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Events

IL VIAGGIO - GALA OPENING OF THE IX EDITION OF IL VOLO DI PEGASO ITALIAN NATIONAL ARTS AND LITERATURE AWARD IN ROME

Posted 23/5/2017

Prestigious Il Volo di Pegaso Italian National Arts & Literature Award had the Gala Opening of its major one month exhibition in Rome in May 2017.  

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Shining Souls. Champions of Humanity - Inaugural Opening of the Inna Rogatchi's Project & Exhibition at the European Parliament

Posted 8/2/2017

On January 24th, 2017, there was Inaugural Opening of the Inna Rogatchi’s Shining Souls. Champions of Humanity project and exhibition was held at the European Parliament in Brussels in Commemoration of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2017.

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December 2014

INNA ROGATCHI IS AWARDED WITH THE PATMOS SOLIDARITY PRIZE 2014

At a special ceremony in Helsinki, the writer, film maker, artist and philanthropist, co-founder and president of The Rogatchi Foundation Inna Rogatchi was awarded the Solidarity Prize 2014 by The Patmos Foundation.

Inna Rogatchi receives The Patmos Solidarity Prize 2014. From the left: Inna Rogatchi, The Patmos Foundation president Pirkko Säilä, and the Patmos Foundation Chairman Leo Laitinmäki. Helsinki, December 2014. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation

Inna Rogatchi receives The Patmos Solidarity Prize 2014. From the left: Inna Rogatchi; The Patmos Foundation president Pirkko Säilä; and The Patmos Foundation chairman Leo Laitinmäki. Helsinki, December 2014. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

In the statement of The Patmos Foundation, it said that Inna Rogatchi has been awarded 'for active stand in culture, philanthropy and public life to maintain moral values and decency of human life and conditions; for commitment and achievements in establishing historical justice and spreading the knowledge about it reaching wide international audience; for the passionate and creative approach in a hard labour of memory'.

The Prize's Diploma states that "internationally renown historian, researcher, author, artist, photographer, humanitarian and philanthropist Dr Inna Rogatchi is recipient of the Solidarity Prize 2014 honouring her life-long mission for the sake of the persecuted Jewish people and the Nation of Israel".

Inna Rogatchi is the third person and the first woman to receive this prestigious award. Her predecessors as Solidarity Award recipients were Brother Andreas from the Netherlands, and priest Jouni Lehikoski, vicar of the Mikael Church in Turku, Finland, both for their exemplary, brave and far-reaching humanitarian efforts.

Inna Rogatchi at the Patmos Solidarity Prize 2014 Award Ceremony. Helsinki, December 2014. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation

Inna Rogatchi at the Patmos Solidarity Prize 2014 Award Ceremony. Helsinki, December 2014. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The Patmos Foundation (www.patmos.fi) is a Finnish Christian organisation internationally known for its wide-spread global humanitarian work. It was founded by well-known public figure Leo Meller, and operates under steady and devoted management of the Foundation's president Pirkko Säilä. From the 1970s onward, Patmos has been operating world-wide, and demonstrates tireless efforts in providing badly needed help on four continents.

According to The Patmos Foundation chairman Leo Laitinmäki, "support of Israel and the Jewish people is the core of The Patmos Foundation's work".

In his opening speech, Leo Laitinmäki emphasised that he sees "a direct similarity between Finland's fight for the country's independence and Israel's fight for the independence of the Jewish state, the national Jewish home. This kind of independence which is achieved via daring struggle, via wars with attacking enemies, via defending the country's attacked civilians, is achieved at a very high price, indeed, but it also stays on as a Rock. And belief is quite an important part of this Rock, as we know from history. Looking from an historical perspective toward the modern day, we do know, we do realise how much Israel still needs the help of its friends, being constantly attacked and challenged against all criteria of acceptable and normal historical justice. We, at Patmos Foundation, always have provided, still provide, and will provide that needed help to our friends in Israel. Our hearts are beating in unison with the hearts of the people in Israel. And tonight is a celebration of this fact - we know a lot of Dr Inna Rogatchi's many years of multi-sided activities in support of Jewish people and the State of Israel, and we will hear more about it during this evening. Our warmest congratulations to you, dear Inna!"

On the left: In the front, The Patmos Foundation Chairman Leo Laitinmäki. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi FoundationOn the right: Leo Laitinmäki addresses the public; in front is Mrs Zahava Ashbel, wife of Israel's Ambassador to Finland H.E. Dan Ashbel. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation      

On the left: in the front, The Patmos Foundation chairman Leo Laitinmäki; On the right: Leo Laitinmäki addresses the public; in front is Mrs Zahava Ashbel, wife of Israel's Ambassador to Finland H.E. Dan Ashbel
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The Patmos Foundation is an active partner of Keren Hayesod (Israel National Foundation Fund) in many activities of Keren Hayesod world-wide.

They are particularly active in several demanding tasks of supporting aliyah from such countries as Ethiopia, CIS countries, Georgia, Argentina in both organisational and financial ways of co-operating closely with Keren Hayesod in these tasks; and currently Patmos is deeply involved in assisting the aliyah from Ukraine. The organisation is also a long-term partner of Magen David Adom (MDA), and has sent to Israel several ambulances, MICU's (mobile intensive care units) and equipment for MDA blood bank and MDA stations. The Foundation also is the donor of various projects in Israel, e.g. Shaare Zedek hospital. Their latest campaign in this direction is collecting funds for the next equipped ambulance in the aftermath of the Har Nof synagogue massacre.

Patmos supports schools (Eden and Liman) and has donated many shelters to Israel.

Members of the Patmos Foundation Board and distinguished guests during the ceremony. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation       Awarded tenor Reijo Ikonen sings with accompaniment of acclaimed violist Päivyt Meller. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation

Members of the Patmos Foundation Board and distinguished guests during the ceremony. 
Awarded tenor Reijo Ikonen sings with accompaniement of acclaimed violist Päivyt Meller
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The Award Ceremony took place in Helsinki at the celebration dinner and concert in the presence of H.E. Dan Ashbel, Ambassador of Israel in Finland, Jacob Snir, director of the Berlin bureau of Keren Hayesod, members of the board of The Patmos Foundation, members of the Board and International Advisory Board of The Rogatchi Foundation, the leadership of the Helsinki Jewish community and the Central Board of the Finnish Jewish community, and distinguished international public figures, including Leo-Dan Bensky, president of the Maccabi World Union.

From the left: the Patmos Foundation activist Leena Metsämäki and Professor Carl Öhman, member of the Board of The Rogatchi Foundation. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation       From the left: Leo-Dan Bensky, President of Maccabi World Union, Inna Rogatchi, H.E. Dan Ashbel, Ambassador of Israel in Finland. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation

From the left: The Patmos Foundation activist Leena Metsämäki and Professor Carl Öhman, member of the Board of the Rogatchi Foundation. From the left: Leo-Dan Bensky, President of Maccabi World Union, Inna Rogatchi, H.E. Dan Ashbel, Ambassador of Israel in Finland. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The celebration dinner and warm and moving ceremony was enriched greatly by the exquisite concert conducted by internationally acclaimed violist Päivyt Meller, her young daughter and very able musician Julia Meller, and a very well-known musical couple in Finland and abroad, the prolific opera singer tenor Reijo Ikonen and harpist and cantele player Ulla-Stina Uusitalo-Ikonen; this couple are also notable philanthropists.

Young talented violist Julia Meller performs a difficult piece at the ceremony, accompanied by Ulla-Stina Uusitalo-Ikonen on cantele. Courtesy (C): The Rogatchi Foundation       Guests listen to the concert and speeches. From the left: Annu Saarinen, Ethel Salutskij, the head of the KKL bureau in Finland; Rony Smolar, prominent journalist and former vice-president of the European Jewish Council; and Pekka Haapasaari, the treasurer of The Patmos Foundation. Courtesy (C): The Rogatchi Foundation

Young talented violist Julia Meller performes a difficult piece at the ceremony, accompined by Ulla-Stina Uusitalo-Ikonen on cantele. 
Guests listening to the concert and speeches. From the left: Annu SaarinenEthel Salutskij, head of the KKL bureau in Finland; Rony Smolar, prominent journalist and former vice-president of the European Jewish Council; and Pekka Haapasaari, treasurer of The Patmos Foundation. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The celebration started with Inna Rogatchi's recent short film Jerusalem. My Stones which is her tribute to Jerusalem and Israel, and which was inaugurated at the celebration of the Day of Jerusalem 2014 at a special event in the Tallinn New Synagogue in Estonia in May 2014. This is one of the most popular short films by Inna Rogatchi.

In his warm speech, H.E. Dan Ashbel, Ambassador of Israel in Finland, told the guests how happy he and his wife Zahava were to be present at the occasion, and how important it is to ponder what 'solidarity' means under concrete circumstances and at the given moment. "Under the circumstances and due to the development of the situation in the world as it is, a solidarity which one could expect to be to unify people and to appeal to them naturally due to the humanistic foundation of the world, society and human relations, is not, however, something that can be taken for granted nowadays, sad as it is. The matter of solidarity nowadays is a matter of responsibility of people and countries towards each other, and living in the world we are in now, we all do need to be quite serious about it, indeed. In my understanding, solidarity is not only about need; it is also about happiness, of mutual understanding and true friendship and colleagiality. We do feel true solidarity during times of sorrow, and we do feel it also during times of inspiration and joy.

I would like to end my speech by a quote from a recent letter of the Speaker of the Knesset Yoel Yuli Edelstein to his friends, Inna & Michael Rogatchi. In this letter, the Speaker of the Knesset was responding to the Rogatchis' solidarity during the tragedy of the massacre at the Har Nof Synagogue in Jerusalem. He wrote to Inna and Michael: "We are grateful for your friendship and ongoing efforts to combat the baseless hatred that promotes such heinous acts. Indeed, this vicious crime must spur us to ensure that such beliefs are given no quarter, whether in Israel or anywhere else. We join you in praying that G-d may console the bereaved families, and I look forward to sharing happier tidings from Israel in a near future".

The ceremony's honourable speaker: H.E. Dan Ashbel, the Ambassador of Israel in Finland. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation       The ceremony's honourable speaker: Jacob Snir, director of the Berlin office, Keren Hayesod, the Israel National Foundation Fund. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation

The ceremony's honorable speakers: H.E. Dan Ashbel, Ambassador of Israel in Finland (left) and Jacob Snir, director of the Berlin office, Keren Hayesod, the Israel National Foundation Fund. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

Director of the Berlin Bureau of Keren Hayesod, the Israel National Foundation Fund, Jacob Snir, who came to Helsinki from Jerusalem to attend the ceremony, in his vivid and engaging speech mentioned the very close and long-term co-operation that Keren Hayesod has conducted with Patmos Foundation all over the world. In his speech, Mr Snir was talking about 'regular Jewish miracles' - such as the dramatic change of of the Negev desert that is happening right now, following the stunning vision of Ben Gurion decades before; and the biggest in the world Jewish community centre which appeared a couple of years before the current drama unfolding in Ukraine, in Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk, Inna Rogatchi's native city.

"I have come here, to Helsinki, from Israel where just a few days ago I participated in an unbelievable-but-true ceremony at Sde Boker, the place, the kibbutz, where Ben-Gurion has moved for his retirement, his last home where he has spent the last ten years of his life. I cannot stop thinking on his amazing vision - yet back in 1963, the leader of the Jewish state had envisaged the future development of that extremely daring place to develop just in the middle of the Negev desert. And today, we all were seeing amazing development in what used to be nothing but a desert. Today, you just cannot get an apartment in places in the Negev region, such as Dimona and the others, even if you are ready to put up a substantial sum for it. There is simply not enough apartments at the moment, as so many people would love to move in there. Isn't it a miracle? Of course, it is. Another 'regular Jewish miracle', as I call it. Or take another Jewish miracle of the sort. For three months I was learning to pronounce the name of the city where our laureate Inna Rogatchi was born, Dnepropetrovsk of Ukraine. Now I am not only familiar with that difficult name, but I visited the place while working together with Patmos on our very important project support, back in July 2014. And I was absolutely amazed by what I saw there - Menorah, the biggest in the world Jewish Community Centre, is such a building and an institution that it is hard to believe our eyes, especially to those who were busy helping Soviet Jewry, for decades, as I did. I know that Inna and Michael have done very much for this unique institution, and I am just amazingly grateful for being able to be there and to see their works there, and to hear on their input during many years of their philanthropic support of the Jewish community at the place native for their families. These 'regular Jewish miracles' are the essence of our Jewish history, during which so many times a help had been needed. Our long-term, devoted partner Patmos is providing just this kind of help to Jewish people, both in Israel and all over the world; and not 'just' help, but help with love, loving help. What can be more essential than this for 'a regular Jewish miracle' to happen?.. With all my and my colleagues' deepest concern, I can tell you that under the circumstances of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the Jewish people there, where there are many refugees already, will be needing more of our help, our joint help. And I am appealing to all of you on that, and am counting on our great friends in Finland. Congratulations, Inna!"

