ART PRESENTS OTHER ISRAEL; It's the Largest Sale and Exhibit of Israeli Artwork outside of Israel

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN SCANLAN

A special mission near the Syrian border in 1969 nearly ended Israeli Army Col. Itzhak (Izzy) Assour's career, when he was wounded and paralyzed.

But an encounter during three years of hospitalization and rehabilitation gave him back more than his mobility - he found art.

"A well-known artist came to make us busy with therapy, working with clay. He told me, 'Izzy, you have something, so go on,' " he says. "When I went back into the service ... I asked that they allow me to go to art school every two weeks. And for 12 years I did it when I could, not when we had wars or special training."

Now almost 40 years later, Assour is a sculptor of bronze. He also shepherds the works of dozens of artistic peers around the United States as curator of "Expressions," the largest sale and exhibit of Israeli artwork outside of that country. In that collection of soulful statues, glowing sacred religious vessels and brightly rendered paintings wrapping up today at Jacksonville's Jewish Community Alliance, Assour hopes people see another side of Israel.

"The beauty is in one show, you see different types," he said. "We have artists who emigrated from the Soviet Union, United States, Ethiopia, England, France and so on. The touch of the place they studied is with them."

Hosting the show meant a lot to JCA Executive Director Myron Flagler, who has known the retired colonel for 25 years.

"I have seen his art get better and better as the years go on. I don't know where he has the time to do it," said Flagler. "Every time Izzy comes, I am just so proud to display his work and that of others. It is a real treat to have him here."

Dressed comfortably in jeans and a cotton shirt with "Florida" embroidered on it, Assour energetically worked his way around the sun-drenched gallery at the JCA at 8505 San Jose Blvd. late last week, talking to passers-by and potential buyers. …

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