Enon Avital - From Israel to Palestine With Love | BY DESIGN
Enon Avital spent the early years of his life in Netanya, Israel. He was then "shipped off" from a strict Jewish orthodox household at the age of 16 to live with his uncle in New Jersey. Enon arrived to the U.S. with zero knowledge of the english language; as his education until then had a strong emphasis on religion.
By design, Hebah By Design, Hebah, about by design, culture, diversity, culture design, design thinking, diversity matters, design life, humanity, human, design inspiration, acceptance, positive thinking, positive life, positive mind, kindness, embrace your weird, heritage, traditions, israeli palestinian conflict, Peace, middle east conflict, Enon Avital, Hebrew lettering, Hebrew type
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Enon Avital – From Israel to Palestine With Love

63 minutes

What better way to celebrate love than by spreading the message of peace and acceptance. Enon Avital

spent the early years of his life in Netanya, Israel. He was then “shipped off” from a strict Jewish orthodox household at the age of 16 to live with his uncle in New Jersey. Enon arrived to the U.S. with zero knowledge of the english language; as his education until then had a strong emphasis on religion.Fast forward to today, Enon is a well respected UI/UX designer for Adorama New York. He’s known best for his dimensional Food Typography and Hebrew Lettering work; where he crafts beautiful Hebrew type using everyday materials.

In this episode Enon will talk about his culture growing up in Netanya and how it’s changed since he moved to New Jersey. He will be talking about what’s culturally acceptable in Netanya and how it’s based on the strength of your faith. Enon will also talk to us about his struggles growing up in a land of continues conflict and how he’s found peace and acceptance since he’s left.

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Why is this episode so important?

This episode is very controversial since Enon is an Israeli and I am Palestinian.

I haven’t even gone live yet, and I’ve already been called an Israeli sympathizer and a traitor.  I share more about my fear launching this project in my bi-weekly newsletter.

To those who think that about me I say: I am Muslim and I am Human! 

As a Muslim, my faith commands mercy and tolerance, it calls on me to honor the dignity of every person, it forbids coercion in religion and demands respect for the houses of god. This is my truth, and this is why this episode is so important.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has caused nothing but lose, pain and destruction. My heart bleeds for my country, but I can’t help and feel pain for every mother whose lost a child, every daughter whose lost a father and every wife whose lost a husband. No matter where you’re from and what tragedy you’ve gone through, I have empathy for you.

The BY DESIGN project is my way of spreading goodness into the world. It’s about creating cultural awareness and bringing people together no matter their differences. It’s about helping you realize that being different is what makes you special, and it’s about taking care of others before they could take care of us.

I believe that if we practice living life by simply being good to one another, we would live a happy and prosperous life. I believe that the smallest acts of kindness make a world of a difference to the people receiving them. I also, truly believe that we have to embrace others and in turn they’ll do the same for us.

Highlights and Takeaways:

01:24 I introduce Enon Avital, a UI/UX designer for Adorama, New York. He is known for his Food Typography and Hebrew Lettering work. Enon is a religious man, a father of three and a husband.

02:08 Enon shares his upbringing and how he ended up in the U.S. He grew up in Netanya, Israel in an extremely religious household and community.

03:12 We get disconnected!

03:24 Enon talks about the effects Judaism had on his community, for example distancing anyone who was not like them. He shared how he grew up only talking to Jew’s on the same level of faith as him.

03:56 I share a very interesting story of how we met during Creative South at the Launch Party. We where in line to get some food, the only vegetarian line and we realized we were from Jerusalem.

05:32 Enon talks about how his community would isolate themselves. However, a large percentage of Jews living in Israel are less strict.

Forget labeling communities, different believe levels in every community.

 

06:40 Enon shared his views on the type of Jewish religious communities in Israel from most strict to less. First Hasidic Jews would be the most strict and speak Yiddish. Then where he grew up is Ultra Orthodox (Haredi). Finally the least strict is Modern Orthodox Judaism.

08:44 Enon answers the questions about boarding school. It was customary for kids to go to boarding school once they finish elementary school. Boarding school was not necessarily close to home and was an all male school where they were taught about the bible.

09:36 Enon shared how he grew up in NetanyaIsrael and his first boarding school was in Jerusalem. Unfortunately growing up in boarding school was very isolating and Enon never got to interact with different people.

11:14 I share my experience traveling to Israel which involved only visiting the Mosque and Jerusalem (Alquds).

12:20 Enon shares his upbringing in a community that happened to be very strict. He never realized how isolated he was until he grew up and started meet new people.

13:20 Enon explains that his alternative from boarding school was his uncle, who lived New Jersey brought him to the U.S. This was an opportunity of a lifetime coming to America and studied things other than religion. He was able to grow up as a part of modern orthodox household.

I had the opportunity of a lifetime Literally.

 

14:44 Enon answers he new a tad bit of English. He had to learn English from scratch reading children’s book and watching Frasier. As he learned English he learned about other cultures in America.

