Exodus Into/Out Of The West Bank

By Emily Miller

"Ashkenazi Rollercoaster Exodus Into/Out Of The West Bank" (2016)

| 54x68 | in Oil, acrylic, spray paint, and cut paper on canvas


Ashkenazi Rollercoaster Exodus Into/Out Of The West Bank" is a West Bank Dream-scape. A stereotypical religious Jewish family from Brooklyn is transplanted into the middle of occupied territory. They do not operate in a specific time. The energy is the same whether it is second century CE or present. Their wandering is fluid and their direction is unknown and boundless. Some members of the family walk with conviction, others turn back, some are ghostly versions of their former selves. They are red-handed and guilty. The children on bikes play many roles; they are their children and their future children, widening a posse to make a mark upon the land. The children are also the detractors of this family. They surround and demonize these wanderers, going to devious lengths to confuse their pace. Their faces are varied and slightly evil; their hats are checkered and invoke notions of racing, capitalism, gain, order, and speed. The colors of the hats represent unknown teams. Some of these teams may be warring. In the upper left corner of the painting, a child in Gaza marvels at the destruction of his former home. In the upper right, a character of blue and white drives a tractor over a group of protestors with signs reading "Stand with Susiya" into an exploding abyss. Towards the upper mid-section of the painting, a burning rainbow fades as its base is "pink washed." The rainbow guards an image of explosions in an ambiguous West Bank city. Throughout the painting, olives and olive branches pound the air and earth. I was inspired by the brave Israeli and Palestinian artists, such as Sigalit Landau and Khaled Jarrer, who use olives aggressively in their work to reference elements of Palestine. Olives and their harvesting, being a crucial component to Palestinian culture, can act as bombs, forces of peace, signs of life, and other motifs. In my painting, the olives are paradoxical forces of war and peace. They hover over actual smoke caused by weapons, attempting to smother the destruction, but they also linger over the heads of this family-- their fates unknown. The rocks are monsters-- they are thrown at soldiers by fiercely angry youth, and they are thrown at secular people who drive on Shabbat by misguided and impassioned religious people. Here, a rock sits in the lower right corner of the piece, waiting to pop the tire of one of the bike-riders. "Ashkenazi Rollercoaster Exodus Into/Out Of The West Bank" does not intend to represent a specific, hardline political stand (other than obvious criticism of occupation)-- it aims to promote the extensive cast of characters, identities, and symbols that exist in any image or conversation about this disputed region. It playfully and surrealistically perpetuates the ambiguity of the players in this situation.

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Emergency Call to Action: Global Shabbat Against Demolition!

.שבת של שלום, לא  של מלחמה

Dear friends and colleagues, 

The State of Israel is threatening the imminent demolition of four villages home to hundreds of Palestinian families. In the past weeks, bulldozers continued preparing the land of Al Araqib for a future JNF forest, and crept closer to Umm El-Hiran, a village set for demolition to make room for a Jewish town. Meanwhile, the fate of Susiya lies in the hands of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and residents of Um Il-Khier report being in immediate threat of demolition.  

As Jews, we say emphatically that forced displacement, dislocation, and demolition do not represent our values. These demolitions represent a continued policy of systematic discrimination. As members of a people who have experienced expulsion, persecution, and dispossession, we stand with all Palestinian communities facing eviction. 

Residents of these villages have called on us to mobilize our communities in their support. As Jews who affirm our faith in justice, peace, and the equality of human life (shivyon erech ha’adam), we call on members of our community to:     

Host a solidarity Kabbalat Shabbat demonstration as part of a “Global Shabbat Against Demolition” on Friday, August 12, 2016. This date marks one month since residents of Susiya hosted 50 Jewish international peace advocates for Shabbat in a stunning gesture of solidarity and common cause. Let us return this gesture in an international display of support for them and their peers. Those of us in the region will spend a Shabbat in Susiya once again.  

This Shabbat, "Shabbat Hazon," precedes the annual fast of Tisha B’Av, in which the first and second Temples were destroyed according to tradition. Many regard this as the saddest day in the Jewish calendar. Let us make sure that calamity does not befall the residents of these communities on this of all days and that we have no more destruction to mourn in future years and fasts. 

Photograph your protest with a sign, banner, or hashtag that reads “Shabbat Against Demolition.” Be loud, proud, and unapologetic in your singing and call for justice. Here is a link to your local Israeli embassy, but please target whatever institution is most appropriate for your community. Following this Shabbat, we will be calling upon you to participate in specific campaigns over the coming months on behalf of each of the endangered communities. 

To host a "Shabbat Against Demolition" or receive more information, please contact and 

The fate of these families depends on the strength of our support.                                                 


All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective                               

Center for Jewish Nonviolence    


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