Jerusalem, October 1996
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.
In Search of Jewish Art in Romania and the Ukraine
A team of researchers from the Center of Jewish Art and the Jewish University of St. Petersburg, recently returned from an expedition to Romania and the Ukraine with exciting reports of a wealth of discoveries. Of particular interest were their findings in Romania where they came across synagogues containing high quality artistry in wooden aronot kodesh (Torah Arks) and wall paintings. They were able to document a collection of ritual objects which has recently opened to the public. The expedition also documented exquisitely decorated tombstones in Bukovina, which spans both Rumania and Ukraine, and Southern Podolia, part of present-day Ukraine.
The Romania team comprised Center researchers, Boris Chaimovitch and Binyamin Lukin, experts on Eastern European Jewish art and ethnography, Bianca Stube, an historian and specialist on Jewish communities in Romania, and St. Petersburg Jewish University researchers Olga and Valery Dimshitz, experts on ritual objects, Marina Bruck, specialist in Hebrew texts and epigraphy, Alla Sokolova, an architect who has participated in previous expeditions and Dimitry Vilensky, photographer. The expedition took place in two separate regions, Moldavia and Romanian Bukovina.
The team was able to document a most fascinating collection, inaccessible until recently, of ritual objects at the Jewish Museum in Bucharest, collected by Rabbi Rosen during his period as Chief Rabbi of Romania. Of particular interest were the fine parochot (Torah curtains), and Torah crowns, pointers and rimonim (Torah Finials), some of which are characteristic of the local style.
The expedition documented a wealth of Romanian synagogues, their interior furnishings and ritual objects whose style resembles that in Moldavia and Southern Galicia. Among the important finds was the wooden synagogue in Piatra Neamt dating from 1766, which contains a wooden aron kodesh from 1835, the earliest located on this expedition. In Botosani the team found a synagogue containing an ornate wooden aron kodesh from the mid 19th century, and important wall paintings colored in a special technique, in which the paint was applied to fabric attached to the walls. They also recorded highly decorative tombstones from the 19th century.
The Great Synagogue of Iasi (Jassy), dated 1670, with an eclectic style as a result of many restorations, contains a small museum of ritual objects. The synagogue is noteworthy for its unusually large and beautiful aron kodesh, which takes up the entire eastern wall. Another interesting find was the Leipziger Synagogue in Roman from the second half of the 19th century, with its late Volk-Baroque wooden aron kodesh, elaborately decorated with floral and animal motifs. The cemetery in Roman was memorable for its decorated tombstones employing local motifs based on the community insignia.
In Hirlau the team documented an early 19th century synagogue with a wooden cupola, important because its construction is reminiscent of earlier, now-lost, synagogues. The wall paintings in the Hirlau synagogue are noteworthy for their unusual motifs, among them, a painting of the burning bush, and another, a painting of Temple implements.
Center researcher Boris Chaimovitch examining details of elaborately decorated paintings on ceiling of synagogue in Hirlau. This early 19th century synagogue is in use by only a handful of elderly Jews still left in the community.
In the Ukraine, Center researchers, Chaimovitch and Lukin, were joined by researchers from the Jewish University of St. Petersburg: Michael Nosonovski, a specialist in the study of Jewish epitaphs, Marina Bruck and Alexandra Chernina, both of whom have participated in previous expeditions, Yuli Lipshitz, an architect specializing in Ukrainian monuments, Michael Kheifetz, photographer, and ten students from the university. Three different cemeteries were documented. In Buchach in Galicia, rare tombstones date back to the 16th century. Several from the 17th and 18th centuries are noteworthy for their marvellous portal shaped construction, and interesting texts. The inscriptions at Buchach are particularly informative from an historical point of view, the genealogical information revealing much about the migration of the Jews in this area.
The Chotin cemetery in Bukovina contains approximately 5,000 tombstones from the 19th - 20th century and selected examples of art historical interest were documented. Over 50 tombstones from the beginning of the 18th through the 19th century were recorded in the Sadgora cemetery, also in Bukovina, and famous as one of the oldest cemeteries in the region.
In Southern Podolia near the Dniestre River, the expedition surveyed synagogues and cemeteries in twelve still existing shtetls, which were populated continuously by Jews until about twenty years ago. After the Second World War, large numbers of Jews moved to the bigger cities. The shift in population continued until the 1970s and 1980s when many of the remaining Jews emigrated to Israel. Previously unknown synagogues were discovered in these areas, which date from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century. These synagogues, which the Center plans to fully document with a team of architects on a future expedition, are typical of this area known as Transnystria. Many of these synagogues are being used as warehouses, as is the case elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
The research team returned to Israel with 150 rolls of film, a wealth of information to be analyzed and great enthusiasm to mount future expeditions to this area in our continuing efforts to uncover the Jewish cultural heritage in Eastern Europe.
This expedition was made possible with the generous support of Steven Spielberg's Righteous Persons' Foundation, Santa Monica, CA and the Project Judaica Foundation, Washington, D.C.
The Survey of Jewish Monuments in the United Kingdom and Ireland
The Victorian East London Synagogue, Stepney Green,
currently undergoing conversion into apartments.
Before the Second World War the East End of London was home to some 100,000 Jews, first and second generation immigrants who had fled the pogroms in the Russian Empire in the years between 1881-1914, and to Jews from Rumania and Galicia.
Today, there is little physical evidence of the Jewish presence in the East End situated close to the London docks, the traditional magnet for immigration. The French Protestants (Huguenots) and Irish were there before the Jews; the Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis followed them. Most of the dozens of synagogues, mikva'ot (ritual baths) chevrot and shtieblakh (prayer rooms) have gone. Batei Midrash, schools, clubs, Yiddish theaters, homes and workshops are now occupied by the newer immigrants, and what is left of the Jewish community is disappearing before our eyes. The last kosher restaurant, "Blooms," a landmark of the Jewish East End, closed its doors a few months ago. Upward social mobility and the move to the suburbs, which began before the Second World War and the German Blitz on London, led to the gradual dispersal of East End Jewry. Today an estimated four to six thousand Jews still live in the East End, Stepney and Whitechapel, mostly elderly, and only a handful of synagogues still function.
