As a photojournalist in one of the world's hot spots, Gil Cohen-Magen has chronicled the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But turning away from war and strife, he also has recorded multi-cultural and multi-faith incidents in Israel. He is one of the few mainstream journalists to observe the ceremonies and lifestyles of the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic sects.
Cohen-Magen will show his photographs and discuss his experiences in Images of Faith in the Holy Land on Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
The event celebrates United Nations International Interfaith Harmony Week and is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City and the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council.
Cohen-Magen, who began his career shooting fashion and advertisements in New York and Montreal, initially knew little about Israel's ultra-Orthodox community of Hasidic Jews, who reject Enlightenment ideals and ecumenicalism and attempt to live apart from the mainstream culture of their country.
But over a decade Cohen-Magen was befriended by members of the Hasadic community, who allowed him intimate access to photograph their daily leisure, work, and religious ceremonies. His photos have been collected in the 2011 book Hassidic Courts.
In addition, he has photographed Christian and Muslim celebrations, including Epiphany, a Syrian-Druze wedding, and Bedouin, Purim, and Passover festivities.
Cohen-Magen's photographs have appeared in major Israeli newspapers and many of the world's leading publications. His work has been distributed by the Reuters and the Associated Press wire services.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. light reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.