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I Couldn't Stop Saying "Wow!"

Artwork by Adeline Hecht displayed in a door

By Eileen Martell

The ESRA Haifa Branch and guests from as far as Jerusalem, Kfar Saba, and Beer Sheva - visited the home of Bonnie and Professor Amatzia Baram in December during Chanukah. This was a particularly fitting time as among other things, the home contains a collection of Chanukiot created by Amatzia's father Mayrim Baram. (President Clinton has one in his Arkansas library.) All of the chanukiot are dedicated to the memory of Mayrim's youngest son (Amatzia's brother) Gabriel, who died on the first night of the Yom Kippur War.

We were also treated to a tour of this beautiful home with Bonnie's ingenious space saving designs, and an exquisite and unique collection of whimsical clay figures created by Bonnie's father, Paul Belkin. Bonnie emanated warmth and peacefulness as she told the life stories that were behind the three very special collections that she was presenting and kept us entranced by telling the story behind the design of each Chanukiah.

The tour around their apartment brought surprise after surprise as Bonnie and Amatzia revealed the hidden space-saving functional furniture and features designed to fit their home and lifestyle. The apartment combines energy of a special kind of craftsmanship with a flow of interior decoration through usable carpentry.

Bonnie's hobby is to find convenient solutions to their everyday household living problems. How could she reuse space to improve their life in an optimal way? She comments that, "I just couldn't believe that my mind would draw me to a problem that doesn't have a solution." Their problems were multiplied by the fact that Bonnie and her husband had inherited several artistic as well as household collections which were too special to throw away or even to give away.

They solved their problems for storage and display purposes by maximizing the use of the space of walls and inside doors. Bonnie explained that it was also important that each end product be convenient and fulfil as many different functions as possible.

In this home surprise after surprise presented itself. After each revelation one couldn't help but wonder what will be the next surprise? What else could be created? How many more creations will we see? Bonnie has found design solutions that left me in awe, speechless and desiring to see more and more.

A love for aspects of Chinese interior design, in particular clean lines, guided their selection of materials and shapes. Plants were added for their psychological and physical health benefits. Where possible they made the plants part of something functional.

Bonnie had no training in design or carpentry. The successful implementation of Bonnie's unique ideas into functioning furniture came through the help and sweat of Viktor Meshiev of Rehovot, Israel, an immigrant from Dagestan, Russia. He is a brilliant carpenter without a carpentry shop. Most of the pieces were created in the Baram apartment and Amatzia claims he can no longer taste food without sawdust.

Over the past six years the Barams have shared their home with over 2,000 visitors who have come through word of mouth for this two-hour experience which "makes you say 'wow' in a way you can't stop".

Bonnie and Amatzia will again open their home for ESRA friends to visit on Wednesday 13 December for another Chanukah Tour of their special collections and unique home designs. Contact Eileen Martell: Tel: 054 210 5673| This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Eileen Martell is Chair of the ESRA Haifa Branch 

Myrim’s channukiah gift to President Clinton in the Oval Office


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Monday, 22 July 2024

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