In August 1996, London born project coordinator, Dr. Sharman Kadish, together with architect Dr. Boris Lekar spent three weeks on fieldwork in the East End. In the first practical stage of the planned national survey of Jewish monuments in the UK and Ireland, they carried out emergency recording, using field questionnaires developed for the purpose, photography, and rapidly executed measured drawings of twelve East End synagogues. They began with the famous Spanish and Portuguese Bevis Marks Synagogue (1701), a grade-one listed building on the National Monuments Register, which has never before been fully documented from an architectural point of view. Two buildings which were converted from Huguenot chapels, Sandy's Row Synagogue (1766) and the Machzike Hadas Synagogue (1743) were surveyed, along with the Princelet Street Synagogue (1870) which was built onto the back of a Huguenot weaver's house (1719) and was once occupied by an ancestor of the Courtauld textile family. There are plans to convert this synagogue into a heritage center on the immigrant history of Spitalfields. Of these buildings only one, Sandy's Row, is still in use. The Machzike Hadas, once a church, then a synagogue, is now a mosque serving the Indian Muslims, the newest immigrants in the neighborhood.
Many of the synagogues surveyed by Kadish and Lekar are no longer in use and will probably disappear within the next decade. In the Great Garden Street Synagogue (1896) which has just been sold to developers, the researchers found abandoned archives and furnishings and alerted the Greater London Record Office and the Jewish Museum. Other synagogues documented were the Fieldgate Street Synagogue (1899), Nelson Street Synagogue (1922) and the Congregation of Jacob (1921- a chapel conversion) in which several hand-painted pinkasim (community records) books were found, typical of a Hasidic congregation of East European origin. Also found in this synagogue were remains of wall paintings, another characteristic East European feature. The researchers were almost too late for the once splendid East London Synagogue (1876-7) whose soaring space is in the process of being divided up to make fashionable apartments for the "yuppies" now moving into the regenerated parts of Stepney Green. Similarly, they were able to get to the Cheshire Street Synagogue (1890's) in Shoreditch before its imminent demolition and took photographs.
Kadish and Lekar ventured further afield to the New Synagogue in Stamford Hill, North London. The design of this synagogue, built in 1915, was based upon that of the old New Synagogue in Bishopsgate (1838) which was demolished in 1912. Some of the fittings of the Bishopsgate synagogue, the ark, bima, and candelabra, were brought to the Stamford Hill synagogue. Kadish and Lekar also documented the Hackney Synagogue (1897) which is celebrating its centenary next year and Willesden Synagogue, a 1930s building designed by the important central European emigré architect Fritz Landauer in association with Wills and Kaula. In this case, the researchers found that the original plans have been destroyed by the local authority. All that remain are poor copies on microfilm at the local history library. One of the aims of the project is to rescue original architectural plans and to deposit them in the library of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) which is sponsoring the survey. All the material will be part of the Index of Jewish Art.
Kadish was also approached by the Charlotte Street Association in Soho to help save the Westminster Jews' Free School, a fine 1880's facade with terra cotta decoration, from redevelopment. Lekar also made sketches and photographed this building. Thus the UK survey is already contributing to the practical preservation of the Jewish architectural heritage in London.
Seed money for this project has been donated by the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England.
Ashkenazi Illuminated Manuscripts in the British Isles
The documentation of Ashkenazi illuminated manuscripts represents the Center for Jewish Art's third phase of documentation of Hebrew illuminated manuscripts in the British Isles. In past years the Center's researchers have surveyed all the Hebrew illuminated manuscripts mainly in public collections in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester and Dublin as well as in a few private collections. In the first phase, the Spanish and Portuguese manuscripts were documented and later published in two volumes by the British Academy and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Manuscripts from the Italian school were documented in the second phase and now, Ashkenazi manuscripts, from France, Germany and the Netherlands, are in an advanced stage of documentation. Sarit Shalev-Eyni, a doctoral student in the Hebrew University's Art History Department and a researcher at the Center for Jewish Art, is presently in England to carry out this work. The following article is an abstract based on her current research.
In order to study the variations occurring in the Ashkenazi manuscripts, these manuscripts were divided into groups by type of text. The largest groups identified were the mahzorim (festival prayer books) and Pentateuchs which are the most common among the manuscripts in the various collections.
Each type of text has its own special layout. The mahzor is divided into different liturgical sections, according to the festivals, feasts, holy days and other occasions. Each section consists of prayers and piyyutim (liturgical poems). Set prayers are repeated on the various festivals and holy days, whereas each festival has its own group of piyyutim. Therefore the piyyutim were chosen by the scribes and artists to be the main focus of the illustrations. Special emphasis was given to the initial word of each piyyut, which is written in large decorative letters, occasionally surrounded by a panel, with complimentary illumination.
Some of the illustrations in the panels of the initial word relate to the text. An example of this can be seen in the "Tinted Mahzor" (B.L. Add. 26896) from Franconia (ca. 1300). Here, the initial word of the piyyut , "A beloved doe", which is a metaphor for the people of Israel, is depicted as a hunting scene which includes a pack of dogs led by a monkey-hunter, chasing a male deer, rather than a doe. The scene represents the people of Israel persecuted by the Christians in Europe at the time. A similar hunting scene depicting a doe can be found in other mahzorim, illustrating the same piyyut.
The illustrative medallions accompanying the piyyut for the prayer for dew during Passover are also common in other illustrated mahzorim. In its eleven stanzas, this piyyut describes the twelve months of the year with signs of the zodiac. Each stanza of the piyyut is illustrated by a medallion containing one of the zodiac signs. In the "Tinted Mahzor", this iconographical tradition appears in a reduced version, where only seven medallions with seven of the signs of the zodiac are to be found. Medallions with the zodiac signs are most common in Christian calendars preceeding the Latin Psalter of this period. The iconography of these signs in the "Tinted Mahzor" was undoubtedly influenced by this Christian tradition. In some mahzorim, some of the zodiac signs are designed in a special manner. For example, Gemini in the "Tinted Mahzor" is depicted as a woman with a double bird head. In many mahzorim the twins are depicted as two images with birds heads. In others they are depicted as a bust with two joined heads. The version in the "Tinted Mahzor" combines these two Jewish traditions.
Two of the zodiac signs from the "Tinted Mahzor". Particularly noteworthy is the lower picture of the woman with two bird's heads depicting the sign of Gemini.
