Students Create ‘Peace-Building’ Collage To Process Feelings About Israel-Hamas War


A new art initiative led by a local fine artist and an elementary school teacher has set out to make something beautiful come from people’s feelings about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

During sessions held in Baltimore’s R House, Anna Fine Foer, a Baltimore-based artist, and Lindsay Feldman, a Baltimore City Public Schools teacher, have been leading middle and high school students of Beth Am Synagogue’s Jewish Discovery Lab in creating a collage together using prints, drawings and headlines about the conflict.

The initiative was designed to help students process their feelings about the conflict, as well as to explore how newspaper and online coverage of the war has evolved over the six months since Oct. 7. Art can be a powerful tool for expressing emotions and amplifying marginalized voices, said Foer, who belongs to a collective of local Jewish artists.

This collage is set to debut at Beth Am starting March 27, with an end date that has yet to be determined.

In the immediate aftermath of Oct. 7, Foer and Feldman were engaged in interfaith work designed to bring Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities together for meaningful conversations. The idea for a community art project came later.

“We had a meeting with some of the leaders of Hakhel [Adamah’s Jewish International Communities Incubator], and they talked about how all this suffering had to result in something positive, and that we should think about how our communities are going to go through this trauma,” Foer explained. “That gave me the idea to do a communal art project.”

Foer spent several years working as a textile conservator in Haifa and Tel Aviv after she immigrated to Israel as an adult. Since moving back to the U.S., she has also done conservation work at the Textile Museum and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Aside from her textile work, though, Foer is well-versed in the art of collage, and her pieces can be found in the permanent collections of the Haifa Museum of Art and the Beer-Sheva Biblical Museum.

Originally, the finished collage was not planned to be displayed at Beth Am or even worked on by Jewish Discovery Lab students. It was initially being created by interfaith participants who were invited to the R House to contribute to it. Declining turnouts to these collage-making events led Foer and Feldman to turn to the Discovery Lab’s middle and high school students, who helped complete the piece.

In addition to headlines and photos directly relating to the conflict, students who helped put the collage together were also permitted to include news coverage that was happening at the same time. Foer noted that this was important because it added context to the state of the world around the conflict.

Foer added that she hopes the project helped its participants develop their own opinions on the conflict and process their emotions about it.

“I felt that some of the things [the students] expressed came from their parents,” she noted. “It’s hard to parse what students know in middle school and high school, what their independent thoughts are. I hope they feel that they can have their own personal response.”

In addition, the collage has an interesting historical aspect in that it chronicles people’s reactions and government responses to Hamas’ attack on Israel and Israel’s attacks on Gaza over time.

“I think it’ll be interesting to look back and see what we thought in the beginning,” Foer said. “I also want to stress the idea that everyone’s reactions are valid. In a time like this, there’s something cathartic about expressing yourself non-verbally, in a way that’s accessible to everyone.”

Foer will be holding additional collage-making sessions at Beth Am for interested congregants and community members, with a goal she describes as “peace-building and art-making.” These are planned for Thursday, March 28, at 9 a.m. and Tuesday, April 2, at 6 p.m.

Never miss a story.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Email Address


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here