Visit to Montreal
Professor Bezalel Narkiss and Dr. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin were the guests of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University. There they lectured at the National Board Meeting of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University and at the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Study Group, had a parlor meeting at the home of Lilllian and Bryant Shiller and met with active leaders in the Jewish community. As a result, a Friends of the Center for Jewish Art has been created in Montreal under the leadership of Sara Tauben.
A conference on "The Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Berlin and Hannover" took place in Hannover in October 1996. A research project has been undertaken to analyze the cause of dilapidation of tombstones in Jewish cemeteries and other stone monuments throughout Germany. Donations have also been made to preserve deteriorating tombstones in Jewish cemeteries in Berlin and Hannover. In a lecture delivered at the conference, Dr. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin talked about the Center's approach toward preservation, and described the Center's method of documentation, and the importance of documenting what can not be preserved.
Course, Jewish Art in Year and Life Cycles
The Society for Jewish Art presented a year course to kindergarten teachers on Jewish Art and its expression in the celebration of holidays and rites of passage. During the course, they examined varying visual expressions of Jewish culture in different Jewish communities.
Course, Hebrew University Rothberg School for
Center for Jewish Art Deputy Director, Ruth Jacoby, presented a two-part course for one year students on Year Cycles and Synagogues Through the Ages. The students examined ritual objects associated with Jewish holidays and learned how to observe these seemingly familiar objects from the viewpoint of an art historian. With the new observation skills they developed throughout the semester, they were able to see these objects in an entirely new light.
Teachers Course, Cultural Encounters
A course conducted by the Society for Jewish Art at the Hebrew University, explored the use of Jewish motifs in Jewish and other cultures.
At a conference held at the Frankeschen Stiftungen in Halle (Sachsen-Anhalt) in November 1996, the participants of the conference viewed the results of the Lower Saxony synagogue documentation project, and agreed that it was necessary to start a similar project in Eastern Germany. Attending the conference were members of the Conservation Departments of art and architecture of the different states, members of museums, universities, archives and private institutions interested in Jewish culture.
Professor Bezalel Narkiss' Festive 70th Birthday
December 10, 1996
One hundred students and colleagues of Professor Narkiss joined him in a special symposium held at the Hebrew University in honor of his 70th birthday. The symposium, sponsored by the Department of Art History and the Center for Jewish Art, featured 28 lectures as well as well-wishes by President Hanoch Guttfreund, Rector Yehoshua Ben Arieh, Dean of Humanities Menahem Milson, Department of Art Head Professor Elisheva Ravel-Neher, Ministry of Education's Religious Cultural Department Head Rabbi Yohanan Fried and Center for Jewish Art Director Dr. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin.
The participants paid witness to the immense impact which Professor Narkiss has had training a generation of Jewish art experts and in establishing Jewish art as a serious academic discipline. Each of the speakers--whether a student, professor, architect or archeologist--credited Professor Narkiss's tremendous influence in developing their methodology, perceptions and academic approaches.
Professor Marcel Dubois of the Department of Philosophy related to conversations which he had with Professor Narkiss on the nature of religious art. Zev Weiss, archeologist at Zippori, credited Narkiss' publications in changing the way he approached the mosaics which were excavated. Haya Friedberg, one of the 14 lecturers who graduated from the Hebrew University as a student of Professor Narkiss, discussed the search for holiness and anarchy in modern ritual objects, thus reflecting the pluralistic and eclectic influences of her mentor.
Rector Ben Arieh, who opened the symposium, poignantly discussed Professor Narkiss's contribution to Judaism, Zionism and science, while President Guttfreund talked about Narkiss's special contribution to the Hebrew University and Jewish Art.
Professor Gabriella Sed-Rajna, a close colleague of Professor Narkiss from Paris who worked with him on the first volumes of the Index of Jewish Art, was the symposium's guest of honor. She articulately traced Narkiss's unique scientific approach to the field of Jewish art and his illustrious academic career.
The event closed with Professor Bianca Kühnel presenting Professor Narkiss with the Table of Contents of the upcoming issue of Jewish Art which is being published in his honor.
