The Man Who Captures the Secret Rituals of Israel's Sects

For years photographer and journalist Eitan Elhadez-Barak has documented obscure rites connected to many of the country's marginal communities

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The Golden Calf ceremony that takes place over Passover in Ein Hod.
The Golden Calf ceremony that takes place over Passover in Ein Hod, an artist village.Credit: Eitan Elhadez-Barak
Meirav Moran
Meirav Moran
Meirav Moran
Meirav Moran

Eitan Elhadez-Barak is one of the few people who has witnessed a gathering of Israeli Freemasons without being a member of the secret order. In fact, not only was he present at an induction ceremony for new members, he also photographed the event and emerged unscathed. That event – he elaborates later in our conversation about the amusing circumstances in which he found himself there – is only one of hundreds of ceremonies, religious festivals and other rituals that Elhadez-Barak has documented across Israel for the past 15 years. From the Passover seder in the Jehovah’s Witnesses community, to shamanic rituals, Elhadez-Barak embarked on a journey among traditions that are upheld in some of Israel’s more marginal communities and has taken part in occult events whose existence is known only to those who are invited to them.

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