Distinguished guests of the ceremony. From the left: Matti Saarinen, Chairman of Kreab-Gavin Andersen Consulting. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation       Distinguished guests of the ceremony. From the left: Chairman of The Patmos Foundation Leo Laitinmäki, member of the International Advisory Board of The Rogatchi Foundation Maija-Liisa Marton, member of the Patmos Foundation board Jussi Ketola, Professor Carl Öhman, member of the Patmos Foundation board Marja Rantanen. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation

The distinguished guests of the ceremony 
From the left: Matti Saarinen, chairman of Kreab-Gavin Andersen Consulting
From the left: Chairman of The Patmos Foundation Leo Laitinmäki; member of the International Advisory Board of The Rogatchi Foundation Maija-Liisa Marton; member of the Patmos Foundation board Jussi Ketola; Professor Carl Öhman; member of the Patmos Foundation board Marja Rantanen
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

Member of the International Advisory Board of The Rogatchi Foundation, famous actress, director, translator, cultural and public figure, and close friend of Inna Rogatchi, Maija-Liisa Marton, appeared with her personal tribute to her friend, coming back to the beginning of their friendship, both a professional and personal one, and portraying Inna's and her husband Michael's way of artistic and charitable work over the last 25 years, both in Finland and internationally. "In the multiplicity of her professional and public activities, her writing, her research, her films, and her art photography projects, Inna was working tirelessly and very hard, always being driven by the main imperative, this is - always searching for truth. I do not need to tell you in more detail what a demanding work this one is.

A personality is always important in a person of creative profession, as we all know. And I can tell you all, dear friends, that Inna has a big heart; a very big heart; and that she always has time for her friends, and for people in general, does not matter how busy is she. I will always cherish a unique experience when Inna and Michael had invited me to share a Shabbat dinner at their home in Italy a few years back. Of course, I knew of the meaning of Shabbat for Jewish people, but when I was a part of it and saw how both Inna and Michael are celebrating it, in very literal meaning of the word, it has become one of the most cherished memories and experiences of my own for which I am deeply grateful to my dear friends Inna and Michael.

Listening to Maija-Liisa Marton's speech. In the centre: Eva Bensky, Wizo leader in Finland. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation       Maija-Liisa Marton addressing the public. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation

Listening to Maija-Liisa Marton's speech. In the centre: Eva BenskyWizo leader in Finland; 
Maija-Liisa Marton addressing the public. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

Reviewing the way in which Inna went through in her books, plays, films, her lectures and her studies, I see the difference between various periods of her life, of course. If Inna's early works were very passionate ones, her later works are quite subtle ones. But nevertheless, the message is similarly strong and based on very well-researched causes and a principaled stand and conviction. Passionately or subtly, Inna always knows precisely what she is doing; why, and what for. This current, subtle in means and style, but strong in message and content outcome of Inna's work in different media and fields of art and literature, in my opinion, comes to the best in her art photography collection The Routewhich had been exhibited at the European Parliament at the commemoration of The Day of Jerusalem there in 2012. In my essay which is a foreword to that very special collection of a thoughtful, deep and engaging work of heartfelt art portraying the historical journey of Inna's people, I wrote the following: "Inna Rogatchi's fine perception and sense of human frailty make her visual world interesting and deeply moving. It makes me reflect on the words of Paul Johnsonin his modern classic A History of the Jews: 'No people has ever insisted more firmly than the Jews that history has a purpose and humanity a destiny'. There could not be a better description of the statement than Inna Rogatchi's personal journey shared by us in her works".

Awarded and internationally acclaimed violist Päivyt Meller not only brilliantly performed several touching musical numbers during the ceremony, but also shared her thoughts in connection with the event with the public. "One of the pieces I will be playing tonight is a famous score from The Schindler's List. Each of us remembers this film in one's own way, and so do I. For me, the one particular scene from the film stays in my heart and mind for good. You might remember the scene when being among those whom he saved, Schindler gets gradually more and more agitated, nervous, and clearly unhappy. And you start to think: why is that? What is he up to? Why is he so increasingly unhappy?.. Then the camera takes us to his ring, that he just noticed on his own finger; and he exclaims in despair: "Why didn't I take off the ring?.. I could be saving one more person!.." The message from that scene stays in me forever. We could not be another Inna, but we should, each and everyone of us, do everything that we can, in our own places, 'to save one more'. To provide help to those who need it. Thank you and Congratulations, dear Inna!"

Violist Päivyt Meller performing on her Nicola Gagliano violin 1777. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation

Violist Päivyt Meller performing on her Nicola Gagliano violin 1777. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The Patmos Foundation president Pirkko Säilä was very generous in her Award Ceremony speech to Inna Rogatchi: "On the diploma, I read descriptive words of yourself, dear Dr Inna Rogatchi. Let me widen the expression: you are a great humanitarian. Coming back to personal experiences of our joint work for the sake of persecuted Jewish people, yet at the Soviet time, you worked so hard to provide urgent help to those who needed it, and not only practical help; you were not afraid to speak up and defend the people who were not able to speak for themselves.

Further on, you are a protector of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Your articles, you documentaries are well known around the globe. There is more, much more, and all the same - it is not enough said about you, dear Inna.

I admire your tireless energy and efforts to make things happen. I would like to compare you to a character of which we can read in the Bible, in Proverbs 31, the Wife of Noble character which is said to King Solomon by his mother to have the qualities of a woman who he should look for while searching for a wife for himself. "A wife of noble character, who can find her? She is worth far more than rubies. She sets about her work vigorously: her arms are strong for her tasks. She is clothed with strength and dignity. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Give her reward she has earned, and her works bring her praise at the city gate" (Proverbs 31: 10, 17, 25-26, 31).

The Patmos Foundation is very happy to award you with The Patmos Solidarity Prize 2014, dear Dr Inna Rogatchi!"

From the left: Leo-Dan Bensky and Inna Rogatchi listening to the Award Presentation. Courtesy (C): The Rogatchi Foundation       President of The Patmos Foundation Pirkko Säilä during her Awarding Speech. Courtesy (C): The Rogatchi Foundation

From the left: Leo-Dan Bensky and Inna Rogatchi listening to the Award Ceremony presentation. 
President of The Patmos Foundation Pirkko Säilä during her Award Ceremony speech. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

In her Award Ceremony acceptance speech, Inna Rogatchi defined a phenomenon of solidarity via the prism of her close and long-standing co-operation with The Patmos Foundation, and pointed out that "solidarity we need at times like the current ones when open, vile anti-Semitism has become a fashion; when terrorism has turned into routine, in what I call the 'beheading-for-breakfast' phenomenon, due to the ultimate weakness of the world's governments; when the general attitude towards Israel has become an exemplification of this new wave of enthusiastic anti-Semitism-without-borders".

Inna Rogatchi during her award acceptance speech. Courtesy (C): The Rogatchi Foundation

Inna Rogatchi during her Award Ceremony acceptance speech 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

In her speech, Inna Rogatchi also emphasised some goals for the solidarity-based joint work of those people and organisations who would like to support Israel and the cause of the Jewish people: "We do need this solidarity in order to bring up children in schools in the way that they know good from evil; and one of the key-points in that direction should be an official decision of including a trip to a former Nazi concentration camp into every school's curriculum world-wide. I have been working on this task for many years, and will continue do so until it will materialise.

We also need this solidarity to establish a fair balance in shamelessly biased media coverage regarding Israel in many countries, Finland included, where its public TV and Radio broadcast company YLE follow their colleagues at the BBC not only in the way of its funding by the tax-payers' money, but also in a shamelessly biased attitude against Israel.

We need this solidarity to be able to create jointly a fair attitude towards Israel and Jewish causes based on fundamental human rights and moral values, not distorted and manipulated ones.

We all need it for making life decent, - not only in Israel, but here, in Europe and elsewhere, as a sign of dignity and fairness and a measure of self-respect. And I am sure that being together and sharing our understanding and devotion, we will certainly make it happen".

Inna Rogatchi and the Patmos Foundation leadership during the Award Ceremony. Courtesy (C): The Rogatchi Foundation       Inna Rogatchi. Courtesy (C): The Rogatchi Foundation

Inna Rogatchi and The Patmos Foundation leadership during the Award Ceremony. 
Inna Rogatchi. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

In a reciprocating gesture, The Rogatchi Foundation presented to The Patmos Foundation with an artistic replica of Michael Rogatchi's well-known work Eve Spring. The Light of Belief, with a plaque saying "To the Patmos Foundation from the Rogatchi Foundation, with Solidarity".

Michael Rogatchi hands the giclée of his work The Eve of Spring to leaders of the Patmos Foundation. Courtesy (C) The Rogatchi Foundation

Michael Rogatchi hands the giclée of his Eve Spring work to the leaders of The Patmos Foundation. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

Inna Rogatchi's acceptance speech in full can be read at Inna Rogatchi's World - Speeches & Public Appearances section.

The Patmos Solidarity Prize 2014 Award Ceremony. From the left: Michael Rogatchi, co-founder and chairman of The Rogatchi Foundation; violist Päivyt Meller; H.E. Dan Ashbel, Ambassador of Israel in Finland; Jacob Snir, head of the Berlin office of Kereyn Hayesod, the Israel Foundation Fund; Leo Laitinmäki, chairman of the Patmos Foundation board; Inna Rogatchi; Pirkko Säilä, president of The Patmos Foundation; members of the Patmos Foundation Board Kimmo Metsämäki, Jussi Ketola, Marja Rantanen and Satu Räsänen. December 2014, Helsinki. Courtesy (C) The Patmos Foundation

The Patmos Solidarity Prize 2014 Award Ceremony 
From the left: Michael Rogatchi, co-founder and chairman of The Rogatchi Foundation; violist Päivyt Meller; H.E. Dan Ashbel, Ambassador of Israel in Finland; Jacob Snir, head of the Berlin office of Kereyn Hayesod, the Israel Foundation Fund; Leo Laitinmäki, chairman of The Patmos Foundation board; Inna Rogatchi; Pirkko Säilä, president of The Patmos Foundation; members of The Patmos Foundation Board Kimmo MetsämäkiJussi KetolaMarja Rantanen and Satu Räsänen. December 2014, Helsinki. 
Courtesy © The Patmos Foundation

Inna and Michael Rogatchi and The Rogatchi Foundation express their deepest gratitude to The Patmos Foundation and to all good friends and colleagues who attended the Award Ceremony and those who expressed their congratulations and good wishes in connection with The Patmos Solidarity Award given to Inna.

 

MAY 2014

The ROGATCHI FOUNDATION and the JEWISH RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY OF ESTONIA'S JOINT SPECIAL EVENT IN COMMEMORATION OF THE DAY OF JERUSALEM and the 7th ANNIVERSARY OF THE TALLINN NEW SYNAGOGUE

A special and joyful event on the occasion of the 7th anniversary of the Tallinn New Synagogue and in commemoration of the Day of Jerusalem was co-organised by the Jewish Religious Community of Estonia and The Rogatchi Foundation in Tallinn, Estonia, at the end of May 2014.

The programme of the Event was both intense and multi-sided and it included the opening of Michael Rogatchi's Jewish Melody exhibition of his original art series; addresses by Members of the Knesset and leaders of the World Jewish Congress in Israel; a greeting speech by the Finnish Ambassador in Estonia; several greeting addresses from Israel, Lithuania and Estonia; a special presentation Jerusalem, My Stones by Dr Inna Rogatchi; tasting of kosher wines; and a celebration dinner.

The event was opened by the hosts, with Rabbi Efraim Shmuel Kot, the Chief Rabbi of Estonia, who had been greeting the public in the completely full synagogue and introducing the participants. Specially selected historical footage on the touching scenes of June 7th, 1967 when Jerusalem was united by the Israeli army, returned guests to that unique moment in modern history. Rabbi Kot was also a master of ceremony for the first part of the evening.

Rabbi Efrain Shmuel Kot, Chief Rabbi of Estonia addressing the public at the Special Event on May 28th, 2014       Rebbetzin Kot and children attending the Special Event on May 28th, 2014

Rabbi Efraim Shmuel Kot, the Chief Rabbi of Estonia addresses the public at the Special Event on May 28th, 2014; Rebbetzin Kot and children attending the Special Event. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

For many guests, especially foreign ones, it came as a surprise that until 2007, Estonia had been the only country in Europe that did not have a synagogue, due to historical tragedies. In 1944, the great and beautiful Tallinn Synagogue, which was a pride of Tallinn Jewry, was bombed by the Soviet air force, with that magnificent building now destroyed, the rubble was removed from the Tallinn streets in 1947. For 60 years, almost three generations, Tallinn Jewry have had no normal house of prayer, and people have been using some sort of inadequate temporary options. From that perspective, the appearance of the Tallinn New Synagogue has its very special significance.