Characteristic illustrated texts can be seen in other mahzorim in collections of the British Isles. One of the more common of these can be seen in the "Dragons' Head Mahzor" (B.L. Or. 42) dating from the end of the 13th century and in the "London Days of Awe Mahzor" (B.L. Add. 16916) from the beginning of the 14th century, both from Franconia. The blessing "Blessed art thou who openest the Gates of Mercy for us" in the morning prayer for Yom Kippur is illustrated by a gate which surrounds the whole page. A hand holding a shofar is shown in the margin of the page next to the blowing of the shofar in the "Dragons' Head Mahzor".
A different design program characterizes the Ashkenazi Pentateuchs. The initial words of the Five Books are emphasized and illustrated. The initial words of other sections such as the five Megillot and the haftarot are likewise emphasized. Apart from the main text, the Pentateuch is accompanied by texts in the margins, with masorah magna or masorah parva (long and short lists of variant readings), or Aramaic translations and Rashi commentaries. These are all written in smaller letters arranged around the edges, surrounding the central text, all of which gives its characteristic layout. Sometimes the text in the margins is formed into various shapes. The masorah magna is decorated by micrography which outlines the shapes (which is typical in Hebrew Manuscripts). In other manuscripts, the text of the commentary fills the shape as is the case in the Carmina figurata which is known from Latin texts. There is a large variety of shapes with some illustrating the text.
The "Yonah Pentateuch" (B.L. Add. 21160) is one of the most sumptuous examples of a Pentateuch with masorah magna decorated with micrographic illustrations. Its name derives from the depictions of two scenes from the Book of Jonah: Jonah being expelled from the sea monster's mouth, and Yonah sitting under the gourd tree (kikayon).
Documentation work does not only focus on the artistic content. Emphasis is also given to the codicological characteristics of a manuscript and its text. The text of the Pentateuch is constant but the haftarot vary according to the customs of the different Jewish communities. For example, the haftarot read by Jews from the Dauphine region differ from the more common versions to be found in Pentateuchs from Franconia.
Changes in the composition of the haftarot may give a clue as to the historical development of a given Pentateuch. After the Hayyim D'Qopdana (B.L. Or. 2696) Pentateuch was completed, for example, another scribe added selections of haftarot in the manuscript which changed the original version. These changes indicate that not long after the completion of this manuscript, it reached another community where different customs prevailed. The importance of distinguishing between the different scribes enables scholars to reconstruct the history of an individual manuscript.
A similar example is "Abraham's Pentateuch and Rashi" (B.L. Harley 1861) from the second quarter of the 14th century. This Pentateuch is named after the scribe who wrote the main text , the Aramaic translation and the commentary. However, it is obvious that single leaves were written by another scribe; their codicological elements being different from those by the original scribe. At the bottom of these pages, one can discern the scribe's attempts to enlarge the letters in order to fit the text into the remaining empty spaces. These features indicate that these pages were written after the initial completion of the Pentateuch. Examining the quires reveals that these leaves were glued into the margins of now-missing pages which were torn out from the original Pentateuch. As if this is not enough, the new scribe tells us the story himself. At the end of one of the pages, he writes a four line poem with an acrostic of his name, Jacob and tells us: "may the owner of the book have eternal life for volunteering to write the missing pages". It appears that Jacob acquired the Pentateuch with a few of its pages missing and he himself filled in the missing gaps.
Distinguishing between different scribes does not always indicate various periods of writing. Frequently, one may detect in an individual Pentateuch a division of work between different scribes working concurrently. One was responsible for the main text and the other scribe or scribes were responsible for the texts in the margins and for the vocalization. Sometimes the scribe of the main text also wrote the texts in the margins. Unraveling the complex relationship between the different scribes is a challenge facing the serious researcher.
Sarit Shalev-Eyni is the recipient of the Beata Polonsky Overseas Travel Award of the Polonsky Foundation, London.
The Fifth International Seminar on Jewish Art
Over 400 people from 24 countries participated in the Fifth International Seminar on Jewish Art. Seated in the front row center are Prof. Avigdor Posèq, Richard Shoyer, Prof. Bezalel Narkiss and Prof. Shmaryahu Talmon
This year, to mark the celebration of "Jerusalem 3000," the Fifth International Seminar on Jewish Art of the Center for Jewish Art was dedicated to The Real and Ideal Jerusalem in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Art. The Seminar, which took place in Jerusalem from June 16-21, 1996, was a tremendous success from the standpoints of both scholarship and attendance, which surpassed that at all previous Seminars.
Over 400 participants gathered to hear 120 lectures by world renowned experts in the visual culture and history of Jerusalem. The abundance of outstanding material, necessitated the holding of three sessions concurrently at the Van Leer Institute and at the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. New aspects of the visual representation of real and ideal Jerusalem were explored, stressing roots common to the three systems of faith, while displaying their particular national or religious features.
Prof. Bianca Kühnel, the Seminar Chairperson, summarized the differences and similarities between the approaches of the three religions in her closing lecture, Reality and Idealism in the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Approaches to Jerusalem in Art, emphasizing that : "The extensive, comparative discussion of Jerusalem in art allows us to see that although many ideas and forms passed from one monotheistic religion to the other, the common use of certain visual motifs never affected the clarity of each one's own statement, never blurred the frontiers between them. This unique phenomenon concerning a symbol whose universality surpasses human experience and imagination is part of the mystery called Jerusalem."
Most of the lectures describing Jerusalem in Jewish Art concentrated on depictions of the Temple and its implements in synagogal and ceremonial art. Dr. Annette Weber, Curator of Arts at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, spoke on Monuments for the Jewish Nation in Exile. She outlined the changing motifs on arks and ark curtains in synagogues in Italy and central Europe after the exile from Spain, and how the more elaborate interiors of post-medieval synagogues became a mode of Jewish self-assertion in exile. This legacy helped mold the Jewish cultural identity in modern times, as discussed by Haya Friedberg in her lecture, Contemporary Ceremonial Art and Secular Jewish Identity.
Professor Jerzy Malinovsky from the University of Lodz, spoke about a group of Polish artists who traveled to Jerusalem at the beginning of the 20th century who, upon their return to Poland, portrayed genre scenes of Jews, Christians and Muslims. This type of portrayal was gradually superseded by representation of the ethos of the pioneer's life.
The sessions dedicated to Christian Art emphasized Heavenly Jerusalem and its wide range of symbolic interpretations. Prof. Herbert L. Kessler from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, referred to the use of Christian imagery to compensate for the loss of the Holy City, in his lecture: The Destruction of Jerusalem and the Necessity of Christian Art. Prof. Henry Maguire from Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. in his lecture entitled: Davidic Virtue: The Crown of Constantine Monomachos and its Images, described Davidic iconography connected with the Byzantine Imperial court.
