Project | 01
The Haifa Queer History Project
The Haifa Queer History Project, established in late 2015 by Yoav Zaritsky, Adi Sadaka, and me, is a grassroots research and documentation project that focuses on the histories of queer experience, existence and resistance in the city of Haifa, Israel/Palestine.
As the primary method of historical inquiry, the project creates a filmed repository of oral interviews that reflect the abundance of gender, sexual, political, ethnic and national identities in the city, and their intersectionality with socioeconomic backgrounds, immigration, and urban geography.
Additionally, the project collects a growing archive of written documents, printed sources, ephemera, and objects. Substantial efforts are put into making the project's work accessible by the public, including a presence in social media (facebook, youtube, instagram), lectures, urban walking tours, an annual queer history festival, and soon also an online archive, a documentary, and academic publications.
Project | 02
Giyora Manor & the Transparent Closet
Through the unique story of theatre director, reporter and dance researcher, Giyora Manor (1926-2005), this project aims at looking into the secret lives of homosexual men in the Kibbutz before the politicization of the gay identity in the 1970's.
Manor was born to a well-to-do German speaking Jewish family in Prague, but had to flee once the Nazis took power over Czechoslovakia, leaving his parents behind. He arrived at his uncle's Kibbutz, Mishmar HaEmeq, and grew up to be a prominent figure in Israeli theatre and dance. In parallel, he lived out his homoerotic desires.
This project juxtaposes Manor's biography with the queer history of dance and theatre in early Israel and with the local history of Mishmar HaEmeq as home to the most important sexual educator at the time, Shmuel Golan, whose ideas shaped the first-of-its-kind experimental and highly ideological boarding school Manor attended on the Kibbutz. By doing so, this project asks important questions about privacy, secrecy, gay narratives and the history of the Kibbutz as it is currently told.
This project is held as part of my masters thesis in the University of Haifa, under the supervision of prof. Yuval Yonay and prof. Gur Alroey. It is also supported by the GIF, as part of a German-Israeli research group, led by prof. Moshe Sluchovsky, that researches the immigration of homosexual sociability from German speaking areas in Europe to Palestine and later to the young state of Israel.