Yoval Kaspin: A Multifaceted Israeli Creative

Yoval Kaspin, born on January 27, 1957, is an Israeli fashion designer, singer, actor, stylist, lecturer, TV presenter, and a cultural icon. His diverse talents have made him a prominent figure in Israel's cultural and fashion landscape.

Family Roots

Kaspin's family history is woven with a rich tapestry of experiences. His paternal grandfather, Yehoshua Kaspin, immigrated to the Land of Israel in 1913 after serving in the Russian army as a soldier. It's a family legend that Kaspin's grandfather sewed the uniform that Joseph Trumpeldor was photographed wearing when they met in Cairo.

Kaspin's paternal grandmother, Miriam Kaspin (née Rubinstein), was born in Gaza to parents who were part of the Bilu movement. She was deeply religious in her later years. Yehoshua Kaspin, Yoval's paternal grandfather, and his brother opened a tailor shop in the Paris Square area of Haifa and were among the first residents of the Neve Sha'anan neighborhood, established in 1922. Kaspin's father, Avraham, was the eldest son in the family. During the British Mandate period, Avraham served in the British Army and later became a taxi driver.

Early Life

Yoval Kaspin was born in 1957 as the youngest son of Avraham Kaspin and Tova (née Gershon). His mother, born in 1931, was the eldest child of her parents, Shoshana (Naomi) and Shimon Gershon, who were early pioneers in Rehovot. They were close-knit and lived together in a shared building in Sannukh, Galicia, in their youth. Tova's father, Shimon Gershon, loved poetry and was a cantor in Poland.

Kaspin's early years were filled with music. He sang in the army and was part of a musical band until the military bands were disbanded in 1978, after which he began his education career. He received a musical ensemble of four musicians and Roni Weiss, a musical arranger and director in the army, and together, they performed cover versions for soldiers. After his release from the army, he felt that he wasn't making much progress in singing and theater, so he transitioned to designing clothes for theater productions and later for the film industry.

Fashion Designer

In 1975, while serving in the army, Kaspin learned about a fashion week taking place at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv. This event marked a turning point in his life. He established a special connection with the fashion designer Rozi Ben Yosef, and after being discharged from the army, he worked as a designer in an American program filmed in Israel with her assistance. According to Kaspin, these encounters with Ben Yosef were warm and had an enormous influence on his life as a fashion designer.

Subsequently, he worked for five years in New York, and upon returning, he worked as a costume designer for theater productions in Tel Aviv, such as "Grease," "Oedipus," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," and more. In "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," he returned to the stage as an actor, participating in 188 performances.

Over the years, he established his own private studio, where he designed clothes for notable figures including Ofra Haza, Shari Arison, Hanna Laslo, Ricky Gal, Yona Elian, Diana Ross, and many more. Additionally, he has been teaching fashion design at the WIZO College in Haifa for several years.

Kaspin is also known for hosting a radio and television program called "The Party" on Channel 10, which was nominated for a "Golden Screen" award. He has hosted another program called "On the Way to the Chuppah."

As a Singer

In 2004, Kaspin met fashion designer Mira Awad, who was preparing for her performance in the Eurovision Song Contest. This collaboration led to a joint TV program called "Achla Yom" (Wonderful Day), broadcast in both Hebrew and Arabic.

In 2008, to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the Piano Festival, Kaspin began performing songs with lyrics written by Israeli women poets. He explained, "Out of great love for the written Hebrew word and a connection to the feminine 'chorus,' I chose to sing poetic songs..." The performance, with four musicians, featured songs written by poets such as Tirza Atar, Rachel, Leah Goldberg, Yona Wallach, Nurit Zarchi, Naomi Shemer, Rachel Shapira, and more, with music composed by various artists including himself, Shlomo Gronich, Shmulik Vilensky, Micky Gabrielov, Nurit Hirsh, Yitzhak Klepter (Churchill), and Yehuda Poliker.

Personal Life

Kaspin's life has undergone significant changes over the years. At the age of 17, he began to understand his gender identity better.

According to him, the second revolution in his life occurred when he decided to move to New York at the age of 26 because he felt he had to. "The third revolution was at the age of 40," he says. "It was significant - I moved to my new home, separated from the love of my life, experienced a lot of chaos, and used all sorts of chemical substances I will never touch again. Even my 50th birthday was very significant - the surprises and emotions my friends and loved ones brought me were such that I was afraid I couldn't handle them."

Kaspin cites his mother in his childhood and his grandmother, Miriam, as particularly influential in his life. Miriam was a model of a new, Zionist, and religious Jewess. "She taught me and clarified to me that one can believe in God without external symbols like a kippah or specific clothing," he says.

He also mentions Zadie (Grandpa) Zadik Zarfati, with whom his first steps in the field of education were taken. "Another person who greatly influenced me was Rabbi Mordechai Gafni. My encounter with him was fascinating and intimate."

Since 1997, Kaspin has lived in a loft-style residence on Nahalat Binyamin Street in Tel Aviv, a building designated for preservation.

Yoval Kaspin's multifaceted career and personal journey reflect the complexities and diverse experiences that have shaped his life in Israel.

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