In the session entitled: Symbols of Jerusalem in Byzantine Art, Alexei Lidov from the Center for Eastern Christian Culture, Moscow, lectured on the Image of Heavenly Jerusalem in Byzantine and Russian Art of the medieval period from the fifth to the sixteenth centuries.
Three engaging sessions on Jerusalem in Islamic Art brought in large audiences. Among the speakers was Tatiana Starodoub from the Research Institute for the Theory and History of Art of the Russian Academy of Art, Moscow. In her lecture entitled, The Holy City (Al-Quds) Idea in Medieval Muslim Painting, she discussed the image of the Holy City as being a metaphor for the Almighty. Most other lectures concentrated on the Islamic traditions of the Temple Mount. Professor Heribert Busse, from the University of Kiel, Germany, and one of the conference moderators, gave a discourse on the Temple of Jerusalem and its Restitution by the Muslims. He described how Jewish and Christian ideas influenced the Muslim understanding of the Temple and its function.
Professor Priscilla P. Soucek from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts, explored the role played by traditions about Zachariah B. Berechiah and Maryam bint 'Imran in the Islamic understanding of the Temple and its heritage, in her lecture, The Temple After Solomon: The Role of Zacharia b. Berechiah and Maryam Bint 'Imram. Miriam Rosen-Ayalon discussed the archeological aspect in her lecture: Jewish Substrata, Christian History and Muslim Symbolism: An Archeological Episode in Jerusalem.
Two controversial lectures on contemporary Israeli and Palestinian art were given, respectively, by Dr. Milly Heyd and Dr. Gannit Ankori, both of the Hebrew University. In Behind the Walls: Jerusalem in Contemporary Palestinian Art, Dr. Ankori described how the image of Jerusalem, the real and ideal, has come to dominate Palestinian Art over the past twenty years. She presented and analyzed several examples of Palestinian art to illustrate her argument. In Anti-Myth in Contemporary Israeli Artists' Portrayal of Jerusalem Dr. Milly Heyd described the clash of myth and reality as Israeli artists grapple with the mystification of Jerusalem.
Sessions were held in which contemporary artists presented their work and spoke about the influence of Jerusalem on their art. Judith Margolis, Art Director for the Jerusalem Post Magazine presented her work in progress, "Twelve Gates to the City: An Artist's Book About Jerusalem," a portrayal, in typography and collaged images, of several aspects of life in Jerusalem. Liz Blazer, a visiting artist from Philadelphia, and a participant in the artist in residence program in Arad this year, presented a series of photographs taken in the Old City meat market. Eitan Erell of Tel Aviv described his use of Jewish ideas and images in his jewelry design.
Dr. Jo Milgrom conducted an educational workshop on the subject of Jerusalem, and the origin and development of the universe. She began with a presentation of texts and slides, followed by a workshop on mandalas, which are schematized representations of the cosmos or, in Jungian psychology, symbols representing the effort to reunify the self. Participants drew, painted, sculpted, collaged, sewed, installed or danced mandalas.
Delegates were also treated to a stimulating afternoon of tours of Jerusalem guided by experts in the field. These included a fascinating visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre led by Professor George Lavas, the architect of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Professor Lavas was able to take his group to places usually inaccessible to the public. Dr. Chana Schütz of Centrum Judaicum in Berlin, and Professor Jürgen Krüger of the University of Regensburg, Germany, led a tour of German architectural sites, noting the eclectic nature of the buildings and contrasts with the local "oriental" architecture.
Dr. Raya Shani guided a tour to the Temple Mount ( including Solomon's stables) where she discussed the importance of the Dome of the Rock for the Ummayad rulers. On another tour, Ruth Jacoby brought visitors to the tunnel excavations beneath Arab houses along the length of the Western Wall, where the magnificence and strength of Herodian building is evident. Dr. Ronnie Reich presented the renewed excavations he is heading at the south western corner of the Temple Mount where a Herodian Street has been uncovered as well as dramatic evidence of the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans.
Ariella Amar led a tour through one of the oldest neighborhood of the new city, which included a small sample of the one hundred synagogues of Nachlaot (see article on Center's Lev Ha-'Ir Project).
An expedition to Tel Aviv led by Nitza Behrouzi brought some visitors to an exhibit of Jerusalem papercuts by artist Yehudit Shadur at the Eretz Yisrael Museum.
Prof. Rainer Stichel of the University of Münster, Germany (left), Prof. Beat Brenk of the University of Basel, Switzerland (center), and Prof. Herbert L. Kessler of Johns Hopkins University at the Bible Lands Museum for the Opening Ceremony of the Fifth International Seminar on Jewish Art.
Evening events were in keeping with the theme of Jerusalem. The opening ceremony was held at the Bible Lands Museum where there was a tour of the exhibition: Jerusalem - A Capital for All Times. The program also included a musical interlude, a piece by Jerusalem composer, Haim Alexander, and a riveting lecture on The Rise of David, by Professor Yair Zakovitch, Head of the Hebrew University's Institute of Jewish Studies.
On the following evening at the Israel Museum, visitors were greeted by Museum President, Teddy Kollek during a cocktail reception. They were then taken on an engaging tour of the museum's collection highlighting Jerusalem from antiquity to modern times. Another evening was spent at the Jerusalem Cinemateque for a special screening of Dutch filmmaker Willy Lindwer's documentary: Jerusalem Between Heaven and Earth: A three part series on Jerusalem: City of History, City of Religion and City of Peace.
The Closing Ceremony took place at the Ticho House, where an exhibition of landscapes and portraits by well-known artists Anna Ticho and Hermann Struck was being held. The evening began with a festive meal, and concluded with a lecture by Hebrew University Professor Avigdor Posèq on the work of Anna Ticho, a portrait of Jerusalem in Poetry by the Jerusalem Poetry Reading Group, and a performance by the Russian Orthodox Liturgical Music Octet, "Musica Eterna."
The Seminar provided a unique opportunity for students and scholars of Jewish, Christian and Islamic Art to examine, comparatively, a multitude of topics connected with Jerusalem in Art. The discussions led to a better understanding of common forms of expression and continuity of motifs on the one hand, and the detection of new developments and turning points in artistic attitudes towards Jerusalem, on the other. Moreover, the Seminars was an important meeting ground between Eastern European and Western scholars, to the benefit of all.