The chairman of the Jewish Religious Community of Estonia Mr Boris Oks - whose role in the new synagogue construction is a key one - addressed the audience with a warm speech emphasising how vital it is for any Jewish person to have their spiritual home, especially for the people who were deprived of it during so many decades. Mr Oks also shared with all those present his memories of the special and far from being easy process of building Beit-Bella Synagogue, from the beginning to the end.

Mrs Alla Jakobson, the chairwoman of the Estonian Jewish Community, greeted the public and remembered the hard life and devotion to the Jewish cause of the previous generations of Jews in Estonia, including her own father. In her vision, the more and deeper the current Jewish community of Estonia becomes with so many international guests visiting Tallinn from so many countries nowadays and they are all so happy to have such a beautiful and full of life and high spirit home for Jewish people as the new Beit-Bella Synagogue.

Chairman of the Jewish Religious Community of Estonia Mr Boris Oks addressing the public at the Special Event on May 28th, 2014Chairman of the Jewish Religious Community of Estonia Mr Boris Oks addressing the public at the Special Event on May 28th, 2014       Chairwoman of the Estonian Jewish Communith Ms Alla Jakobson addressing the public at the Special Event on May 28th, 2014

From the left: Chairman of the Jewish Religious Community of Estonia Mr Boris Oks, and chairwoman of the Estonian Jewish Communith Ms Alla Jakobson are addressing the public. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The many people that gathered in the Tallinn New Synagogue were very interested to hear addresses by leaders of the Israeli official delegation - MK Gila Gamliel and Colonel (Ret) Moshe LeshemGila Gamliel who is the youngest Member of the Cabinet in the history of Israel, also a rare woman in the Israeli government and the only public Israeli figure among the permanent delegations and commissions of the Davos Forum told about the firm stand of the Israeli public and politicians, their special feelings and position regarding Jerusalem as the united and un-divideable capital of the Jewish state, and infused the audience with her firm patriotism and her assured statehood approach.

Colonel (Ret) Moshe Leshem, legendary solider who nowadays is a member of the Executive Board of the World Jewish Congress in Israel touched the hearts of everybody present in the Tallinn Synagogue Main Hall. Along with another member of the Israeli official delegation former Knesset member Shai Hermesh, who is currently chairman of the World Jewish Congress, Israel, Colonel Leshem was among the Israeli soldiers who were fighting for Jerusalem on June 7th, 1967. The presence of those two people at the Tallinn event united all the participants in no time; we all felt that the Jerusalem walls are just next to us, and that historic events and battles fought 47 years ago were happening just around the corner. Moshe Leshem who had been born in Poland in 1944 to Jewish parents during the horror of WWII and the Holocaust, came to Israel with his family as a child on one of the well-known ships that were bringing Jewish survivors from Europe to Palestine after WWII; and they spent several years in the Camp for Immigrants, not an easy experience for anyone. He has fought for Israel all his life, and some of his and his people's battles were remarkable ones. The battalion that Colonel Leshev had been commanding, was the one who had built the bridge over the Suez Channel during the Yom Kippur War. Today, this notable Israeli soldier told people celebrating the Day of Jerusalem in the capital of Estonia of how proud he is having a great - and big - family in Israel, being enrooted in the Jewish state, and blossoming there in the new generations of his family.

Member of the Knesset Gila Gamiel speaking at the Tallinn Synagogue on May 28th, 2014       Member of the Executive Board of the World Jewish Congress Colonel Moshe Leshem speaking at the Tallinn Synagogue on May 28th, 2014

From the left: Member of the Knesset Gila Gamiel and Member of the Executive Board of the World Jewish Congress Colonel Moshe Leshem speaking at the Tallinn Synagogue, May 2014 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The next speaker was also from Israel, and it was as if he was continuing the emotional and re-assuring address of the distinguished Israeli soldier. "Every morning I awake with a smile on my face. I am a Jerusalemite, the father of three, and I am so very happy to wake up every morning in that remarkable place on earth" - said Josh Reinstein, the head of the Israeli Alliance Caucasus organisation in the Knesset. Josh who has been named one of the 50 most influential Jewish people worldwide according to a top-list of the Jerusalem Post of 2012, is doing a very important job as the Israel director of the Israeli Alliance Caucasus organisation which he leads, in the Israeli branch of it, since day one of its establishment by another legendary public figure, the great politician and famous Rabbi Benny Elon. With people like Josh, with their energy, belief in what they are doing, and all the efforts they are putting for the cause internationally, one can be sure that the much needed dialogue and mutual support between the Jewish and Israeli people and their friends and colleagues world-wide will be growing. The Alliance is cementing such mutual understanding on the inter-parliamentary level, and this is very valuable and important work bringing on long-lasting results, in the interests of all civilised community worldwide.

Andras Patkai from Hungary and head of the Israeli Alliance in Brussels and David Parsons, director for media at the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, were the other members of the official Israeli delegation.

H.E. Ambassador of Finland to Estonia Aleksi Härkönen addressing the audience at the Special Event in Tallinn on May 28th, 2014       Director of the Israeli Alliance Caucasus Josh Reinstein addressing the audience at the Special Event in Tallinn on May 28th, 2014

From the left: H.E. Ambassador of Finland to Estonia Aleksi Härkönen and Director of the Israeli Alliance Caucasus Josh Reinstein address the audience at the Special Event in Tallinn. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The President of the Rogatchi Foundation, Dr Inna Rogatchi was a master of ceremony of the second part of the evening.

She read the greeting letters from the Municipality of Jerusalem and from the Vilnius Jewish Public Library, and also conveyed to the public the personal greetings and congratulations from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia Mr Urmas Paet.

Inna Rogatchi addressing the public at the Special Event in Tallinn on May 28th, 2014

Inna Rogatchi addressing the public at the Special Event in Tallinn, May 2014 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

In the greeting address of the Municipality of Jerusalem, Yossi Sharabi, director of culture, social and leisure activities administration of the Municipality of Jerusalem, and Francoise Kafri, director of international relations and exchange administration, was written:

"We are delighted to send on this special occasion our very best wishes to the Estonian Jewish Community and to our dear friends, Inna and Michael Rogatchi and the Rogatchi Foundation, for your love and support of Israel and of Jerusalem as well as strengthening the cultural ties between Estonia and Finland.

It is heartwarming to know that the Jewish community has been revived in Estonia and that the 7th anniversary of the Beit Bella Synagogue is taking place on the day that celebrates the reunification of the City of Jerusalem.

We hope that the ties between Jerusalem and Estonia will strengthen and that you all will visit our city, meet its people and experience its special spiritual and cultural atmosphere".

In the greeting letter written and sent for the event by Zilvinas Beliaskas, director of the Vilnius Public Jewish Library which hosted Michael Rogatchi's Jewish Melody exhibition from September 2013 through March 2014, was written:

"We are so happy that the sounds and sights as well as the spirit of the Jewish Melody links us up today with all of you letting us breathe in the same rhythm of emotional excitement. We are so happy that the Jewish Melody singing bird has perched in Tallinn Synagogue now and its melody is still reverberating in Vilnius with very vivid remembrance. Our hearts are with you and we wish all the happy moments of aesthetical delight as well as long flourishing years for the Estonian Jewish Community".

H.E. Aleksi Härkönen, the Ambassador of Finland to Estonia, was very supportive and understanding in his thoughtful and meaningful speech. He described to the audience at length about the activities of Inna and Michael Rogatchis' Foundation in Finland and world-wide, and its impact and significance. He also was telling at more length about the purpose of The Rogatchi Foundation's support of educational activities in Estonia which is known as having very high standards, so to try to develop it into even more excellence is both a noble and demanding task; but it is always very good when the objections are high in activities like that. Mr Ambassador also expressed his respect and support for the Tallinn Jewish Community and the meaningful dates they were celebrating with all the guests, friends and supporters gathered together from many countries - Finland included as the closest neighbour and always standing friend.

Representatives of The Rogatchi Foundation from Finland at the Special Event in Tallinn: Tapio and Marja Holvitie and Maija-Liisa Marton

The representatives of The Rogatchi Foundation from Finland at the Special Event in Tallinn: Tapio and Marja Holvitie and Maija-Liisa Marton
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The other members of the Finnish delegation spoke at length at the celebration dinner. Famous actress, director and translator Maija-Liisa Marton, who is a member of the International Advisory Board talked about her personal experiences in after-war Finland, and how absolutely important the people's spiritual heritage is as a prerequisite for conducting one's own and one's community's life. Inna Rogatchi also told the guests gathered at the dinner, about Maija-Liisa's personal support and her personal stipend to a talented Jewish orphan girl from Ukraine who has made it to two top educational institutions, one in Israel and another in Vienna.

Finnish veteran politician and co-founder of the Finnish-Israel Culture Association Tapio Holvitie told in his speech at the celebration dinner about his many decades' experience of both parliament and public work with regard to international affairs issues and also about bringing the Israeli national heritage and legacy closer to the people living far from Israel, for better and deeper understanding of it, and for live, full and continuous dialogue.

Co-founder and president of The Rogatchi Foundation Dr Inna Rogatchi presented her new work that she completed to mark the Day of Jerusalem this year, 2014. Her essay The Feeling of Jerusalem and the accompanying video-essay Jerusalem. My Stones were presented to the guests at the Tallinn Event for the first time publicly. The video-essay was created by Inna Rogatchi on the collection of her fine art photography works The Jerusalem Album. The audience received the presentation wonderfully, saying that "there could not be a better presentation for such an occasion" as Tapio and Marja Holtivitie stated after the presentation, congratulating Inna. The Feeling of Jerusalem essay and Jerusalem. My Stones art video were both published by the Israel National News as the main material on the Day of Jerusalem coverage.

Inna Rogatchi's presentation to the audience at the Special Event in Tallinn on May 28th, 2014       Inna Rogatchi's work, The Cloud of Glory, from her collection Jerusalem. My Stones

Inna Rogatchi's presentation and the work from her collection Jerusalem. My Stones - The Cloud of Glory ©

In her presentation, Inna Rogatchi shared with the public a special story about her and her husband, Michael Rogatchi's personal and artistic relations with one of the most important and dramatic land-marks of Jerusalem, the Hurva Synagogue and its famous Arch. When both Michael and Inna Rogatchi saw the Arch of the Hurva Synagogue some 25 years ago, it went into both of their hearts, and stayed there, - said Inna. To the degree that Michael has painted his now famous My Stones. Jerusalem painting which belong to the Art Collection of the Municipality of Jerusalem, alongside works of Marc Chagall and other great artists who have loved Israel and Jerusalem with all their heart. Twenty years on, the Hurva Synagogue has been restored, to all its splendor, and this time Inna took one of her artistic photographs of the restored Hurva which has become the symbol of hope and life again. Moreover, together, Inna and Michael created a unique artistic collage merging Michael's painting of Hurva's Arch with Inna's photograph of Hurva restored. The art work which exists in only one copy is entitled Hurva Return. The Rogatchi family donated it to the outstanding Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetski who has played a pivotal role in making the restoration of Hurva possible and completed.

Hurva Returned original art collage by Michael and Inna Rogatchi

Hurva Returned original art collage by Michael and Inna Rogatchi

But the main point of Inna's speech was the "very special way in which a strong emotion caused by the dramatic history of ones' people and its spiritual land-marks could transform into a special and symbolic piece of art, to continue its life and bring out its message to the coming generations. That's what makes one's life and efforts worthy", - said Dr Rogatchi.

Michael Rogatchi and H.E. Aleksi Härkönen, Ambassador of Finland to Estonia, Tallinn on May 28th, 2014

Artist Michael Rogatchi and H.E. Aleksi Härkönen, Ambassador of Finland to Estonia, Tallinn, May 2014 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

World-renowned artist Michael Rogatchi, co-founder and chairman of The Rogatchi Foundation, started his address with personal memories from the Soviet Gulag in Kazakhstan where his family had been exiled to. "During the war of 1967, I was at the age of Bar-Mitzvah. Living in exile, in the steps of Kazakhstan, in the middle of huge Karlag, one of the vastest parts of the Soviet Gulag, we were following events in Israel painstakenly, even at the very big risk of further punishment for listening to Voice of America. I do remember all my life, so very clearly, the sunny day in June 1967 when our close friend, the man who did not get emotional easily, jumped to the air, with his hands waving and crying out of joy: 'We won! We won! We re-took Jerusalem! Jerusalem is ours again!' many people were frightened - so if it will lead to new arrests and further persecutions which would be only natural under the circumstances. But our friend, neither do we, our family, we did not mind - we won on that day, and we won our Jerusalem back to us, forever and ever. That's one of my most vivid childhood memories - and today, I am truly very happy to celebrate this so special day with you, our friends in Tallinn, with you, our dear guests, and especially with you, the great soldiers of the great Israeli army who did fight for Jerusalem on that morning in June 1967" - said Michael Rogatchi in his speech.

