On my return to Jerusalem and the Hebrew University after a year on Sabbatical in Europe, I come with a renewed commitment to the goals of the Center for Jewish Art. Wherever my research has taken me over the past year- Russia, Germany, England, France, Holland and Tunisia- I have been faced with constant reminders of the urgency of our work to uncover, document, and study the rich material heritage of the Jewish people.
I would like to extend my warmest thanks to Professor Bianca Kühnel for so ably stepping in as Acting Director and for so effectively chairing the highly successful Fifth International Seminar on Jewish Art. I would also like to thank Deputy Director Ruth Jacoby and our talented team of 28 graduate students who have carried out the expeditions to Romania, Ukraine and England and for laying the groundwork for our major project to upgrade the computerization of the Index of Jewish Art. This past year, the Center has also published an informative and attractive volume of Jewish Art on modern Jewish art of Eastern Europe, and conducted an intensive Jewish Art seminar in St. Petersburg.
In the coming academic year, the Center looks forward to further progress in the computerization of the Index to ensure that our vast wealth of documentation will be accessible to the public. We also plan to send expeditions to Tunisia, Poland and Prague and we will be holding our sixth symposium 'Jewish Art in Greece'.
Unfortunately, we have had to cut back on some of the Center's other planned projects as well as in the number of student researchers, because we are in dire need of funds to provide scholarships, i.e. monthly stipends and tuition which each of our graduate student researchers receives. If we are forced to make further cuts in the number of students, this will seriously endanger the Center's ability to carry out emergency expeditions to record Jewish art at risk, and proceed with the Index's computerization project and publish.
The Center is now entering its 18th year - an anniversary which in Hebrew symbolizes life. We aim to keep alive the Jewish artistic heritage for present and future generations. We turn to you, our friends worldwide, to reaffirm your commitment to Jewish culture by becoming our partners in these efforts.
Aliza Cohen-Mushlin, Director
Dr. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin (right) with Dr. Ivan Mohytch and Dr. Natalia Slipchenko from the West Ukrainian Institute for the Conservation of Monuments, reviewing architectural plans of a Ukrainian synagogue. The Center has been working together with the institute to document the 200 existing synagogues in Ukraine before the structures, most of which are used today as warehouses, disintegrate.