I learned how to become a human.

 

15:20 Enon abandon his religion without his uncles influence. Although his uncle supported him as he believed he needs to learn religion through love not restriction. His uncle took him in as his son and understood that he truly needed guidance to learn about religion, people, humanity and life.

Learn religion through love not restriction.

 

17:42 Enon abandoned everything from his old life, even his religion and traditions. Enon stop practicing Judaism, even though his uncle was a devoted Jew. He has been living in the U.S. since 2001.

18:30 I share one of my culture shock of living in the United States which was the way people dress and how little clothes they wear. However when visiting Jordan i saw how American it has become because when  i was growing up in Jordan it wasn’t as forward or open-minded as it is now.

20:06 Enon talks about the values when he was growing up and his family being from Morocco. His father is from Casablanca, and the music and culture vive is part of that community. Music became very important to him and he lost it when he came to the U.S.

23:13 Enon talks about returning to Israel. He felt as if nothing had changed, he had the freedom of being himself and not caring about what people think. He said I’m me now. However out of respect, you still follow certain rules out of respect. Enon raised his children in a religious home and taught them to respect religion.

28:35 Enon explains how our similarities overcome different cultures.

29:36 Enon discusses getting married in there culture. Traditionally you would get married by being set up by the parents, after a few dates you would decide if you want to get engaged or not.

30:38 Enon recommends the great movie Arranged for us to watch.

31:18 I share my family experience. When my grandma got married, she meet her husband her wedding day. On the other hand, my parents fell in love through the traditional route. I also got married the typical route in which a boy would  see the girl at a wedding or a party and tell his parents to set up a meeting to see if your compatible. The mom talks to the family and check if it’s a suitable family to get married and then the next steps is to set up the meeting. If they decide to get engage the wedding would take place in a years time.

34:32 Enon talks about how he meets his wife and wanting a religious household environment. They meet during a summer 10 years ago at a friend’s house and got engaged 3 weeks later. After you signing of the engagement then comes the weeding.

37:39 I share my Palestine experience and traditions of weddings. Two separate venues one for man other for woman. The parties are usually just for the woman and the man go as part of tradition. However, my wedding, which took place in America, mixed both cultures. For example, we didn’t walking down the aisles we go straight to the reception. Its funny now in Jordan they has adapted American traditions like having a wedding cake and the father daughter dance.

39:46 Enon responded about misconceptions about Israeli in America. The greatest misconception he shared is about politics. For example, most people think when I vote as an American citizen I’m more concerned about Israel, which is not true.

41:40 I talk about my religion and how I should wear a scarf. I try to be humble and conservative. Unfortunately, I do not wear it because I am afraid of being targeted.

42:48 Enon discusses about wearing his religion in public and how certain places in America are safer than others.

45:02 Enon talks about the influence in his typography and lettering designs. He works as UI/UX designer and decides to do something on the side, which is hand Hebrew Lettering. Started to post in Instagram with great feedback. He was surprised that people were interested in non-English lettering and dimensional type. Then Passover came with the restriction of no using ink or pen, which Enon over came by using food that was lying around instead.

46:52 Enon talks about how Danielle Evans, the queen of food typography, she reposted me his work. Hebrew which has no script was a challenge for Enon who began connected the letters that were not meant to be connected.

50:28 Enon created two sets of posters of the Hebrew Lettering alphabet with each letter representing the food of that letter. Additionally, he created colorful clay abstract of the Hebrew Lettering alphabet poster.

50:34 Enon collaboration withDanielle Evans by share his upcoming projects. Still in the works they have a project to help  people understand other people better. Conflict comes from not understanding or being indifferent to other people. The project is called, I was indifferent. The tagline is to take a short walk in the other person’s shoes.

Conflict often comes from not understanding the other people.

 

52:50 Enon invites you if you would like to participate in anyway by share your story. You can check out the placeholder website for I was indifferent.

53:25 I share the importance of the project in which we learn about people stories and culture. Also, getting to know each other as we worked last year and learning if we don’t talk about what we have in common we would not have this friendship we have now.

55:00 Enon takes it back to when we first meet. Hi I’m Palestinian and I’m Israeli and we just talked. We know our communities have problems with one another but we don’t have too.

55:55 Enon’s takeaway from this interview and our conversations that we should talk first. If you don’t talk, you are not going to understand one another.

Talk. if you do not talk you are not going to understand people.

 

56:42 I bring people’s attention to the fact that culture is different than religion.

57:54 Enon talks about the product he created Dappernotes. He started a business with a friend mostly t-shirts and prints but they wanted notebooks. The business didn’t work, but later with Hebrew Lettering people asked him, do you have prints? Enon put up a shop had success initial as time passed his sales decreased. He created fancy pocket notebooks, with fabric and tissue. Now he is currently make them and sell them online at Dappernotes.

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