The artist also presented to the public his Jewish Melody collection at the exhibition opening at the event. This unique art series is dedicated to the memory of the artist and his wife's grandparents. And importantly, it is also a charitable event. The proceeds from the sales of Michael Rogatchi's original art works during the exhibition - from May 28th through September 10th, 2014 - will be supporting the school and educational activities of the Estonian Jewish Educational Centre. The school which is the best in Tallinn teaches both Jewish and non-Jewish children.

Artist, co-founder and chairman of The Rogatchi Foundation Michael Rogatchi at the Special Event in Tallinn on May 28th, 2014       Public at the Special Event at the Tallinn New Synagogue on May 28th, 2014

Artist, co-founder and chairman of The Rogatchi Foundation Michael Rogatchi at the Special Event in Tallinn; and public at the Special Event at the Tallinn New Synagogue. May 2014

In his address at the celebration dinner, Michael told about the time of entering the new month in the Jewish calendar, the month of Sivan. "The word 'sivan' means twins in Hebrew. And for me, the twins are the Jewish people living in Israel and those Jewish people who live in Diaspora. As for real twins, for either of them the other 'twin' is essential, either cannot live normally without the other. And there is one thing which is vital for those both twins in their life - it is Jerusalem", - said Michael Rogatchi.

Inna and Michael Rogatchi and The Rogatchi Foundation presented to the Tallinn New Synagogue and the Jewish Religious Community of Estonia The Lion of Jerusalem art work by Michael Rogatchi, in commemoration of the 7th anniversary of the Beit-Bella Synagogue in Tallinn.

Michael Rogatchi's The Lion of Jerusalem

Michael Rogatchi © The Lion of Jerusalem

More news on the Tallinn Special Event in May 2014 - in the News, Art Videos, and Inna Rogatchi's World - Other Writings pages.

June 2013

OPENING OF INNA ROGATCHI'S THE ROUTE. FAMILY EDITION EXHIBITION AT A LEADING UKRAINIAN MUSEUM

On June 20th, the opening of Inna Rogatchi's The Route. Family Edition exhibition took place at the Jewish Memory and Holocaust in Ukraine Museum in Dnepropetrovsk. The Museum which is part of the highly reputed Tkuma (Revival) Historical Institute is the largest of its kind in Eastern and Central Europe.

At the opening ceremony. Michael Rogatchi discusses the exhibition with Yan Sidelkovsky, co-ordinator of international projects of the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community; on the far right is Channy Schmerling, well-known Swiss philanthropist. Press office of Tkuma Institute

At the opening ceremony. Michael Rogatchi (centre) discusses the exhibition with Yan Sidelkovsky, co-ordinator of international projects of the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community; on the far right is Channy Schmerling, well-known Swiss philanthropist. Press office of Tkuma Institute.

The ceremony of the opening of The Route. Family Edition ceremony attracted a lot of public interest and has become a big international event.

Rabbi Gurevitch from France, the leader of national Jewish educational programmes, and his colleague from Israel look at Inna Rogatchi's works depicting the Warsaw Ghetto Wall (right) and a street of the Jewish ghetto in Vilnius, Lithuania (left)       Rabbi Gurevitch from France, the leader of national Jewish educational programmes, and his colleague from Israel look at Inna Rogatchi's works depicting the Warsaw Ghetto Wall (right) and a street of the Jewish ghetto in Vilnius, Lithuania (left)

Rabbi Gurevitch from France, the leader of national Jewish educational programmes, and his colleague from Israel look at Inna Rogatchi's works depicting the Warsaw Ghetto Wall (right) and a street of the Jewish ghetto in Vilnius, Lithuania (left).

Rabbi Yossi Kaminezki from the Ministry for Religious Affairs of Israel examines Inna Rogatchi's work depicting the bench of Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild in Cap Ferrat, France       Director of the Jewish elderly house Malvina Ruvinsky and her grand-daughter are next to the work depicting the street of the Jewish Quarter in Rome

Rabbi Yossi Kaminezki from the Ministry for Religious Affairs of Israel examines Inna Rogatchi's work depicting the bench of Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild in Cap Ferrat, France; on the right, director of the Jewish elderly house Malvina Ruvinsky and her grand-daughter are next to the work depicting the street of the Jewish Quarter in Rome.

The opening ceremony attracted many distinguished international guests, and has become a memorable event of shared memories and an ongoing legacy.

Meeting of good friends and colleauges: Chief Rabbi of Dnepropetrovsk Schmuel Kaminetzki (centre) and director of Tsivos Hashem International, executive director of the New York Jewish Children's Museum Rabbi Yerachmiel Benjaminson (left) at Inna Rogatchi's exhibition opening. Michael Rogatchi is in the centre

Meeting of good friends and colleauges: Chief Rabbi of Dnepropetrovsk Schmuel Kaminetzki (centre) and director of Tsivos Hashem International, executive director of the New York Jewish Children's Museum Rabbi Yerachmiel Benjaminson (left) at Inna Rogatchi's exhibition opening. Michael Rogatchi is in the centre.

The ceremony was opened by the head of the science department of the Museum Dr Anna Medvedovskaya who introduced the author to the public and told about the concept of the exhibition and its previous successful history at the European Parliament and at Yad Vashem. There were two key-speakers at the ceremony - Chief Rabbi of Dnepropetrovsk Schmuel Kamitezki and Rabbi Moishe Kotljarski, the leader of the Chabbad Luvabitch movement world-wide.

Rabbi Schmuel Kaminetzki spoke at the opening of Inna Rogatchi's exhibition       Dr Anna Medvedovskya spoke at the opening of Inna Rogatchi's exhibition

Rabbi Schmuel Kaminetzki (left) and Dr Anna Medvedovskya spoke at the opening of Inna Rogatchi's exhibition.

Chief Rabbi of Dnepropetrovsk Shmuel Kaminezki in his speech praised Inna's and Michael's efforts for bringing a cultural dimension into the busy life of the Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk, the second largest city and a very significant scientific and industrial centre of Ukraine. "For many years, we have regarded our community, the second largest in Ukraine, and quite significant in all of Eastern Europe, as Inna's and Michael's community, too. With joy and gladness, we also regard both of them as full members of our community. Those two people, two artists, big international cultural figures, have brought to our community a dimension which we all have been lacking here. This community and this city are very busy with business, banking, constuction, all kinds of business and financial activities, but culture we do lack. And if not for Inna and Michael, I do not know, how we would manage here in our big city and big community, in that vital respect. It was them, who tirelessly, one year after another, share their culture with us; not only their great talent, but also, quiet importantly, their great knowledge, their understanding, and their attitude. This is not to speak of their examplary generosity. It is thanks to them, a world famous artist and his multi-talented wife, that we are living a full life here having that vital and so rare and unique dimension of culture of the very best world quality brought to us by Inna and Michael. You two are our inspiration" - addressed Rabbi Kaminetzki to Inna and Michael Rogatchi and to the public.

The public was engaged during the vivid and interesting speech and blessing by the Chabbad Lubavitch leader Rabbi Moishe Kotljarski (on the right)       The public was engaged during the vivid and interesting speech and blessing by the Chabbad Lubavitch leader Rabbi Moishe Kotljarski (on the right)

The public was engaged during the vivid and interesting speech and blessing by the Chabbad Lubavitch leader Rabbi Moishe Kotljarski (on the right)

In his vivid and engaging speech, the leader of the Chabbad Lubavitch movement Rabbi Moishe Kotljarskiemphasised the role of a living, acting, energetic memory. "During all my life, I was coming to the understanding that remembering the past in still motion will not be bearing any fruit. That static remembrance will not pave a way for the continuation of life, ideas, actions and deeds. In such a situation, both soul and spirit will not be having the oxygen needed for a natural, strong and viable existence. Only a living, active memory is the nourishment which is a pre-condition for the real continuation of life, in its different ways and forms, both physical and spiritual."

"What I have been seeing here in this exhibition of Inna's work, and what I know the Rogatchis are doing in their artistic, educational and philanthropic activities world-wide, is exactly what I am talking about - the active, living memory. They are doing it repeatedly, completely consciously, having it as both their individual and joint concept, in their own creative work, and also in their educational and philantropic acivities for a quarter of a century now. They do it tirelessly and purposefully; with brilliant artistic confidence and full moral conviction - which is a special and rare merit in present day life. We will be going nowhere if people like the Rogatchis would not create and share with us these alive, speaking 'brick-stones' of our common memory. We and our children and granchildren won't be able to build any optimistic and viable future without acknowledgement of both distant and recent past which we all have been coming from. The Rogatchis' activities and their results are not only great in quality and noble in intention; they are a real contribution into all our futures, a very significant, indispensable contribution. And for that I am blessing the Rogatchis and everything that they are doing and planning to do in the future" - said the leader of the world Chabbad Lubavitch movement Rabbi Moishe Kotljarski.

Distinguished guests listen to Inna Rogatchi's speech at her exhibition's opening in Dnepropetrovsk       Distinguished guests listen to Inna Rogatchi's speech at her exhibition's opening in Dnepropetrovsk

Distinguished guests listen to Inna Rogatchi's speech at her exhibition's opening in Dnepropetrovsk.

In her speech, Inna Rogatchi underlined the concept of her ongoing project, The Route, and explained in more detail the project's Family Edition which she has donated to the Museum in Dnepropetrovsk in memory of her father Isaac Buyanover. The author told the public of the special character of the idea of The Route project:

"On the very long and dramatic journey of the Jewish people, from early Medieval age till today, a mostly forced journey, the historic way of Jewish people has been shaped into an interesting dualistic phenomenon: the journey has been a forced one, the conditions of life in most of the countries where Jewish people were coming to being forced from a previous place, had been far from cheerful. But due to the strength of their character, and also due to their talent and determination, Jewish people enriched the life of the societies of any and every country they had been forced to come to, to the extent that corresponding societies and the rest of the world too, quite naturally for themselves started to perceive the Jewish contributions into their life and history as their own national heritage. It is just impossible to imagine France without Chagall, or Czech Republic without Kafka, and it is the case for every country worldwide where Jewish people were forced to come on their long dramatic way of survival. But what a rich and enriching survival it was - and is, to a significant extent. This collection of works examines this way, The Routeof my people, in its historic respect and in its geographical dimension. This project has several editions which reflect the geography of The Route - the Brussels one, the Family Edition, the Krakow Edition focusing on Central Europe, and the American Edition including all the previous ones with its continuation on American soil."

"It is my honour to present this exhibition in the city of my and my husband's families, and the works making up the Family Edition of The Route tell of both personal and general history: two works on Dnepropetrovsk present in this collection show the past and future of the city where Jewish life had been huge, with 96 synagogues existing here before the Bolshevic revolution, where this life had been eradicated by the communist regime, and where, after its fall, this life has been restored to an unimaginable level, entirely thanks to the heroic effort of Rabbi Schmuel Kaminetzki who in my understanding is a real blessing to this city, the native place of Rebbe Schneerson and his family. It was one of the Rebbe's superb visions, to appoint Rabbi Kaminetzki to lead and restore Jewish life in the Schneerson family place, 22 years ago. Today, we all are witnessing a remarkable revival of Jewish life here, and my second work on Dnepropetrovsk, the one that shows the first prayer just minutes before the opening of the world's largest Menorah Jewish Community Centre here, symbolising that miraculous revival."

"As for Kazakhstan and its inclusion into the Family Edition collection, my husband's family and he himself as a small child, had been exiled there by the Soviet regime, sharing the destiny of millions of the victims of that sadistic totalitarian system. We all know that the Rebbe's father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Scheerson who used to be the Chief Rabbi of Dnepropetrovsk for more than 30 years, had also been arrested by the NKVD in 1939, and sent into exile to Kazakhstan where he died in 1944. So, the life-threads of our families, of the great Schneerson family, and of a very substantial part of the Jewish people had been weaved together, - and I have tried to reflect that it in my work, The Route project and its Family Edition presented here."