A special Hanukah ceremony on December 12 1996, opened the Center's annual winter lecture series at the Israel Museum with the presentation of the Mordechai Narkiss Prize. The Narkiss Prize, given to a student who displays outstanding scholarship in Jewish Art, was presented this year to Center researcher, Michael Tal, who recently completed his master's degree with honors in Art History. The prize pays tribute to Mordechai Narkiss, founder of the Bezalel National Museum, which later became the core of the Israel Museum. The Narkiss Prize was established by his wife, Nassia Narkiss and family friends Abe and Rachel Bornstein of Boston, Joseph Stieglitz of Tel Aviv and Dr. Kurt Grunwald of Jerusalem. As part of a series of lectures on the Jewish Built Heritage, Michael Tal spoke about the synagogues of Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv. In subsequent weeks, lectures were presented by Ariella Amar who spoke about the synagogues of Lev Ha-'ir in Jerusalem, and Sharman Kadish who spoke about synagogues of England.
Lecture Series in the United States
Professor Narkiss was the guest of the American Friends of Hebrew University in Palm Springs where he spoke at Temple Isaiah and at a reception at the home of Center supporters, Lee and Philip Hixon.
Narkiss also spoke at New York City's Congregation Emmanu-el on "Searching for our Jewish Visual Heritage in Eastern Europe: New Discoveries." In Washington D.C., Narkiss spoke to friends of the Hebrew University at the home of Dalya and Edward Luttwak and gave a public lecture at the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center. In Pittsburgh, Narkiss met with members of the Pittsburgh Index of Jewish Art which was created by the Center's long-time friend Kitty Ruttenberg. In Philadelphia, friends of the Hebrew University met Narkiss in the home of Sivy and Fred Blume to discuss the Center's recent activities to document endangered Jewish art and met with Jewish artist Jonathan Mandell and his wife Monica.
Course, Hebrew University Rothberg School for
Ruth Jacoby, Center Deputy Director, presented a course to new immigrants on Synagogues Through the Ages. The students, mostly from South America, learned to discern various elements in synagogue decoration and the differences and similarities between Sephardi and Ashkenazi synagogues.
Visit to San Diego, Chile
Jacobo Furman, of Santiago, Chile, standing next to a display of his collection of Hanukah Lamps.
Jacobo Furman, a well-known Judaica collector and Center for Jewish Art long-time friend, invited Professor Bezalel Narkiss to San Diego. There Professor Narkiss was able to examine the impressive Furman Collection and meet with leaders of the Jewish community.
International Book Fair
The Center for Jewish Art displayed its 35 publications at this international gathering held every two years in Jerusalem.
Conference on Zionism and
April 23-24, 1997
"Ayin l'Zion Tsofia (Looking for Zion) - Art and Zionism." was the subject of the Society for Jewish Art's 29th annual Passover conference at the Israel Museum. Lectures by well-known historians, art historians, artists, and architects attracted over 200 participants, who came to hear lectures on the visual arts, as well as other related subjects such as film and music.
Seminar, Synagogue Decoration
The Society for Jewish Art presented a four day seminar in Beer Sheva for teachers and educators from all over Israel on the subject of Synagogue decoration.
Hebrew University Board of Governor's Tour of Lev
June 4, 1997
A tour of the Lev Ha-'ir neighborhood, brought members of the Hebrew University Board of Governors to one of the quiet corners in the bustle of downtown Jerusalem. Hidden in the narrow alleys and lanes of this neighborhood, also known as Nahlaot, one can find many treasures of the early settlement of Jerusalem outside the walls of the old city. The participants visited with Center researchers two of Nahlaot's 100 synagogues, the Hasidic Batei Rand Synagogue and the Aleppo community's Ades Synagogue. The Center is now conducting an intensive project to document and research the ritual objects and synagogues in Lev Ha-'ir. The tour's participants were able to get a glimpse of the Center's efforts to preserve the rich artistic and architectural heritage of this neighborhood.