The Center is currently preparing the next edition of Jewish Art which will include a selection of over 50 lectures from the Seminar. This important volume, which will be a great resource for scholars, researchers and students alike, will be dedicated to Prof. Bezalel Narkiss on the occasion of his 70th birthday in recognition of his tremendous contribution to the field of Jewish Art.
The Fifth International Seminar on Jewish Art was made possible with the generous support of:
Robert Bosch Stiftung, Stuttgart
Jerusalem 3000 Committee
Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York
Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung, Essen
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel
Rich Foundation, Paris
We would also like to thank the following friends and institutions for their assistance:
Stanley and Donna Batkin, New Rochelle,
Dan Hotels Corporation, Ltd., Tel Aviv
Embassy of France, Tel Aviv
Daniel Friedenberg, New York
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Isaac and Bonnie Pollak, New York
Hershel Shanks, Washington, D.C.
Sotheby's, Tel Aviv
Ministry of Tourism, Israel
Stef Wertheimer, Iscar Ltd., Tefen, Israel
This Seminar was a project of the Jerusalem 3000 Celebrations.
Jewish Faith, Jewish Life: The Jews in Goettingen and Lower Saxony, Germany
In conjunction with the Institut für Baugeschichte of the Technical University of Braunschweig, the Center for Jewish Art presented an exhibition on the history and culture of the Jews of Lower Saxony, Germany, concentrating especially on the area of Goettingen. The show was held at the State and University Library in Goettingen from April 14 to the end of May. Materials illustrating Jewish life in Germany were contributed by libraries, museums, and private collections throughout the region.
A large part of the exhibition was given over to a display of documentation of synagogues, mikvaot (ritual baths), cemeteries, and Jewish schools in Lower Saxony. This documentation was the fruit of a joint project of the Center for Jewish Art, directed by Dr. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin, and the Institut für Bau-und Stadtbaugeschichte, Fachgebiet Baugeschichte, headed by Prof. Dr. Harmen Thies of the Technische Universitat Braunschweig.
Three-dimensional computer reconstructions of two buildings were also shown at the exhibition, the former synagogue at Eldagsen and the Ohel (cemetery hall) in Braunschweig. These were executed by Dr. Sergei Kravtsov of the Center for Jewish Art using the ARC+ computer aided design program.
Over a period of only six weeks, more than 3,000 visitors visited the exhibition which was accompanied by a comprehensive German language catalogue, "Jüdischer Glaube - Jüdisches Leben." This includes articles about the joint documentation project in Lower Saxony, the Jewish religion, a history of the Jews at the University of Goettingen, as well as histories of some of the other Jewish communities in southern Lower Saxony. The great interest generated by the exhibition has stimulated plans for further exhibitions and symposia in North Germany.
Opening of the Goettingen Exhibition.
Jewish Art Course in St. Petersburg
As part of the ongoing efforts to train and expose art historians, educators, scholars, community leaders and students to current research in the expanding field of Jewish Art, the Center for Jewish Art conducted its third bi-annual Seminar this summer in St. Petersburg. The Seminar took place from June 26 to July 2, at the Institute of Science in central St. Petersburg, near the Hermitage Museum. Approximately 80 people participated in this year's Seminar, primarily students from the Jewish University, as well as local researchers, curators and educators including twenty art teachers from throughout the C.I.S. The lecturers who addressed the Seminar this year discussed a wide variety of subjects ranging from "Monuments of Ancient Israel" to "Jewish Artists of Eastern Europe from the 18th to 20th Centuries."
The evening lectures were each of one and a half hours duration and were complimented by a rich assortment of slides and printed material. Much of the material presented over the course of the week was completely new to those who attended.
Gabriella Bichovsky, presented a series of lectures on the Archeology of Ancient Jerusalem. She covered the history of Jerusalem during the First and Second Temple, Roman and Byzantine periods. Bichovsky, whose expertise is in ancient coins, now works in the Department of Antiquities at the Rockefeller Museum, and is a researcher at the Center for Jewish Art.
In his lectures on the language of Jewish folk art in 17th to 19th century Eastern Europe, Boris Chaimovich, organizer of the Seminar, discussed wall paintings in masonry and wooden synagogues and their iconographical connection to carved tombstones. He also spoke about illustrated Jewish community record books (pinkasim) from the 18th and 19th centuries. Chaimovich, is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the Hebrew University and a researcher at the Center for Jewish Art.
Hillel Kazovsky, a doctoral candidate at the Hebrew University, lectured on the Eastern European Jewish artists from the mid-19th century to the 1930s. He spoke about the Jewish centers of art education in Vilna , Odessa, Warsaw and Vitebsk and on the avant -garde Jewish artists in Eastern Europe, the Kultur-Lige, in the period before the Russian Revolution through the 1920s and 1930s, with emphasis on Chagall, Altman, Ryback, Chaikov and Epstein. Kazovsky is an expert on 19th and 20th century Jewish artists from Eastern Europe, some of whom are still unknown in the West, and is the author of the book Artists from Vitebsk.
Binyamin Lukin, who is also a researcher at the Center for Jewish Art, used new archival sources from the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem in his lectures on the Jewish History of Eastern Europe. In his latest research he has concentrated on the communities of Podolia and Volin, in the Ukrainian portion of the former Jewish Pale of Settlement.
The Seminar was very enthusiastically received, supplying a richness of topics that are not within the regular curriculum of the Jewish University. The lecturers were very impressed by the level of scholarship of the participants, and also by their knowledge of Hebrew. The Seminar was planned to coincide with other programs taking place in St. Petersburg on the theme of the State of Israel.
This Seminar was made possible with the generous support of the Rich Foundation.
COMPUTERIZING THE INDEX OF JEWISH ART
Over the past year the researchers at the Center for Jewish Art have been dedicating much of their time to the Center's most ambitious and important project--the re-design of the computerized Index of Jewish Art. As reported in our last newsletter, it has long been our goal to update the Index by incorporating the latest computer technology. These changes will revitalize the Index, making it a user-friendly system with sophisticated cross-referencing functions, pictures, architectural plans and models.
With the explosion of information technology in the past decade and the recent mushrooming of the most vibrant new avenue of information--the Internet--we realized that it had presented a great opportunity for the dissemination of our research and documentation to readers all over the world. Thus, as our researchers are working on developing the Index, they are also preparing to open a home-page on the Internet as a prelude to publishing the Index on-line.