"Also important and interesting is that my own family was closely connected with the Schneerson family in Dnepropetrovsk: my step-great-grandmother, Dinah Paley was sister of Sergey Paley who had been a leader of the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community in the beginning of the XX century and who had been instrumental in electing the Rebbe's father, Levi Yitzchak Scheerson as Chief Rabbi of the city. Sergey Paley had been Chief Rabbi Schneerson's closest associate ever since. Also important is my great-grand-father Meer Chigrinsky who had been very popular in Dnepropetrovsk through the 1920s and 1930s due to his legendary honesty and diligence, who had helped Chief Rabbi Schneerson feed the Jewish community at the most critical time of the infamous famine in the mid-1930s. Meer Chigrinsky had been the head of Prodtorg, the office of the city administration responsible for the distribution of food. At that time of famine, he himself twice had been close to death from hunger, and our family barely survived as my great-grandfather absolutely refused to take any extra to feed himself or his family. When Chief Rabbi Levi Yitzhak Schneerson approached the city authorities with a request to provide him with the right to distribute flour among the Jewish community members - which was the way he had elaborated in order to save his people from death - it was my great-grandfather, Meer Chigrinsky, who helped the Chief Rabbi feed and sustain the community that saved them from death during that terrible famine. With all these historical ties engrained in my work, I am especially pleased to invite the public of Dnepropetrovsk and those who are visiting here, to enjoy this exhibition" - Inna Rogatchi told the audience.

The public at the opening of Inna Rogatchi's The Route. Family Edition exhibition at the Jewish Memory and Holocaust in Ukraine Museum. Dnepropetrovsk, June 2013       From right to left: Rebbetzin Sara Glick, Rebbetzin Feigy Benjaminson and Rabbi Benjaminson (New York) at the vernissage

The public at the opening of Inna Rogatchi's The Route. Family Edition exhibition at the Jewish Memory and Holocaust in Ukraine Museum. Dnepropetrovsk, June 2013. 
In the right-hand photo, from right to left: 
Rebbetzin Sara Glick, Rebbetzin Feigy Benjaminson and Rabbi Benjaminson (New York) at the vernissage.

According to the museum, "the exhibition is having great success and has evoked very high public interest, with people coming en masse to see it, and massive high end media coverage of it." The exhibition will be on display at the museum until the end of August 2013.

Happy moment at the exhibition's opening. Dnepropetrovsk. June 2013

Happy moment at the exhibition's opening. Dnepropetrovsk. June 2013

To read more about the collection there is a review of the exhibition: The Route of Inna Rogatchi

February 2013

MICHAEL ROGATCHI's YEAR 1953 PAINTING FOR THE LAOGAI MUSEM, WASHINGTON, D.C.

On February 7th, 2013, a special event took place at the Laogai Museum in Washington, D.C. - the celebration ceremony of the donation of Michael Rogatchi's Year 1953 art work to the Laogai Museum and Foundation. The event gathered distinguished politicians, diplomats, academics, artists, and media representatives. Prominent Finnish and European politician, Member of the European Parliament Sari Essayah, who also is a member of The Rogatchi Foundation's International Advisory Board, was the Guest of Honour at the event.

About the Year 1953 painting

Michael Rogatchi's Year 1953 (oil on canvas, 36 x 110 cm, 1993) is one of the most personal and special works by the artist. This work evokes his own memories of the realities of the Soviet Gulag where Michael was born back in 1953, a few months before Stalin's death, and where his family of Soviet political prisoners had been exiled in Kazakhstan, sharing the destiny of tens of millions of prisoners of the Gulag. This is first-hand evidence by a witness and later-day reflection of a person who grew up within the Gulag and the Soviet system, a person who has overcome it, and whose deep conviction and personal devotion is to fight the practices of totalitarianism with his best efforts. This work is also a tribute to all the victims of totalitarianism, both of the Gulag and the Laogai.

The London-based leading art expert Sam Chatterton-Dickson has noted Michael Rogatchi's Year 1953 painting in particular:

"The work is truly rare and special as it deals with historical phenomenon of utter importance, one of the most important in the XX century, and the artist's input here is his personal experience. This is a rare occurrance in the contemporary arts. The work also evokes the atmosphere of the massive repressions, and both psychological and physical terror that has been executed cruelly on a horrendous scale. Michael has succeeded here to create the art work which is as if 'breathing' the terror that had been instrumental in formation of both the regime, and millions of lives of the people who were living under it. The fact that Michael is one of those people, adds to the special characteristics of the art work, indeed." (2009).

Attending distinguished guests at the Donation Ceremony for Michael Rogatchi's Year 1953 painting to the Laogai Museum

From the left: 
Admiral David N. Rogers
Professor Juliana Geran Pilon
Professor John Lenczowski

  Attending distinguished guests at the Donation Ceremony for Michael Rogatchi's Year 1953 painting to the Laogai Museum

Michael Rogatchi's Year 1953 painting

  Attending distinguished guests at the Donation Ceremony for Michael Rogatchi's Year 1953 painting to the Laogai Museum

From the left: Harry Wu
leading anti-terror authority Erick Stackelbeck
historian Jerrold Schecter
artist Pat Mercer Hutchens
writer Leona Schecter

Distinguished guests at the Donation Ceremony for Michael Rogatchi's Year 1953 painting to the Laogai Museum
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

In his opening remark, Laogai Museum's Founder and Executive President Harry Wu greeted the distinguished audience and emphasised how important and even logical it is to have the art work that depicts the Soviet totalitarian system, for the Museum which tells in detail the repression machinery of China - as being inspired, both literally and metaphorically, by the Soviet totalitarian regime. "There is no coincidence that we are featuring in our Museum not Laogai only but also the Soviet Gulag and the Nazi concentration camps. They all are the prototype of evil", - said Harry Wu.

Harry Wu opens Michael Rogatchi's Donation Ceremony at the Laogai Museum. February 7th, 2013, Washington, D.C.

Harry Wu opens Michael Rogatchi's Donation Ceremony at the Laogai Museum. February 7th, 2013, Washington, D.C. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

Co-founder and President of The Rogatchi Foundation Dr Inna Rogatchi hosted the event. In her opening address, Inna gave some insights into her husband's artistic and personal background, and also analysed parallels between Michael's and Harry's life experiences.

"When a few years back, we flew to Kazakhstan as I was filming a documentary on Michael's life and work, I noticed that even for the camera men who were locals and for whom existing in the Karaganda landscapes was routine, even for them it was difficult to film what we did. You have a neat small house where Michael's family lived, and just a hundred meters in front of it, not more, there is a vast concentration camp, abandoned now, but was functioning at the time. On the left, there is a huge cemetery, so to say, but in fact, it is a giant pitch in which the remnants of thousands of prisoners were just ditched away for years. In this landscape a human being is raised; Michael spent there about 18 years, after his family had been exiled to that part of the Gulag, known as the Valley of Death, one of the most terrible parts of the Gulag in the Russian Far East where Michael was actually born. Michael does not talk much, if at all, about his and his family's experience in the Gulag; neither does he paint a lot concerning it. Apart from this painting, there is only one of Michael's works that exists that was inspired by his experiences in the Gulag. And one just cannot help but think - how crystallised must be the artistic message coming out of one's actual experience of such total horror. And how special this kind of work of art is.

Harry also spent about 19 years in the Chinese Gulag, known as Laogai; and what's important, he had been arrested and sent there not being a mature man, but just a kid under 19. To survive there and stay sane, a person does need extraordinary strength. But Harry's strength and commitment to unmask the ugly truth about the Chinese oppressive regime went far beyond 'just' surviving the camps. Following dissident movements all around the world for many years, and having many friends among those extraordinary courageous people, I do not know anyone who had voluntarily returned to the place of one's unimaginable tortures, in order to collect the evidence of the crimes of the regime. But Harry did it, and not just once, but several times. His first-hand hard-core evidence from Laogai, all those photos and documents are undeniable facts of what is really happening there. Harry brings out this truth with extraordinary focus and determination for twenty years by now. And without him and his activities, this world certainly would be different.

Dr Inna Rogatchi makes her opening remarks at Michael Rogatchi's Donation Ceremony

Dr Inna Rogatchi makes her opening remarks at Michael Rogatchi's Donation Ceremony. 
Credits: Photo © Pat Mercer Hutchens, 2013 -

In my understanding, a human being can be deprived of anything, despite one's dignity, for those who have it. Harry's life, his Museum, all what he is doing is a living statement of this simple but fundamental fact. And we both, personally, and as the representatives of our Foundation, are very happy that this particular painting of Michael's will be living now on the walls of the Laogai Museum", - said Inna while handing to Harry Wu The Rogatchi Foundation's Donation Letter and the Certificate of Authenticity for the Year 1953 painting.

Artist Michael Rogatchi did share some of his memories from his childhood in the Gulag and his understanding of the human right situation in China:

"In one of his letters to us, Simon Wiesenthal wrote: 'As time goes on, it is very important that there are people who still remind the rest of the atrocities of the past, to prevent atrocities of present and future'.

As it is well known to all of us, Harry Wu is precisely such a person – the one who still reminds all of us what has happened, and what is going on in China today, as well. And the Laogai Musem is a testimony of Harry's and his colleagues' stand and work.

This museum is incredibly important as it provides people with the unique possibility of seeing the ongoing horror in a huge country with their own eyes.

Decent people, those who respect and value dignity, see the situation with human rights in China as it is, while some other people are looking for cheap labour opportunities there. This is a serious distinction.

The totalitarian system has no nationality. It was Soviet instructors, specialists from the Gulag who helped their Chinese comrades set up the Laogai in the form it is. They provided the 'know-how' of engineering and construction; they trained the Chinese personnel; they provided the entire supervision over the Laogai's establishment and functioning.

Dr Michael Rogatchi speaks at the Donation Ceremony at the Laogai Museum

Dr Michael Rogatchi speaks at the Donation Ceremony at the Laogai Museum
Credits: Photo © Pat Mercer Hutchens, 2013 -

This painting was done 20 years ago. I did it for myself. All those twenty years it hanged in my studio, just in front of my eyes. The image of the painting was a part of my childhood. I grew up in Kazakhstan where our family had been exiled, in the place called Karlag which was a major part of the Gulag. Going out with my friends and taking a walk, we regularly found human skulls, with an accurate hole in them.

Due to that, I understand very well what Laogai was and is.

My wife and I have decided that there is no better place for this painting than the Laogai museum.

It is a huge honour for me that my work has found its home at the Laogai museum."

Michael Rogatchi and Harry Wu at the Laogai Museum during the Donation Ceremony. February 7th, 2013, Washington, D.C.

Michael Rogatchi and Harry Wu at the Laogai Museum during the Donation Ceremony. February 7th, 2013, Washington, D.C. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

Famous historian and author of many key books on modern history Jerrold Schecter reminded the audience in his note:

"I was working as the Times correspondent in China in the 1960s, and the building of Laogai had been going on just then. Then the first book appeared about the Chinese atrocities in the camps, it was a memoir by Jean Pasqualiniwho was imprisoned there and survived. That was my first real knowledge of the Chinese Gulag, now known as Laogai, thanks to the giant work that Harry has been doing for many years here in the USA consistently. Soon after my Chinese years, I and my family spent many years in Moscow, where I was working as the chief of the Timesbureau from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. And again, first-hand knowledge of the Gulag and what was going on there, was just flooding in, especially during the reign of Khrushchev.

Still, I believe, there is nothing that can surpass first-hand experience, personal knowledge, the experience that both Michael and Harry and their families went through. And what is striking is not 'just' the similarities; one would expect it from two systems being virtually dentical in their origin; but the mutual coherence of both regimes. That coherence had been also mutually enforcing the repressive machines of both states, both vast countries, the Soviet Union and China. And from that point of view, Michaels' strong and very telling painting here at the Laogai Museum, is a remarkable statement. Congratulations to both parties, Michael and Inna and their Rogatchi Foundation, and Harry and his Museum, on that.

Famous historian and the author Jerrold Schecter remembers his time in China at the Donation Ceremony

Famous historian and the author Jerrold Schecter remembers his time in China at the Donation Ceremony. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

With all that we do know now and continue to learn, thanks to Harry and his work, the picture would be rather gloomy and depressing. But this morning, before coming here to this ceremony, I have read in the Wall Street Journal that the Chinese authorities have announced that they are closing down several Laogai facilities in a couple of provinces. Of course, it is just a few camps out of hundreds, if not thousands; but could it be that it is the beginning of the fall of the Laogai? Nobody believed that the huge Soviet oppressive regime will fall and collapse - but we witnessed that is exactly what has happened. So, let's hope that the Chinese regime won't be able to run for long in its current way, and in particular, that horrendous Laogai will end as the Gulag did. I wish us all to see this day, and do hope that our wish will become truth rather sooner than later".

The Founder and President of the Institute of World Politics, one of the key-figures in the decades-long struggle for freedom and human dignity professor John Lenczowski addressed the guests of the ceremony in the following way:

"I was one of the people who was in the situation-room during a good part of the Cold War. And I know first-hand of all those mutual submarines chases, and numerous things like that with which we all were so busy all that time. But the fact is that it all was not about submarine chases, or military excercises. It was all about morality; about human character and behaviour; about dignity as its key element, and about convictions based on one's values. The longer I live, the more I analyse that period of immense effort of all sorts, the more I see and am convinced that the Cold War, the opposing and resisting the forces of inhumanity and terror, was about a personal morality and the strength of that morality. We saw it both at the gross level and at the highest level; we saw it in agencies and in the situation rooms; we saw it inside the Gulag and Laogai camps and the psychiatric wards of both of those criminal systems. And we are seeing it among the people who overcame the crushing oppressions and are still fighting for human dignity, the ultimate value of our lives.

