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mingei artworkIn recognition and celebration of the 70-year anniversary of the founding of Israel, Mingei International Museum and Balboa Park’s House of Israel will collaborate on a retrospective exhibition highlighting the nation’s diverse and lively craft and design.

ISRAEL – 70 Years of Craft and Design celebrates the art and innovation of the nation’s diverse people through a rich range of objects of daily use. Over 100 objects—including Yemenite jewelry, Bedouin textiles, contemporary garments, sustainable and industrial design, adornment incorporating ancient materials, furniture and ceramics—illustrate the special fusion of European and Arab influences embodied in Israel’s modern craft and design.

Coinciding with global recognition of Israel’s 70 years of statehood, this project is the Museum’s first opportunity in its 40-year history to feature the innovative work of Israel’s designers and artists.

This original exhibition is organized by House of Israel curator, Smadar Samson, with Mingei International Museum’s executive director Rob Sidner serving as curatorial advisor.


April 21, 2018 through September 3, 2018

Catching up

aviva and wonder woman copy

Wonder women #galgadot, Aviva, and HOI Executive Director Helene Held

Well, it has been a loooong time since we have updated our blog with what has been happening at the House of Israel.  Why not start with a picture of one of our ”newest recruits”?  Aviva’s parents are strong supporters of the House of Israel, and brought their daughter by to say ”shalom”.  It’s never too soon to start lining up new volunteers!

Idan Raichel is in the house!

Idan2Idan Raichel brought his unique sound to San Diego, performing the music that has become the ”soundtrack of Israel”.  Raichel beckoned the audience at the Lawrence Family JCC to get on their feet and move to the upbeat music.  After the concert, he signed autographs and posed for pictures as the little girls squealed in delight.  This was Idan’s 4th visit to San Diego, and he is always welcome!


Mystery Donor


We have a mystery on our hands! A few Sundays back, we found a $100 bill in our donation box. If our generous donor is reading this and would like to reveal his/her identity, we’d be happy to send you a donation receipt. If you want to remain a person of mystery, that’s okay too.  THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Open Window Policy

Guests from France

Guests from France

As the Volunteer Coordinator for the House of Israel, I arrive around 11:00 Sunday mornings so that I can arrange the House, turn on all of the videos, and put bourekas into the ovens so they will be ready when we open the doors at noon.

This Sunday, around 11:15, there was a knocking at the window. I looked up, and there were three fresh-faced young people looking at me expectantly. I opened the window and they said “Ma Nishma!” (how are you), letting me know they were Jewish and spoke Hebrew! I asked them to please come back when we open at noon, and they seemed a little disappointed. I asked where they were from, and they said “France!”

They pointed to the tent where the House of Colombia was setting up their food, and asked “Kosher?” Oye , where do you think you are?!  I told them, “No, the only place you will get Kosher food in the Park is here at the House of Israel!”

They looked a little hungry to me, and being a good Jewish mother, I handed them some hot bourekas through the window. They were very grateful, and promised to return. We were so happy when they came back later in the afternoon and spent a long time talking to our Board Member David, who happens to be French as well. We hope you have a wonderful trip, and safe travels home. Au Revoir!

Thanks to Becky G. for the photo.


“Fused” Digital Art Reception at the House of Israel

The House of Israel was hopping Sunday night June 8, hosting a reception for a very special art exhibit, called “Fused”.

Early in 2013, Smadar Samson, Curator of the House of Israel, put out a worldwide “Call to Artists.  The artists were asked to submit art that reflected their compelling connection that ‘’fused’’ them to Israel. All year long, artists from around the world digitally submitted their works, which included paintings, watercolors, glasswork, collage, multimedia, sculpture and even poetry.

Thank you to Gary Jacobs for the photography.  Enjoy the pictures from the reception celebrating the opening of “Fused”.

“Fused” can be found at

HOI President Amnon greets long time supporter Dr. Arnold Flick

HOI Curator Smadar Samson greets guests

HOI Board members Helene Held and Galiah Bukszpan

Guests enjoyed “Hebrew” brand beer, Israeli wine, and Sabra liqueur

Touchscreen monitors display digital images of the art; selected works are mounted above.


2014 Lawn Program

The House of Israel 2014 Lawn Program was a huge success!  We served over 200 Shwarmas, gave away Israeli tomato plants, greeted hundreds of visitors, and entertained all with singing and dancing. We couldn’t have done it without all of our dedicated volunteers.  A hearty ”THANK YOU” to our friend Lou who videotapes and shares all of the Lawn Program events.   And thank you to the community who came out and celebrated the day with us!





House of israel, Balboa Park, San Diego, 2014 Lawn Program

Rose bouquet inside the House


Volunteers serve Schwarma, Israeli Salad, potatos, and matzoh

Due to Passover, we could not serve pita bread and rice, which traditionally accompany schwarma

Volunteer Sylvia made 200 cups of non-dairy chocolate mousse, topped with a macaroon

Children decorated ‘houses’

200 tomato plants, grown from Israeli seeds, which were given away to visitors

Thanks, Jeff, for donating the tomato plants!

food3 garden stage1 stage2 thsirts tomato2 tomato3 tomato5

Purim 2014

We celebrated the holiday of Purim with bright sunshine, many visitors from around the world, and Hammentashen baked by parents at Tifereth Israel Synagogue.

And thanks to our friend Yaron who sent the Israeli flag toothpicks all the way from his home in Israel!





Get Your Name Written in Sanskrit?!


In exchange for having thier names written in Hebrew, our Guests wrote our volunteer  Guy's name in Sanskrit!

In exchange for having thier names written in Hebrew, our Guests wrote our volunteer Guy’s name in Sanskrit!

Eduardo is one of our newest volunteers. If you don't speak English, that's ok, he can speak Spanish, Italian, Portuguese....

Eduardo is one of our newest volunteers. If you don’t speak English, that’s ok, he can speak Spanish, Italian, Portuguese….