To date, the first stage of the project, the design of the system, has been completed. Of the 70,000 or more slides and photographs in the archives of the Index, some 20,000 of these have been scanned onto CD-ROM and they are now being converted from CD into the server of our system. Thus we have finally realized one of our fundamental goals--the incorporation of images with text. The incorporation of photographs into the database is the most important part of this project and the scanning onto CD-ROM has proven to be the most costly procedure. The images of the thousands of pieces of Jewish art documented during the past 18 years of the Center's existence, stored in the Center's archives as slides or photographs, will now be accessible to researchers on the computerized database of the Index.
Since the network for the new system is based on Windows NT it was necessary to bring up-to-date computer equipment into the office. Eight Pentium stations, including the server, one research station and one administrative station with 21-inch color monitors and five work stations were purchased.
The computer section of the project, headed by Heftsibah Cohen-Montagu, is now busy with the task of developing the system. This work will culminate in the creation of a "test-run" database which will include the newly-incorporated visual material, new documentation and the text of previous documentation converted from the old ALEPH system used by the Index at the Hebrew University. The computer section is also working on the graphic design of the Index. A lecturer in graphic design, Ezri Terezi from the Bezalel School of Art and Design, now based on Mount Scopus, has been brought in as a consultant to help the team create an attractive and user-friendly interface within the Windows system. A well-designed interface will enable users both to exploit the Index to its best advantage and to enjoy its use.
Another of the important tasks facing the team is the creation of various standard forms in the computer, based on "Word" templates, which are being used for cataloging information on all the objects, and relevant accompanying information such as bibliographies and biographies. These templates serve as the basic framework for storing all the information gathered by the Center's researchers. At this stage some 10,000 documents will be recorded in the new system in the form of these templates.
The heads of the five sections at the Index: Archeology, Architecture, Ritual Objects, Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts and Modern Art, have been working especially hard with the computer section to build the most important features of the Index--the thesaurus of terminology on Jewish art and the iconography and reference documents.
Prof. Bezalel Narkiss developing the new computer program together with sections heads, Heidi Bransom (left), Ariella Amar (2nd from right), and computer coordinator Heftibah Cohen-Montagu.
The thesaurus includes lists of terminology, arranged in hierarchical order, of all terms which are relevant to the art documented by the Center, ranging from lists of objects, techniques or historical periods to lists of the Jewish life cycle, biblical and other texts or events in the Jewish year. It is of utmost importance that the terminology used by all the sections be consistent, in order to highlight and clarify the Jewish symbols and sources which are common to the different media of art objects and to establish their shared meaning within Jewish religious and cultural life. The use of consistent terminology will also enable future catalogers and researchers at the Index to work with the database and to conduct research and documentation which conforms to the methodology employed by the Center.
The thesaurus serves as a central tool in comparative research, assisting users to understand the relationships between objects and thus fully utilize the information stored in the database. In essence it serves as a systematically organized table of contents of all the material stored in the Index. The iconography and reference libraries which form the heart of the Index, bring together all the textual references and iconographical gestures and motifs which appear on all the documented objects, monuments and buildings in the database. Variations of motif and subject are systematically listed in these libraries enabling users of the database to understand the extensive iconographical range of Jewish art. The system's hyper-links and cross-referencing functions will facilitate searches for different objects according to content and will enable users to identify which objects share common iconography. The section heads have been busy developing these libraries for the project, improving the material on current iconographical subjects as well as adding new subjects, while ensuring that consistent terminology is used for similar subjects which appear on various objects from different periods.
Important iconographical subjects in the Index include Sanctuary implements, zodiac signs, the four species, holy places, the sacrifice of Isaac, the Ten Plagues and the patriarchs. The researchers' work on iconography involves examining the subjects' iconographical components and analyzing the relationship between the visual expression of the subject and literary sources. For example, the subject of the four species has appeared in Jewish art ever since ancien times. The image of a palm branch, occurs in ancient Jewish art, on coins and mosaic floors of synagogues such as those at Beth Alpha and Hamath Tiberias in Israel. However it also appears on non-Jewish coins. While, at first glance, it is probable that the motif on the Jewish coins represents the lulav, one of the four species, the use of the same motif on non-Jewish coins makes it difficult to definitively identify it as such. However, since Jewish textual sources prove that the palm branch serves as the lulav we can positively identify this motif on the Jewish coins. Indeed, in most cases, the researchers must rely on Jewish sources to identify and understand the iconographical content of their subjects.
The four species are sometimes depicted alone or are depicted in the hands of a person. Such depictions may serve to signify the festival of Sukkot or, in illuminated manuscripts, the ceremony of waving the palm branch which takes place during the festival. They may also serve a general symbolic function, for example representing the Temple in Jerusalem or the union of four different kinds of Jews, symbolizing the Jewish nation. The researchers must determine whether the image serves a simple narrative function, for example illustrating the text of the prayers for Sukkot in Hebrew illuminated manuscripts, or whether it has a more symbolic function as in the case of ancient mosaic floors or wall paintings of Eastern European synagogues where the four species appear in the context of Sanctuary implements. In other cases, such as the 18th century wooden synagogue of Horb from southern Germany, displayed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the four species are painted together with the city of Jerusalem, highlighting the centrality of Jerusalem as the pilgrimage destination during the festival of Sukkot.
Such analysis underlies the ambitious program of the computerized Index of Jewish Art to advance scholarly understanding of Jewish Art.
This project is being supported by the Israel Science Foundation, the Infrastructure Committee and the Faculty of Humanities of the Hebrew University, the Masto Fund, Robert and Toby Jesuram of Rye, NH, and Benjamin and Barbara Zucker of New York.
Lev Ha-'Ir: Jerusalem's Synagogues in the Heart of the City
One of the most interesting projects of the Center today is taking place right here in Jerusalem, and called Lev Ha-'Ir, appropriately, or, "heart of the city". In down town Jerusalem, between Agrippas and Bezalel streets, lies one of the New City's oldest neighborhoods. This quarter, popularly known as Nachlaot, contains one hundred synagogues of the various Jewish communities which populated the new city after leaving the walled city of Jerusalem in the late 19th century.
As in other "new" neighborhoods such as Mishkenot Sha'ananim, and Yemin Moshe, each Jewish community in Nachlaot founded its own synagogue and used ritual objects which were characteristic of its country of origin. Among the founding communities of Nachlaot were Yeminite, Amedia Kurdish, Zacho Kurdish, Jerusalem Sephardi, Greek, and Galician Jews.