Look at Michael - he well could say after leaving those terrible realities of the Gulag behind him, 'OK, I am out of it, and don't want to have anymore to do with that life with human skulls on the way of a kids' walks. Enough. Forget it.' But instead, he has been and is devoted to creating a testimony; and done by the means of art, this testimony is speaking just straight to our minds and hearts.

Michael is a phenomenal artist. His works which I have seen are those of an extremely powerful, fantastic imagination. The power of his imagination is overwhelming, it is simply tremendous, unbelievable. And the fact that the artist as himself, if turning to such matter as the reality of the Gulag, is doubly remarkable as he has thrown his immense talent to support his human, civic stand.

Founder and President of the Institute of World Politics professor John Lenczowski shares with the audience his thoughts about human dignity in the modern world

Founder and President of the Institute of World Politics professor John Lenczowski shares with the audience his thoughts about human dignity in the modern world. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

Many of us sitting here have been moral witnesses of the harsh realities of the Cold War, and of many essential phenomena that followed it. We saw many people who were the champions of truth, the heroes of that ongoing battle for dignity - people like Vladimir Bukovsky, people like Harry Wu, people like Jerrold Schecter; those who were honest in seeing the truth and who were brave in telling the truth loudly, reaching to the public as wide as possible. Those people, those heroes are in our memory, and their brave and decent stand against tyranny will stay in history, it has been imprinted there already.

And it is very good to have Michael and Inna Rogatchi here, in the USA, in Washington, D.C., with us, as they are bringing with them the same stand, the same understanding, the same devotion and the same determination - to stay as moral witnesses to the ongoing battle for moral values, to be continiously committed, as we know and see, in their deeds and activities, to this vital process of emphasising human dignity throughout the unfolding of our history, and to bring an element of creativity into that which is rare and truly unique. Talented artists with a strong moral stand and convictions are talking not to minds only, but to the hearts of people, very importantly. Anyone who could have a look at this painting of Michael's, would see that a creative image can express things much more powerfully than many words would do.

I salute Harry's extraordinary courage and his systematic quest for truth on Laogai, and I also thank Michael for his outstanding painting; the anti-totalitarian testimony created by the Gulag survivor himself. This painting just cannot be at a more convenient place for such testimony. It will remind about the cause of dignified life to all of us."

The Guest of Honour at the ceremony, one of the leading Finnish and European politicians, Member of the European Parliament Sari Essayah, enlightened the audience on Michael Rogatchi's biography and the Rogatchi family's connections to Finland:

MEP Sari Essayah speaks at Michael Rogatchi's Donation Ceremony at the Laogai Museum in Washington, D.C.

MEP Sari Essayah speaks at Michael Rogatchi's Donation Ceremony at the Laogai Museum in Washington, D.C. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

Sari Essayah told the audience about Michael's scientific background, his work as a neurochemistry scientist and his scientific works in that direction; she also told about the moment when Michael had finished his artistic education in St Petersburg with the leading artists there. Sari told to the primarily American audience about Michael's work and life in Finland and many of his exhibitions worldwide, and about his and his wife Inna's philanthropic activities.

"Michael is a famous and highly respected artist in Finland and in many other European countries, his works have been exhibited very widely, and they belong to the leading public and cultural institutions both in Finland and in many countries worldwide. Inna is known as an established art photographer, but I would like to remind the distiguished public that she also is a very famous writer. For over 25 years, both Inna and Michael have been involved in very many charitable activities in Finland and elsewhere in the world; and given Michael's biography and his and his family's life and story, it is only natural that today him and The Rogatchi Foundation are donating this very special painting of Michael to the Laogai Museum. Inna and Michael have been Finnish citizens for a long time now, and on a personal note, I have to say that I am proud to be a co-citizen with Inna and Michael Rogatchi, and to be a member of the International Advisory Board of their Rogatchi Foundation" - said MEP Sari Essayah.

Sari also told the audience in detail the principles and ways of the European Parliament's Human Rights Committee, and as a senior member of that important committee, she expressed her commitment to the causes of human rights, and the Laogai issues which are the screaming examples of the consistent, numerous and ongoing violations of human rights, including those of women, children, and elderly among them.

MEP Sari Essayah concluded her speech expressing her "hope that Laogai will disappear in the same way as the Gulag did, and that it will happen as soon as possible".

The Guest of Honour MEP Sari Essayah and the Laogai Museum Founder Harry Wu unveiled the donated painting to the cheer of the invited guests.

Guest of Honour MEP Sari Essayah and Harry Wu unveil Michael Rogatchi's Year 1953 painting in the Laogai Museum, Washington, D.C.

Guest of Honour MEP Sari Essayah and Harry Wu unveil Michael Rogatchi's Year 1953 painting in the Laogai Museum, Washington, D.C. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

In his closing remarks, outstanding fighter for human rights Harry Wu said:

"There is no coincidence and there is nothing accidental in the fact that Michael's painting has been donated to our Museum: the first ever Chienese concentration camp, where I was sentenced to, was built entirely by a Soviet team, and supervised by Soviet representatives. The first Chinese concentration camp, very symbolically, and many many other camps following, had been entirely Soviet 'products'. During the Chinese regime, there has been from 40 to 50 million people murdered in those concentration camps of Laogai, the Chinese Gulag. When I was freed, and arrived to the West, and in a while, started to do something regarding the Communist regime crimes in China, I was asked by The Washington Post journalist here in Washington: 'Harry, what is your dream?..', and initially I did not know the answer, but then I said: 'My dream is that Laogai word would become a recognised term, a word in the Oxford English Dictionary, and from there on, in every dictionary in every language in the world, to symbolise the crimes which are ongoing in China'. We started to work, and we worked all the time, and in ten years the word 'Laogai' did appear in the Oxford Dictionary, and from there - in all dictionaries of all languages; Laogai has become a recognition of what's going on in China. My dream has come true, in that respect - of people's awareness, at least.

Look at this painting - even without knowing Michael's biography and his life, one can feel and understand that this painting is first-hand testimony. Michael's father was a prisoner of the Gulag; Michael was born in the Gulag, just shortly before Stalin's death. Otherwise, we don't know how Michael's and his family's life would have developed, and what could come out of it. And then, his family was sent to many years of exile in Kazakhstan, another big place of the Gulag. There is certainly a big sum that this painting has been valuated at. I have to say to you: I do not care how much this painting costs in figures, I am not interested in sums. This painting is valuable; it is very, very valuable - because this is a real person's memories, his testimony, in which there is the story of his family, but also of very many people and their families, millions of those, both of the Gulag and Laogai. Thank you, Michael".

Inna Rogatchi, Harry Wu and Michael Rogatchi at the Donation Ceremony at the Laogai Museum, Washington, D.C.

Inna Rogatchi, Harry Wu and Michael Rogatchi at the Donation Ceremony at the Laogai Museum, Washington, D.C. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

Remarkably, distiguished guests stayed for a while in this unique Museum after the ceremony. Many of them compared the exhibits in the museum, the photographs from the Chinese concentration camps, with Michael Rogatchi's Year 1953 painting, underlining the similar patterns both in photographs and the painiting, and the lives that produced them.

The Rogatchi Foundation intends to continue its support and co-operation with the Laogai Museum and the Foundation in its unique and notable resistance to the ongoing system of massive opressions in China, and to stand firmly on the vitality of freedom and dignity of life for people everywhere.

Michael Rogatchi and Harry Wu with friends at the Donation Ceremony at the Laogai Museum. February 7th, 2013

Michael Rogatchi and Harry Wu with friends at the Donation Ceremony at the Laogai Museum. February 7th, 2013. 
In the front row, from the left: MEP Sari Essayah, writer and historian Leona Schecter, Inna Rogachi, Michael Rogatchi, professor Juliana Geran Pilon, the Laogai Museum Founder and Executive President Harry Wu, and Dr Roberta Pieczenik
In the back row, from the left: culture attache of the Finnish Embassy in the USA Heini Rekola, President of the Institute of World Politics professor John Lenczowski, Brigadier General (Ret) James Hutchens, artist Pat Mercer Hutchens, writer and historian Jerrold Schecter
Credits: Photo © Pat Mercer Hutchens, 2013 -

December 2012

MICHAEL ROGATCHI CELEBRATES CHANUKAH WITH PRESENTING TO THE TURKU SYNAGOGUE THE PORTRAITS OF ITS ELDEST MEMBERS

On the eve of Chanukah 5773 (December 2012) Michael Rogatchi has presented to the Turku Synagogue, the home of his congregation in Finland, with three masterly portraits of the congregation's eldest members.

Michael Rogatchi's portraits (from left to right) of Mikael Meishu Rubinstein, Reuben Goldberg, and Mikael Mejse Dryzun on the wall of Turku Synagogue in Finland

Michael Rogatchi's portraits (from left to right) of Mikael Meishu RubinsteinReuben Goldberg, and Mikael Mejse Dryzun on the wall of Turku Synagogue in Finland.

The event was a part of the ongoing commemoration of the Turku Synagogue, the second largest in Finland. During the presentation ceremony, Tomer Huhtamaki, the chairman of the Turku Jewish community said: "In the way of thinking of our community's future in the year of the 100th anniversary of our synagogue, it will be right to express our gratitude to the elder generation of our community for all that work that they have been doing all those years to keep the life of the synagogue vivid and the spirit of the congregation high. What we all are experiencing now is the live implementation of Le dor va dor, the essential Jewish way of passing knowledge and tradition from generation to generation without interruption and loss."

That's why the brilliant idea of Michael Rogatchi, world-famous artist who is a key-member of our synagogue minyan, was received by all of us here so happily: "Let's get into our synagogue the portraits of our minyan's three elders, to remind the coming generations that in this hundred-year-old synagogue of Turku, the orthodox Jewish traditions were well preserved and dutifully maintained; let's remind the coming generations also who were the people who have made it all happen. On Channukah eve, there is no better time to inaugurate these masterly done portraits, and to salute our eldest members, Reuben GoldberdMejse Dryzun and Meishu Rubinstein. On behalf of the entire congregation, I am thanking and saluting also the father of the great idea, and the great artist Michael Rogatchi - Le Chaiym!"

The eldest members of the Turku synagogue are well known people with distingushied merits during their lives and services to the second largest Jewish congregation in Finland. 93-year-old Reuben Goldberg is one of the bravest veterans of the Finnish Winter War and also of the Israel War of the Independence; 85-year-old Mejse Dryzynis from a dynasty of Rabbies and distingushed Torah scholars; 82-year-old Meishu Rubinstein was the gabai(custodian) of the Turku synagogue over several decades.

In his speech, Michael Rogatchi said: "I have had the idea to paint the portraits of these three very modest but truly great men for a few years now. When I did enter this synagogue many years ago, Reuben Goldberg showed me the place to pray, next to him; the person who knows the Torah by heart. I'm still standing next to Reuben every Shabbat, and it is one of the cornerstones of my life. All those years, Mejse Dryzun whose father was the last Rabbi of the Turku congregation, has and still is enlightening me, and the other members, on any issue regarding the rite and the tradition. All those years, Meishu Rubinstein, who had kept our synagogue alive and functioning over the decades, including very uneasy periods, was and is 'the guardian angel' of our spirit. I owe to all these three strong and devoted Jewish men, my dear friends, a good part of my personal attachment to the congregation and synagogue of Turku, and they are an indispensable part of my life. Le Chayim!"

Speaking to the audience on behalf of the heroes on this warm and meaningful occassion, Mikael Mejse Dryzun has told: "We represent here the elder generation of our community. My father and grand-father both were Rabbies in Turku. My friends and their families count generations back from this day when our synagogue in which my father was serving, celebrates its 100th anniversary. It is very important for us, it is vital, in fact, to see that our tradition lives, and that it is in the good and able hands of the generation which has come to take the thread from our hands, and is doing it both confidently and devotedly. As for this wonderful and complete surprise of the portraits, excellent portrayals, I should emphasise, it is a very great honour for all three of us to have our portraits to be on the wall of the synagogue where life has been going on for us and our families over several generations. We all are immensively grateful to the artist, Michael Rogatchi, for his wonderful idea and great work, to the community's chairman for supporting and implementing this idea, and to all of you who have come today to be here with us. Le Chaiym!"

The portraits can been seen at the ceremonial hall of the Turku synagogue.

