Merry Christmas

Five Minutes for Israel
wishes all who celebrate it
a very Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from 5 Minutes for Israel

Food for thought (and for Christmas)

When I was looking for a design I stumbled on Sophie Gengembre Anderson and was amazed at how the iconography for Christmas and life in general has changed since the 19th century. Yet there is something really suggestive of the festival even without a Santa in a red suit, mistletoe, a Christmas tree, three wise men or a baby Jesus. It’s like the ‘secret chord’†  that makes the most popular Christmas songs sound so Christmassy.

Someone with more botany knowledge than me might identify the leaves in the bottom right corner. Definitely not a traditional fir-tree but what could it be other than a Christmas tree?

Mrs. Anderson in many ways should have become a feminist icon. Her work, Elaine, was the first public collection purchase of a woman artist. Her painting No Walk Today was purchased for more than £1 million. Even today, how many female artists, dead or alive can command that sort of price? She was making a living as a successful artist when that profession was dominated by men.

On the other hand look at gender relationships in the painting. The boy is doing the heavy lifting while the girls, presumably his sisters, watch him his wide-eyed admiration. There is no doubt who wears the pants.

Wouldn’t the turkey bring out the animal rights activists in droves? Obviously dead but how was it done?

When I was a boy in Australia a standing joke was those families insisting on a traditional British Christmas dinner including roast turkey in near century (Fahrenheit) temperatures.

This brings up some Israeli trivia. The early days after the War of Independence were marked by mass immigration and food shortages, marked by rations and regulations. Veal was nonexistent and poultry was government-subsidised and more readily available.

The agronomists from the Ministry of Agriculture introduced the turkey to Israeli farms as a more efficient method of raising poultry but no one had an oven large enough for a whole bird. The classic Israeli schnitzel was born from necessity.

Carrying slices of uncooked turkey breast into the living room wouldn’t exactly capture the Christmas feel or make for an identifiable Christmas card. Perhaps, next century?


Extra credit

† Minor subdominant, or “iv,” chord with an added 6 for educated musicians and geeks.

  • Christmas Time – Here’s The Gobbler! by English artist Sophie Gengembre Anderson (1823-1903). Painted c. 1877. Public domain.
  • Christmas ornament design in 5-in-a-star by User:Euro2008 (Transparent version of Christbaumkugel.jpg) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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