The neighborhood was planned to accommodate each community as a separate unit housed in its own walled complex, built around a common courtyard with a water cistern in the center. The synagogue of each community was contained within this compound.
The Center's researchers began working in Lev Ha-'Ir in 1989 when they documented ritual objects and interiors of thirty of the existing one hundred synagogues in the area. To mark the "Jerusalem 3000" celebrations this year, a decision was made by the municipality to restore the area and turn it into a tourist site. This prompted our researchers to return to survey the remaining synagogues and to work quickly, because renewal generally brings about a shift in population. An essential part of the project involves tracking down and interviewing of older residents who still remember the synagogues in their original state. In the current Lev Ha-'Ir project, the Center is working in conjunction with the Lev Ha-'Ir Community Center, and Yad Ben Tzvi, each institute having its own specific agenda. The Center is documenting the ritual objects and the synagogues themselves, recreating the story of the neighborhood by means of its Jewish material culture. The Lev Ha-'Ir Community Center is interested in creating community projects for the residents of the area including developing the area for tourism and as a learning center. Yad Ben Tzvi is investigating the history of the quarter, including gathering personal testimonies, and examining how the neighborhood's history ties into the history of Eretz Yisrael.
The Center for Jewish Art plans to undertake an architectural survey of all one hundred synagogues in Nachlaot, this time including an architect as part of the team. Those synagogues that are found to be the most interesting will also be documented, and from among those, ten synagogues will be chosen for restoration. Each of these synagogues will be representative of a different community, thereby capturing its character and giving a general picture of Jerusalem of the period. The selection of the synagogues will be governed by the need to preserve the most impressive interiors and most interesting and representative ritual objects Together these buildings will capture most accurately the character of the New Jerusalem in the late 19th century.
One of the most intriguing features of the ceremonial objects found in Nachlaot are their dedication inscriptions which connect the residents to the historical events of the country. For example, the dedication on the Parochet (Torah curtain) of the Neve Shalom Synagogue reads:
"[In memory of...who] was killed when he went to rescue the Jews in Gush Etzion [the Hebron mountains] in 1948."
Sometimes the inscriptions reflect the connection between the communities in Israel and communities in the Diaspora, such as the dedication on a Torah pointer:
"A present to Jerusalem from your friend the Rabbi Ezra Danguri, Hacham Bashi [Chief Rabbi] of Iraq."
Our goal, which is to preserve the old synagogues, unfortunately, does not always coincide with that of the present day community, which may perhaps choose to renovate their synagogue as a reflection of modern taste or new found affluence. This is a very delicate situation which requires patience and education, along with an appreciation of the need for sympathetic restoration. In the meantime, it is vital to record buildings and objects as quickly as possible before they disappear.
The three participating institutes plan to publish a book on the history of Nachlaot, including descriptions of the synagogues and ritual objects, and a map with walking tours of the area. A learning center is also planned, where visitors and students may come for educational materials, slides and video presentations on the history of this unique neighborhood.
This project is sponsored by Keren Hayesod.
Ariella Amar visiting the Ades Syrian Synagogue in Lev Ha-'Ir with participants of the Fifth International Seminar on Jewish Art.
The Leona Rosenberg Scholarship
Leona Rosenberg, a very active supporter of the Hebrew University, first met Professor Bezalel Narkiss when she hosted a lecture in her home in Florida in 1993. Since then, Leona has been a good friend of the Center for Jewish Art and participated in the Center's last two symposia, "Jewish Art in Turkey" and "Jewish Art in Bohemia and Moravia."
Leona has already sponsored three scholarships at the Center. The recipient of this year's Leona Rosenberg Scholarship is Michael Tal, a master's degree student in the Department of Art History of Hebrew University and a researcher in the Center's Ritual Objects Section. Tal, from Kibbutz Gazit in the Western Galilee, completed his bachelor's degree at the Hebrew University in Jewish Studies and Art History. During his work at the Center, Tal has joined two expeditions to Eastern Europe and is using this experience in his present research for the Index on synagogue wall paintings and the ritual object collection of the Museum of Historical Treasures of the Ukraine. His master's thesis is on mosaic floors in the Mediterranean countries during the Byzantine period.
The Rita and Arturo Schwarz Scholarship in Modern Jewish Art
Antonia Lifchits, a new immigrant from Russia, is the recipient of the Rita and Arturo Schwarz Scholarship in Modern Jewish Art for the 1995-96 academic year. Antonia immigrated to Israel from Moscow three years ago where she graduated from the Department of the History of Art of Moscow State University with honors. She also worked as an assistant curator at the Matveyev Museum of Sculpture in Moscow. At this time Antonia began her connection with the Center, by documenting the sculptures by Moscow artist Vadim Sidur in the museum dedicated to his work, the Sidur Museum.
After arriving in Israel, Antonia began her doctorate at the Hebrew University's Department of Art History and she joined the research team of the Center for Jewish Art's Modern Section. Bringing her expertise on Russian art, she has been a tremendous asset in our efforts to bring to light modern Russian Jewish art, especially in cataloguing the collection in Jerusalem of paintings by Russian artist Meir Axelrod and works by the Russian Jewish avant-garde artist, Pavel Zaltzman.
Rita and Arturo Schwarz, of Milan, have a strong connections with Israel, where Mr. Schwarz lived for a brief period in his youth. He is very involved with the Tel Aviv University, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and the Israel Museum, where he is an honorary fellow.
As an art historian, lecturer, essayist and poet, Arturo Schwarz has for many years been in the forefront of cultural life in Italy where he founded a publishing house and the Galleria Schwartz, venue for exhibitions by leading avant-garde artists.
He has 22 books to his credit, including The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp, as well as articles, and 25 volumes of poetry. Mr. Schwarz is currently working on a book on Israeli art which will review the vast collection of 230 pieces which he has donated over the last three years to the Israel Museum.
The Corson Family Scholarship
The Corson Family Foundation generously donated a scholarship to the Center for Jewish Art.
Heidi Bransome, the head of the Ancient Jewish Art Section of the Center's Index of Jewish Art, is the recipient of the Corson Family Scholarship. Heidi, born in Tel Aviv in 1970, received her bachelor's degree in Archeology at the Hebrew University, and also took many art courses in her general studies program. She is presently working on her master's degree in Biblical Archeology and her particular interests lie in the anthropological implications of art symbols. At the Center, she has been researching mosaics in ancient synagogues and the symbols in the Beit Sha'arim catacombs. As Section Head, she has been coordinating her section's contribution to the Index's new computer program by finalizing terminology and working on iconography and references.