 


 

October 2012

INNA AND MICHAEL ROGATCHI VISIT JEWISH ORPHANAGES IN UKRAINE

In the course of their visit to Dnepropetrovsk, Inna and Michael Rogatchi visited two orphanages where Jewish boys and girls are living and studying. Both Family Homes are run by the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community and by very devoted people led by the extraordinary efforts of Yossi and Sara Glick who have been working with children there for many years now.

Shabbat eve meetings of Inna and Michael Rogatchi with boys and girls at Family homes in Dnepropetrovsk. October 2012       Shabbat eve meetings of Inna and Michael Rogatchi with boys and girls at Family homes in Dnepropetrovsk. October 2012

Shabbat eve meetings of Inna and Michael Rogatchi with boys and girls at Family homes in Dnepropetrovsk. October 2012 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

Inna and Michael Rogatchi, accompanied by ElenaVladimir and Oleg Lifshitzs, the family representing the Ukrainian branch of The Rogatchi Foundation in Dnepropetrovsk, has met the children at the Shabbat eve, and brought with them specially made for the children big celebrative cakes. Not surprisingly, the cakes were met with huge enthusiasm of the children. The Rogatchi family has been trying to help those kids in their native city for a few years now by establishing The Rogatchi Foundation special annual stipendium for them in 2011.

Children from Family homes for boys and girls in Dnepropetrovsk are meeting with Inna and Michael Rogatchi, October 2012       Children from Family homes for boys and girls in Dnepropetrovsk are meeting with Inna and Michael Rogatchi, October 2012

Children from Family homes for boys and girls in Dnepropetrovsk are meeting with Inna and Michael Rogatchi, October 2012 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

For the next year (2012-2013), the stipendium will be doubled, and the number of its recipients will be increased too, from two children previously, a boy and a girl, to six now, three boys and three girls, to receive the awards. The stipendium condition was modified, as well - additionally to the best knowledge of Torah and Jewish history for boys, and the Jewish traditions and history for girls, this year the best results in general knowledge would be accounted for as well. Inna and Michael Rogatchi told about these new conditions, the enlarged sum of the stipendium and the number of its recipients, to the kids in both Family Homes, and explained to them that the stipendiums will be awarded in early June 2013, upon the results of the children's school year.

Children from the Dnepropetrovsk Family Houses are enjoying the Shabbat Eve meetings with Inna and Michael Rogatchi. October 2012       Children from the Dnepropetrovsk Family Houses are enjoying the Shabbat Eve meetings with Inna and Michael Rogatchi. October 2012

Children from the Dnepropetrovsk Family Houses are enjoying the Shabbat Eve meetings with Inna and Michael Rogatchi. October 2012 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

In both Family homes, Inna and Michael Rogatchi handed their personal presents to every child - framed and signed by the author, Inna Rogatchi's original fine art photographs, a different one for each person. The girls received colourful flower pictures from the Rogatchis' garden in Finland and their home in Italy; the boys - the works from Inna's Power of Light collection depicting various Judaica artefacts and symbols from the Rogatchis' private collection. It was very interesting to observe as all the children who were invited to choose the works which they liked and would like to have as their own, did pick those ones which were suited to their character the most. The result was that everyone left extremely happy.

Director of the Dnepropetrovsk Family Houses Yossi Glick at the meeting of his boys with Michael Rogatchi

Director of the Dnepropetrovsk Family Houses Yossi Glick at the meeting of his boys with Michael Rogatchi

The idea of those gifts was to provide every child from Family homes in Dnepropetrovsk with something memorable, beautiful and their own. Additionally, The Rogatchi Foundation decided to provide the children with some practical needs as well, boots for girls and warm scarfs for the boys on the eve of the winter season.

Inna and Michael Rogatchi told the children from both Family homes that they are looking forward to meeting them again in early June 2013. It was a memorable and special Shabbat eve, indeed.

Young friends of Rogatchi family are enjoying their presents at the Shabbat eve. Dnepropetrovsk, October 2012       Young friends of Rogatchi family are enjoying their presents at the Shabbat eve. Dnepropetrovsk, October 2012

Young friends of Rogatchi family are enjoying their presents at the Shabbat eve. Dnepropetrovsk, October 2012 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

 


 

October 2012

THE ROGATCHI FOUNDATION'S FOUNDERS HAVE MET WITH THE UKRAINIAN JEWISH SCHOOL STUDENTS

During their visit to Dnepropetrovsk, Inna and Michael Rogatchi met with students of the Jewish school in Dnepropetrovsk. During a long and cordial meeting, the founders and co-chairmen of The Rogatchi Foundation announced the new terms of their Foundation's annual Stipendium named after the great teacher Anna Bujanover, the writer Inna Rogatchi's mother.

Inna and Michael Rogatchi, and the executive director of the Menorah JCC Center of Dnepropetrovsk Zelig Brez at The Rogatchi Foundation founders meeting with the students. October 2012

Inna and Michael Rogatchi, and the executive director of the Menorah JCC Center of Dnepropetrovsk Zelig Brez at The Rogatchi Foundation founders meeting with the students. October 2012 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The Foundation decided to double the financial part of the Anna Bujanover Stipendium, and to spread it over six children, instead of only two as previously, three boys and three girls who would be demonstrating the best desire and achievements not only in their Jewish studies, but, importantly, in their general education as well.

Inna & Michael Rogatchi talking to the Jeiwsh students in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. October 2012 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

During their long, funny and warm discussion, both Inna and Michael Rogatchi told the students things they did not necessarily know, such as the history of The Rogatchi Foundation, and the distinguished international personalities who were and still are involved in their activities, from late Maestro Rostropovich and the Queen of Denmark to late ballet genius Maurice Bejart and Paul and Linda McCartney.

Michael Rogatchi also vividly told the students the merits of as wide an education as possible for every person citing the memoirs of the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, legendary survivor Rabbi Lau and his encounters with the 7th Lubavitch Rabbi Menahem M. Schneerson. Rabbi Schneerson had a remarkable education and unsaturatable desire to learn and to know - and not only theological matters but the entire package of knowledge that a person is able to get. He had as many as six doctoral degrees in different sciences, from physics to math and philology, and that fundamental knowledge was quite important ground for the incredible achievements of the 7th Lubavich Rabbi that has allowed him to influence so positively so many people in a few generations world-wide, - said Michael Rogatchi to the students.

Michael Rogatchi (right) is discussing educational issues with Zelig Brez, the executive director of Menorah JCC (left), and Rabbi Reuven Choupin, director of the Dnepropetrovsk Yeshiva 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The Anna Bujanover Stipendium award ceremony will take place early June 2013 in conjuction with the opening of Inna Rogatchi's The Route. Family Edition historic art photography exhibition in Dnepropetrovsk Museum of the Menorah JCC.

October 2012

The ROGATCHI FOUNDATION DONATES ORIGINAL PRINTS OF PAT MERCER HUTCHENS WORKS TO THE HOLOCAUST MUSEUM IN DNEPROPTEROVSK

In the course of the ceremonies commemorating the opening of the Menorah Center and The Jewish People's History and the Holocaust in Ukraine museum in Dnepropetrovsk, The Rogatchi Foundation came with a number of artistic and educational donations. One of them was a set of original author-signed prints of the well-known works by Pat Mercer Hutchens from her Auschwitz Album Revisited series.

Inna and Michael Rogatchi present Pat Mercer Hutchen's works from her Auschwitz Album Revisited series in Dnepropetrovsk museum. October 2012

Inna and Michael Rogatchi present Pat Mercer Hutchen's works from her Auschwitz Album Revisited series in Dnepropetrovsk museum. October 2012 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

During the donation ceremony, Inna Rogatchi told the audience the story of both the Auschwitz Album, one of the most striking and unparalleled documents of WWII; and she also related the story of the re-creation of that powerful, unique history lesson by Pat Mercer Hutchens, the American artist, true Believer, staunch supporter, with her husband legendary US Army General Jim Hutchens, of the state of Israel and the Jewish cause and people.

Inna Rogatchi tells the story of the creation of the Auscwitz Album Revisited by Pat Mercer Hutchens at the museum's section devoted to Auschwitz

Inna Rogatchi tells the story of the creation of the Auscwitz Album Revisited by Pat Mercer Hutchens at the museum's section devoted to Auschwitz 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

In her donation speech, Dr Inna Rogatchi emphasised that Pat Mercer Hutchens created her own reality while working on the Auschwitz Album Revisited; the artist was not only re-creating existing photos of the actual horror committed by the Nazis in Auschwitz, but while working on her reading, revisiting those snap-shots, she was able to add to the episodes depicting her own vision, her own accent, focus, details. And in that new reality, we can read the artist's own attitude to the horror committed against Jewish people.

Inna and Michael Rogatchi present the works of Pat Mercer Hutchens to the director of the Dnepropetrovsk Holocaust Museum Dr Igor Schupak

Inna and Michael Rogatchi present the works of Pat Mercer Hutchens to the director of the Dnepropetrovsk Holocaust Museum Dr Igor Schupak 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The moral stand of Pat Mercer Hutchens which transpires from her works, is a vital line of living memory. The Rogatchi Foundation will continue to work together with the American artist and the Ukrainian museum in order to educate more and people on the horrific lessons of the WWII, and to bring this knowledge not to their mind only, but to their hearts, as well.

Inna & Michael Rogatchi at the Baby Yar installation, The MEMORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND THE HOLOCAUST IN UKRAINE, Dnepropetrovsk. October 2012

Inna & Michael Rogatchi at the Baby Yar installation, The MEMORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND THE HOLOCAUST IN UKRAINE, Dnepropetrovsk. October 2012 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

More About the Menorah Center Opening - can be found on the following pages: NewsHighlights - EventsArt Videos.

 


 

June 2012

The Rogatchi Foundation supports an educational gala in London

Following the request of an association of past students of Wesley Girls' High School of UK and Ireland, the Rogatchi Foundation had the pleasure to support their biennal fund-raising gala that took place at the end of June 2012 in London, in the presence of the Ghana High Commissioner in the UK and other distinguished international guests. 

Wesley Girls' High School in Ghana is a highly-reputed and well-known educational institution with the history coming to 175 years back. This school is known in Ghana and beyond its borders, in Africa, as 'the school of the first ones' : Ghana's many first prominent female figures in various fields have come from this unique establishment, the country's first female Chief Justice, the first female paediatric surgeon, the first female pilot of the Armed Forces, the first female Vice-Chancellors of two universities, and many other prominent figures were all students of the school. The fame of the school and the quality of its education has brought its students also onto the international scene, including the first ever woman director of the UN International Labor Organisation, and actively participating in the gala's organising committee of the year the UN Human Rights' top laywer Nana Oye Litur, and Ghana's Trade Minister Hon. Hannah Tetteh

Wesley Girls' High Shool in Ghana

Wesley Girls' High Shool in Ghana, an example of an educational establishment that makes children believe in themselves and lays the foundation for them to aspire and achieve. 

Wesley School is famous for its teachers, some of them becoming a legend in their own right. Among such admirable people who have devoted their lives to the education of children in the far away, remote places of Africa, is Miss Garnett who joined the school when she was 25 years old, back in 1951, and eventually became the youngest Headmistress in the long history of that prolific school. Miss Garnie ran the school for 20 years with an examplary devotion to her pupils, and has become a living inspiration to all of them. In the 1980s, Miss Garnett was awarded an MBE for her services in the education of African children. Being 86-years old now, Miss Garnet (Mrs Howorth in her marriage), lives in Northern Yorkshire nowadays, and her grateful students stay in touch with her still, always remembering her lessons, and more and more appreciating her devotion to them and to the process of teaching. 

Wesley Girls' High Shool in Ghana       Wesley Girls' High Shool in Ghana

Miss Garnett, in her days at Wesley School, and at her retirement at Northern Yorkshire.

The Rogatchi Foundation is supporting Wesley School because of the quality of this exemplary educational establishment, and because of the desire of the school's past students to support their alma-mater. Not only that the school provided numerous girls in Ghana with a top-quality education that has allowed them to become the pride of their country, their continent, and to star on the international scene; but also the duality of the process is a very healthy example of what proper education is all about: the school's students recognise and still appreciate the values that they were taught in their school, and still pursue them in their adult lives. And we believe, this is the best fruit of the tree of knoweldge. 'This school has made many of us wherever we are living today, who we are' - the former students are telling. 

Wesley Girls' High Shool in Ghana

Sky in the Water. © Inna Rogatchi. 
Inna Rogatchi's fine art photography work donated to the fund-raising gala in London for the Wesley Girls' School in Ghana. 

The Rogatchi Foundation has been very pleased to donate the original work of Inna Rogatchi for the fund-raising gala for the Wesley Shool, as well as the collection of limited edition' art photographs for the same purpose. The support of the Wesley Shool is a logical continuation of our support to the qualified and responsible education in Africa and in particular in Ghana that has been carried on by The Rogatchi Foundation in their previous charity projects (support to AfricaAid, charity project concerning orphans in Ghana).

