Culture in Jerusalem during the British Mandate Period


- in the Mandatory administration , and additional guests referred to as “ dignitaries of the various ethnic communities . ” As in the musical sphere , so , too , in other creative fields : some tried to build bridges between the Western culture of their countries of origin , where they had been educated , and the local Arab-Eastern culture of the country to which they had come , and especially that of the unique city in which they lived . This is reflected in a number of separate efforts in the musical realm : the trailblazer was Zvi Idelsohn , the researcher and composer , who believed that the traditional melodies customarily used by Jews from Muslim countries , especially those from Yemen , preserved motifs of the melodies that had been sung in the Temple . Other pioneers were artists ( mainly female ) of Eastern origin who mediated between the culture of the community of origin and Western musicians . Another outstanding representative of this vanguard was composer and oud player Ezra Aharon , born in Iraq ( 1903 ) . In 1932 he led a band composed of six Jewish musicians ( only the vocalist was Muslim ) , which showcased Iraq at the First International Congress of Arab Music , held in Cairo . Aharon immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1934 , and Jerusalem became the center of his activity . He gradually became a regular contributor to the music programs of Kol Yerushalayim . When various individuals , including David Yellin and Izhak Ben-Zvi , initiated the founding of the Association for Oriental Jewish Music in 1937 , they were considerably influenced by Aharon’s presence and activity in Eretz Israel , and by their desire to advance artists like him . The plastic arts experienced an awakening similar to that in the musical realm . In this field , however , the founding of the Bezalel School of Art twelve years prior to the British conquest gave Jerusalem a distinct advantage . The Hebrew Artists Association , most of whose members were Bezalel teachers , was formed in 1920 . This was the first act of organization by creative artists , one that preceded the founding of the associations of writers and musicians . The Hebrew Artists Association regarded itself as part of the effort to realize the Zionist goal of establishing a cultural and spiritual center for the Jewish people . With the encouragement of the British authorities , the Association organized seven exhibitions over the course of that decade , five of them at the Tower of David , displaying works by artists from throughout Eretz Israel . However , as early as 1924 , a rift developed between two groups : the one more traditional or conservative , while the other was composed of innovative modern artists . The former group was headed by Boris Schatz , and the latter , by Yosef Zaritsky . The modernists prevailed , and the Association moved its center to Tel Aviv . Jerusalem fared no better in the literary realm , not even before Tel Aviv was founded and began to flourish . Three presses that published secular literature were active in Jaffa by the end of the first decade of the twentieth century , while only a single press of this sort was active in Jerusalem . Within a short period after its founding Tel Aviv had become the capital of Hebrew publishing : in the twenty years between 1908 and 1928 , 1 , 087 books were published in the young city of Tel Aviv , compared with 822 that were published in Jerusalem , and this trend would later intensify . When Brenner proposed , in 1919 , that the Stybel publishing house publish literary collections devoted to each of the seventeen authors included in a list that he had compiled , only three were genuinely resident in Jerusalem at the time , while two others stayed in Jerusalem at times ; seven lived in Tel Aviv-Jaffa ; two lived in the moshavot or the hityashvut ha-ovedet , and three of them were resident abroad . The Jewish Yishuv in Eretz Israel in the 1920 s and 1930 s could be thought of as a community whose life revolved around three centers : Jerusalem , Tel Aviv , and the Jezreel Valley , the crowning glory of Jewish settlement . In this triangle , the side connecting Tel Aviv and the Jezreel Valley overshadowed the third point , Jerusalem .

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