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Judah S. Harris was studying at a Jerusalem hesder — a program combing yeshiva study and military service — when he discovered his passion for photography. “It was there,” the New Jersey-born artist told the Forward, “that I realized that I have a visual ability and a fascination with people and places.” And so he spent the greater part of 1984 as a newborn shutterbug, setting up his first exhibition that same year in the dining hall of a kibbutz a half-hour south of Tel Aviv.

He returned to the United States, bringing this new passion with him. Now 37, Harris has kept his eye behind his camera’s lens and by now has seen his photographs exhibited in places including the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Jewish Museum, the Klutznick National Museum and the pages of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday and, of course, the Forward, as well as on the covers of books by Elmore Leonard, among others.

A new exhibition, “Just One Moment,” features some 54 of his images representing his work in both black and white and color. Among the photographs included in the exhibit is “Fruit Vendor — Jerusalem Market.” He described the market as “a fascinating place,” “a cacophony of sounds and visuals.” By capturing this single moment in the marketplace, Harris said, he has both preserved and shared a wordless “narrative.” Uniting the works in this exhibit — taken everywhere from Israel to Istanbul and of everything from a fire escape in New York City’s Washington Heights to a Jerusalem playground during the Gulf War — is an idea of time captured and saved that allows us to encounter a single moment repeatedly, thereby enabling us to “see things that we don’t see in person, and even that we do.”

Harris, an Orthodox Jew who has been known to give the occasional talk on the weekly Torah portion, believes that photography helps us to “make sense of the world.”


Jewish Community Center on the Palisades, Waltuch Gallery, 411 E. Clinton Ave., Tenafly; reception, Jan. 5, 1 p.m.-3 p.m., on view through Jan. 29, Mon.-Thu. 9 a.m.-10 p.m.. Fri. and Sun. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. (201-569-7900, ext. 433)

For those who miss the exhibit, a collection of his prints will soon be available.

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