The North American Jewish community has become increasingly aware of the importance of Jewish culture in enriching and perpetuating Jewish identity in the Diaspora. In response to these concerns, representatives of the Center visited several communities in the United States and Canada in the past two years. Groups in Atlanta, Cleveland and Sarasota hosted several events which highlighted the work done at the Center.
A most significant visit was made to Vancouver in February 2001. Having planted the seeds the previous February, Prof. Bezalel Narkiss and Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin came back to discover that the visit had borne fruit. Speaking in a variety of venues – an art gallery, the University of Victoria, its faculty club, the Jewish community center, and a private home - Bezalel Narkiss and Aliza Cohen-Mushlin reached a broad audience. Inspired by the Center’s work, a new chapter of the Canadian Friends of the Center for Jewish Art was founded in Vancouver with Gerry Growe as its Chairman. Victoria resident Jack Gardner, a generous donor to the Center, donated a fund to help document abandoned synagogues in the Ukraine. The new group resolved to enlarge upon this work. Until now the Center has documented one-third of three hundred synagogues there. The initiative of the Vancouver Friends will assist in completing this task. Special thanks go to all the organizers headed by Dvori Balshine.
Every year, a lecture series sponsored by the Women’s Chapter of the Mexican Friends of the Hebrew University brings three scholars from the Hebrew University to Mexico. The scholars lecture in various local universities and synagogues and help raise money for student scholarships. In March of this year, CJA Director Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin joined Prof. Dalia Ofer and Prof. Menachem Ben-Sasson in addressing the community. Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin spoke about the Center’s efforts to document art and architecture of communities worldwide. Community members expressed interest in documenting the synagogues of Mexico. The community of 40,000 Jews is made up of Ashkenazim, Syrian Jews and Sephardim from Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. The planned documentation in Mexico would be another piece in the mosaic of the Syrian Jewish diasporas being documented by the Index.
Two scholarships were given by Reyna and Enrique Grunstein to CJA students Irina Chernetsky and Vladimir Levin.
Scholarship Dedicated in Memory of Hans-Heinrich Solf
Dr. Sabine Buchler-Solf, the former Director of Research at the Herzog August Bibliotek in Wolfebüttel, has dedicated a CJA Scholarship in memory of her husband, Dr. Hans-Heinrich Solf (1910-1987). Hans-Heinrich Solf was born into a distinguished German family. His father served in various top diplomatic roles. During World War II, his mother established the “Solf Circle,” a resistance group opposed to Hitler and National Socialism for which she and her daughter paid dearly with their lives. Hans-Heinrich Solf studies law at the end of WWII he was appointed by the British Military Governor as a government officer in Göttingen. In 1951 he joined the Council of Europe as the first German European civil servant in Strasbourg and retired from that position in 1971. He was a distinguished freemason who was renowned as a Masonic scholar.