Chai Style Homes: Israeli Passion With Taste of Italy
ArtsChai Style Homes

Chai Style Homes: Israeli Passion With Taste of Italy

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Aviva and Eyal Postelnik are surrounded by Murano glass horses, a tempera painting she did in Florence, and a Salvador Dali menorah.

By Marcia Caller Jaffe |

Aviva and Eyal Postelnik, Israelis who are making an impact by being involved in the Atlanta Jewish community, built a magnificent fortress in Cobb County.

They lovingly imported construction materials and art from Italy, Israel and Las Vegas and stored them for three years while the house was being completed by builder Warren Sirzyk. The house, open in the center, is divided into two sides: day and night quarters. It is a stimulating cornucopia of sentiment and beauty capped by Aviva’s own artwork and that of Eyal’s mother.

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The custom marble design in the background complements the Steinway piano.

From a hand-painted globe of the world’s synagogues by Sarah Kraz to sculpture by Richard MacDonald, it is all well choreographed.

Eyal, a high-tech entrepreneur, produces the navigation systems for GM cars in South America. Aviva is an expert and speaker on “Hatikvah,” the Israeli national anthem, which uses a historic melody from 1500s Spain.

Enter their artistic world.


Jaffe: What is unique about the various interior and exterior textures?

Eyal: We are comfortable surrounded by Jerusalem stone, which we imported. You can see it on several different surfaces — mainly the exterior, then in smaller formations on the entrance walls. The wall behind the Steinway Signed Collection piano is in a contrasting black-and-white [a la piano keys] marble pattern designed by Aviva and constructed in Italy.


Jaffe: The kitchen glows in such a dramatic way. What are we seeing in here?

Aviva: The counter and matching wall backsplash panel is illuminated quartz from South America with imbedded authentic fossils and chambered nautiluses. More sentimental is the collection of hamsas (hands) from around the world: some from the Holocaust Museum, some made of cement or handmade porcelain. Also, these birds were made by special-needs children in an Israeli school factory affiliated with Leah Rabin in collaboration with LOTEM [a Jewish National Fund partner].


Jaffe: The entrance foyer is quite grand, to say the least.

Eyal: The ceiling rises 24 feet. The MacDonald bronzes are Cirque du Soleil figures of male and female performers accentuating muscles and movement. They took two years to acquire (ultimately from a gallery in Vegas) by way of the Queen’s Garden in London. The mosaic floor was custom-designed in Venice.


Jaffe: Your family art is moving and detailed.

Aviva: Eyal’s mother replicated several of the oils from known painters. For my own pieces, I specialize in intricate fabric, gauze and crochet collages, each one taking about 18 months to finish. I am most proud of this piece which I completed in Florence during a four-month course. It is micro-painting from the 13th-century impressionism done in powder with authentic materials like vinegar, using a hand-painted tempera technique. There is quite a funny story here. I was about halfway into it when a well-meaning fellow student spilled her lemonade on it, and I had to start all over.


Jaffe: That must have been a real oy vez meir moment. Overlooking the living room from the mezzanine is dramatic. What drives the composition in here?

Eyal: The menorah on the fireplace mantle is Salvador Dali, and the glass is Chihuly. The sconces over the fireplace are melted gold. But my heart races when I see the movement of these gold Murano glass horses, all slightly different. The overhead chandelier is also from the same Murano collection. The most unusual thing in here is the drapes made with over-100-year-old velvet from East Russian Bukhara, purchased in Israel from a Druze [ultimately sewn here]. We literally tested its velvet authenticity by setting it on fire. And, yes, it burned.


Jaffe: I wager that this dining room has hosted some special Shabbat dinners.

Eyal: The table in olivewood and onyx from the Donald Trump Collection seats 14. Kim Tkatch [an Israeli painter] did the floral oil and the chandelier [Murano]. The musical painting is by Alexander Kanchik, an Israeli artist [and former Atlanta resident].

Aviva: This oil is Eyal’s fifth-generation great-grandfather’s [Rabbi Nahum Kalisker, pioneer in 1917] of a famous site next to the synagogue in Rosh Pina. My parents are survivors, by the way.


Jaffe: What is the background on this giant Asian panel in the breakfast room?

Eyal: I purchased that in China. It’s 200 years old and was full of dust when I found it in the Confucius Museum. It has two sets of letters to verify authenticity and depicts the seasons of the year.


Jaffe: You have a special story about this huge boat photograph.

Eyal: As a child, I fished with my father near this old, shipwrecked boat near Haifa on an abandoned beach, reputed to have carried the Enigma machine [the boat turned out to be from Turkey in the 1800s]. National Geographic photographer Jeff Mitchum printed only 10 copies [on aluminum]. We acquired it from his collection at the Bellagio. His art is also presented at the Masada site in Israel. The rough-textured frame is the wood from the sunken boat.

Jaffe: Yes, I see this is the lucky seventh out of 10.


Jaffe: What’s on the horizon for you two?

Aviva: We are quite involved in our children and grandchildren’s lives. Our daughter is opening an Italian restaurant [Bellina] this summer in the new Ponce City Market. Our younger daughter in Israel is heading a startup app [Motionize] — wearable sensors for sports, including paddling.

And we don’t take ourselves too seriously here. This glass pitcher is from T.J. Maxx.

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