 


 

April-May 2012

CAMPANILLA FOR ALL SEASONS - SPECIAL EVENT AND EXHIBITION IN VENICE

On April 25th, 2012, four significant celebrations are coming together in Venice: National Liberation Day, Saint Mark's Day (patron saint of the city), Festa del Bocolo, in which Venetian men give a rosebud to the women they love; and the 100th anniversary of the retoration of the world famous bell tower of Venice, the centre-piece of Staint Mark's Square known as Campanilla. 

In her special Campanilla for All Seasons series of fine art photography, Inna Rogatchi is having a close look at one of the architectural wonders in the world. 

Inna Rogatchi's works on the display of Luna Hotel Baglioni in Venice, April-May 2012

Inna Rogatchi's works on display at the Luna Hotel Baglioni in Venice, April-May 2012.

In this collection, Inna examines this unique historic landmark from various points of view: how it defines the space around itself; what does it tell us in the matter of endless games of light and shadow; how it changes between day and night; what we can see in and around the bell tower closely or from afar...

Inna Rogatchi's Campanilla Sound II, 2012 work at the display

Inna Rogatchi's Campanilla Sound II, 2012 work at the display.

Campanilla for All Seasons is a luxurious limited edition series (of 10) authored pigment digital prints on cotton paper, and it has become a focal point of this special commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the restoration of Campanilla in Venice. 

Inna Rogatchi. Campanilla Message I, 2012

Inna Rogatchi. Campanilla Message I, 2012

 


 

December 2011

The OPENING OF THE PUBLIC JEWISH LIBRARY IN VILNIUS, LITHUANIA

The long-awaited event of the opening of the Public Jewish Library in Vilnius, Lithuania brought a lot of warmth amidst the winter cold weather to the many people gathered in the capital of Lithunia to celebrate the opening of this institution, the first of the kind after the Second World War.

The project materialised thanks to the attentive stand and policy of the Lithuanian government on the initiative and with the vast support of Lithuanian parliament members led in this initiative by Petras Austrevicius. It has been a unique story in which the private initative of the American cultural personality Wyman Brent, who had been working hard and enthusiastically to make his dream true, was met with such understanding and support by the state of Lithuania.

The opening of the Library has become a very memorable event for the many people gathered there, and the music played an unparalleled role in that event. Famous Lithuanian composer Anatolis Senderovas created for the extraordinary event a similarly extra-ordinary piece of music based on an old Yiddish-song's score which had been found in the archives while the work for the library opening was in progress. As far as it is known, this is the only existing copy of the score which has survived by a miracle - given the tragic destiny of the 160,000 Jews of Vilnius, 95% of whom were exterminated by the Nazis and their collaborators in the first phase of the Holocaust.

Prominent Lithuanin musicians performing the beautiful and dramatic music by maestro Senderovas at the opening of the Library       Prominent Lithuanin musicians performing the beautiful and dramatic music by maestro Senderovas at the opening of the Library

Prominent Lithuanin musicians performing the beautiful and dramatic music by maestro Senderovas at the opening of the Library 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

Anatolis Senderovas is one of the most famous modern composers who performs all over the world. His devotion to the Jewish theme has received new development in many of his new works. Anatolis Senderovas and Inna and Michael Rogatchi are planning to work together on some new international projects in the near future:

Anatolis Senderovas and Michael Rogatchi at the opening ceremony

Anatolis Senderovas and Michael Rogatchi at the opening ceremony 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

Michael and Inna Rogatchi participating in the opening ceremony and donating their works to the Library:

Minister of Culture of Lithuania Arunas Gelunas and Inna Rogatchi at the ceremony

Minister of Culture of Lithuania Arunas Gelunas and Inna Rogatchi at the ceremony 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

Michael Rogatchi and his Yiddish Sun

Michael Rogatchi and his Yiddish Sun 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

In their joint opening remarks, co-founders of The Rogatchi Foundation said the following:

The inaugural ceremony of the opening of the Public Jewish Vilnius Library has become one of the most remarkable cultural and public events of the year for many of its attendees from all around the globe.

The Rogatchi Foundation will continue its support of this valuable initiative and will happily work in close cooperation with the Library in order to make it an internationally appreciated and significant institution.

Inna Rogatchi and Michael Rogatchi from The Rogatchi Foundation

The quote from VILNIUS NEWS information resource: 
This couple has played a major role in supporting and contributing to the library from their Helsinki location, Inna Rogatchi and Michael Rogatchi from The Rogatchi Foundation

December 2011

ROGATCHI FOUNDATION CELEBRATES THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CANCER SOCIETY OF THE SOUTH-WESTERN FINLAND

On December 12th, 2011, in a warm and engaging ceremony, the Rogatchi Foundation, its co-founders and members of the board, along with the members of The Rogatchi Foundation Board and International Advisory Board, and their long-term partners in charity activities from the Cancer Society of the South-Western Finland, were celebrating the 60th anniversary of that very special charity organisation.

The ceremony was opened by Dr Matti Koivurinta, the founder of ABOA VENTUS & ARS NOVA MUSEUM and the chairman of The Matti Koivurinta Foundation.

From a Window of Mercy and Joy exhibition, December 12th, 2011, Turku, Finland

Dr Matti Koivurinta opens Inna Rogatchi's From The Window Of Mercy And Joy Art Photography Exhibition, December 12, 2011, Turku, Finland. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation, 2011-

"Inna Rogatchi's art photography works are highly acclaimed internationally, and we are very glad and happy to have these works here in the premises of the Cancer Society of the South-Western Finland which is a known center for many cultural, social and public activities. And we very highly value Inna's contribution. Those works are designed, done and selected for the specific purposes of providing psychological comfort to those people, and many of them, sadly, who have been affected by this merciless disease. But additional to that, as one can see, this wholesome collection as if breathing of philosophical poetry, and this is the most essential impression that one gets from Inna's works presented here; the impression which stays with us", - said Dr Matti Koivurinta in his opening speech.

From a Window of Mercy and Joy exhibition, December 12th, 2011, Turku, Finland

Dr Inna Rogatchi and Dr Matti Koivurinta at the opening ceremony, December 12, 2011, Turku, Finland. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation, 2011-

"It happens that some works of art have special effects on the audience, sometimes, even surprisingly for artists who have created them. But it is a different story when an artist is seeing his or her task as meticulous and conscious effort to create such pieces of art that would have some 'pre-designed' effect as its essential element. It makes the whole creative process special", - said Inna Rogatchi.

The event included the donation by Michael Rogatchi of one of his most lyrical and well-known art works, Le Gitane: Song to the Sun, to the Cancer Society, in commemoration of its outstanding activities and its ongoing help to so many people both inside and outside Finland.

From a Window of Mercy and Joy exhibition, December 12th, 2011, Turku, Finland

Artist Michael Rogatchi
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation, 2011-

"I believe that this kind of work which is as if 'singing hope', as if its goes from inside many human beings, would suit the new premises of Meri-Karina, a very well known multi-functional centre run by the Cancer Society, and will send the message of hope and enlightenment to people who are either living or visiting here", - said the artist whose several works are already in the highly rated art collection of the Cancer Society of the South-Western Finland.

The ceremony was attended by the former Governor of Turku and South-Western Finland, Dr of Philosophy, h.c. Pirkko Työläjärvi, well-known actress and director, Doctor of Arts, h.c., Maija-Liisa Marton, general manager of the Cancer Society of the South-Western Finland Dr of Medicine, h.c. Kari Ojala, and many others.

From a Window of Mercy and Joy exhibition, December 12th, 2011, Turku, Finland

Leena Koivurinta and Governor emeritus Dr Ph h.c. Pirkko Työläjärvi attending the ceremony. December 12th, 2011, Turku, Finland. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation, 2011-

There was much interest and a very positive response from the public to the collection From the Window of Mercy and Joy: "It is not just very beautiful works. The Light is as if getting out of them and is getting palpable here, in this place. Living in the harsh climate conditions of Finland, we are used to looking out for every single piece of grass that is getting through the concrete; we used to cherish these pieces, and treasure them. And your works are bringing the same message right here and right now, but in much more powerful way and form. Heartful thank you for that!" - was the address from the Finnish public to Inna Rogatchi.

From a Window of Mercy and Joy exhibition, December 12th, 2011, Turku, Finland

Art collectors Mr Ilkka and Mrs Marja Reunamo were among the guests of the vernissage. December 12, 2011, Turku, Finland. 
Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation, 2011-

More on the topic: Inna Rogatchi's Art Photography - From the Window of Mercy and Joy exhibition and collection.

 


 

September 2011

SYMBOLISM IN THE JEWISH ART OF TURKU - SPECIAL ART EVENT IN THE CULTURE CAPITAL OF EUROPE

In September 2011, Michael Rogatchi and The Rogatchi Foundation took part in the special art event, Symbolism in the Jewish Art of Turku (more detail in News and Highlights Events). The Event has been organised by the Jewish Community of Turku, and according to the community's chairman Tomer Huhtamäki, this special art event "has become the community's contribution to the programme of celebrating Turku as the culture capital of Turku in 2011".

The event organised on September 25th, 2011 in the 100-year-old Turku Synagogue comprised an exhibition of art works of Michael Rogatchi, and two more members of the Jewish community of Turku, Gila Seera and Tomer Huhtamäki.

Tomer Huhtamäki, Gila Seera and Michael Rogatchi

Tomer HuhtamäkiGila Seera and Michael Rogatchi at the Symbolism in the Jewish Art of Turku event, September 2011. 
Photo: Inna Rogatchi. Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The defence minister of Finland Mr Stefan Wallin has become the patron of the event. He said in his address: "The Special Art Event Symbolism in the Jewish Art of Turku is one of the pearls in this year's programme of the culture capital of Europe. The extraordinary talent of the exhibiting artists happily coincides here with rare historic features of this building. The beautiful Synagogue of Turku provides perfect opportunity for the art lovers to get some glimpses into the Jewish symbolism through its art. I feel very proud to be the official patron of this exhibition, in particular".

Send In Clown, Blessing on Destroying Enemies, Sara

Symbolism in the art works of Gila Seera (Send In Clown), Tomer Huhtamäki (Blessing on Destroying Enemies), and Michael Rogatchi (Sarah, from The Matriarchs series). 
Photos & Collage: Inna Rogatchi. Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The European Union greetings on behalf of its culture, media and education committee were conveyed to the public by the commission's senior member, MEP Hannu Takkula. In his address, he emphasised: "This is a highly important event providing the possibility for the wider public to get to know and to understand the Jewish world, its culture and meaning, and to see it all first-hand. This is the very meaning of the idea of making particular European cities the culture capitals of Europe. We can see today as these efforts are bringing the immediate but also long-standing results".

Tomer Huhtamäki, Hannu Takkula, Gila Seera, Michael Rogatchi

Chairman of the Turku Jewish Community Tomer Huhtamäki, MEP Hannu TakkulaGila Seera, and Michael Rogatchi at the Special Art Event in Turku, September 2011. 
Photo: Inna Rogatchi. Courtesy © The Rogatchi Foundation

The event has been attended enthusiastically, with a very large number of people turning up, including former governor of Southern-Western Finland Pirkko Työläjärvi, many top scientists, and representatives of culture and media world. The Special Art Event has also prompted several further culture ideas, including more art exhibitions, seminars and panels, in series of events to mark the 100th anniversary of the Turku Synagogue to be celebrated in May 2012.

The Covenant III. Turku Synagogue. The Route - and The Roots.

Inna Rogatchi © The Covenant III. Turku Synagogue. Finland. 2011. 
The Route - and The Roots collection. Limited Edition

 


 

May 2011

Rogatchi's Blues. Inaugural Exhibition. Private View & Vernissage in Florence, Italy

Private View and Vernissage of Rogatchi's Blues, the inaugural exhibition of The Life of Two of Us and Melody for Two series by Michael Rogatchi - Florence, Italy, Palazzo Cioffi-Jacometti, May 4-5, 2011.

 

Michael Rogatchi On His Art Work

Michael Rogatchi is presenting his The Life of Two of Us and Melody for Two series at the inauguaral exhibition in Florence, May 2011.

MICHAEL ROGATCHI & HIS AUDIENCE. AT THE OPENING OF THE ROGATCHI's BLUES EXHIBITION in FLORENCE, ITALY. MAY 2011

Photo: Riccardo Bartallucci. © The Rogatchi Foundation



Photo: Riccardo Bartallucci. © The Rogatchi Foundation



Photo: Riccardo Bartallucci. © The Rogatchi Foundation



Photo: Riccardo Bartallucci. © The Rogatchi Foundation



Photo: Riccardo Bartallucci. © The Rogatchi Foundation



Photo: Riccardo Bartallucci. © The Rogatchi Foundation

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