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Santos of the Jews

April 11, 2012 | By

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Here’s a series of photographs about Jews in distant places, captured by someone who knows what it’s like to live far from one’s homeland.

Born in the Phillipines, Emmanuel Santos moved to Melbourne, Australia, nearly two decades ago. He settled in St. Kilda, a district largely made up of Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, most of whom immigrated to Australia after the Holocaust. Through a series of friendly encounters, Santos was invited into the community, at first as a friend, later as an event and documentary photographer.

His body of work includes family rituals such as weddings and brises, as well as more epic events. He’s accompanied delegations of Hasidim to the grave of Rabbi Nahman in the Ukraine, an annual pilgrimage taken by literally hundreds of thousands of observant Jews. Santos is one of very few non-Jews who have experienced this trip. He’s also traveled to Auschwitz and other concentration camps alongside young Jews, and explored the emergent Judaism in post-communist Russia.

Throughout, his work explores the breadth of Jewish heritage. Santos doesn’t share this heritage by birth, but his art has become a dynamic expression of it.

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