Ruth Corson researching ancient synagogues together with Heidi Bransome, recipient of the Corson family scholarship.
The Mordechai Narkiss Scholarship
Every year the Center for Jewish Art holds the Mordechai Narkiss Prize Ceremony to recognize outstanding research in Jewish art and to honor the memory of Mordechai Narkiss, the founder and director of the Bezalel National Art Museum which became the core of the Israel Museum. The Prize was established by family and friends of Mordechai Narkiss: his late widow Nassia and his late friends Abe and Rachel Bornstein of Boston, Joseph Stieglitz of Tel Aviv and Dr. Kurt Grunwald of Jerusalem.
This year's recipient is architect Dr. Boris Lekar whose documentation of synagogues all over the world has contributed to our understanding of the architectural heritage of the Jewish people.
Boris made aliyah from Kiev, where he was an established architect, and joined the newly-founded Architecture Section of the Center's Index of Jewish Art as a post-doctoral researcher.
While at the Center, he has documented synagogues in Israel representing various ethnic communities. He has also participated in expeditions to India, Turkey, England and Germany where he measured and sketched the synagogues, and then drew detailed architectural plans upon his return to Jerusalem. In addition to his work as an architect, Boris is a very accomplished painter and has exhibited all over the world.
The Steinhardt Scholarship
Emma Fanner, an immigrant from Russia, is the recipient of the Steinhardt Scholarship.
Emma moved to Israel in 1991 from Vladimir, near Moscow, where she studied art and painting at the teacher's college. She joined a special program at the Hebrew University for new immigrants and upon completion, began her master's degree in 1994 in Art History. Her specialization is the Middle Ages and her master's thesis deals with iconoclasm in the Byzantine Period. In 1994, Emma also joined the research team of the Center for Jewish Art in our Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts section. She has concentrated her efforts in documenting, researching and computerizing part of the Hebrew illuminated manuscript collection, including the "Worms Mahzor", in the National Library at Givat Ram.
Being a practicing artist has given Emma perceptive insight into style and technique for her academic research.
This scholarship was contributed by Michael and Judy Steinhardt of New York whose deep commitment to Israel, to art, and to Jewish education is demonstrated by their involvement with the Israel Museum, by their establishment of the Steinhardt Family Foundation in Israel for projects to help children at risk, and by their intensive activities throughout the United States in all aspects of Jewish education and continuity to name just a few. As collectors of Judaica, they have a knowledge and love of Jewish art.
The Asea Furman Scholarship
The recipient of this year's Asea Furman Scholarship is Sima Hertzfeld, a very talented researcher in the Ritual Objects Section of the Index of Jewish Art. Sima made aliyah from the United States in 1988 and completed her bachelor's degree at the Hebrew University in Medieval and Jewish Art. She began her Master's Degree in the Art History Department of the Hebrew University two years ago and joined the Center's research team then. Sima brings with her an extensive knowledge of ritual and text which is a great asset to her work.
Sima has worked on cataloguing the ritual objects collection in the Ein Harod Museum and has computerized and researched the Judaica collection which the Center documented in the Museum of the Treasures of the Ukraine in Kiev. Sima has also been responsible for the section's extensive slides archive and works with educators and curators to make this resource available.
This annual scholarship was established by Jacobo Furman of Santiago, Chile in memory of his wife Asea. Asea was a staunch supporter and friend of the Center who worked together with her husband in forming an excellent collection of Jewish ceremonial art. The Center is honored to keep the memory of Asea Furman alive through this scholarship.
Lillian and Harry Freedman Scholarship
Lillian and Harry Freedman of Newton, Massachusetts are particularly interested in the Center's efforts to preserve the rich Jewish artistic heritage in Eastern Europe and supported the project to document Jewish art in Poland. This year, the Freedman's have generously granted a scholarship to the Center for Jewish Art and the recipient is Boris Chaimovitch, a talented doctoral student who has carried out extensive research and documentation of synagogues, ritual objects and decorated tombstones in Eastern Europe.
Boris began his search for Jewish cultural roots even before making aliyah when he helped found the St. Petersburg Jewish University, where he served as the director of its Center for Eastern European Diaspora.
Since joining the research team of the Center, he has participated in many of the expeditions to the former Soviet Union including Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Belorussia and the Caucasus Mountains. Boris just led a very successful expedition to Ukraine and Romania where he uncovered and documented many important finds- synagogues, wall paintings and ritual objects. ( See article)
Madeleine and Albert Erlanger Scholarship
Ariella Amar, the head of the Center's Ceremonial and Ritual Objects Section at the Index of Jewish Art, is the recipient of the Madeleine and Albert Erlanger Scholarship. Ariella received her bachelor's degree at the Hebrew University in Art History and Jewish Studies and is presently studying for her master's degree in Art History.
Among the most talented researchers to ever intern at the Center, Ariella's astute knowledge of the sources and her general knowledge of both art and Jewish history is a great asset to her work in documenting and researching ritual objects. Ariella has already participated in many important expeditions of the Center including Morocco, Prague, Poland, Ukraine, Central Asia and India and she is presently planning our upcoming expedition to Tunisia.
Professors Madeleine and Albert Erlanger of Zurich are great enthusiasts of Jewish art and this is the second scholarship which they have bestowed at the Center.
Lecture Series in the Israel Museum,
December 1995-January 1996
The Center continued its winter tradition of offering the general public a series of lectures focusing on its most recent research in Jewish art.
Mordechai Narkiss Prize Ceremony,
December 24, 1995
This annual ceremony held at the Israel Museum paid tribute to Mordechai Narkiss, founder of the Bezalel National Museum which became the core of the Israel Museum. The recipient of the prize was Center researcher, Dr. Boris Lekar.
Lecture Series in United States,
Professor Bezalel Narkiss lectured on various aspects of Jewish art in New York, Boston, New Hampshire, and Los Angeles. Among the places where he appeared were Harvard University and Mishkan Tefila Synagogue in Boston, the Friedman Society and the American Friends of Hebrew Universitys Presidents Council in New York, and the Los Angeles Collectors Club.
Jewish Faith, Jewish Life: Jews and Judaism in the City
and University of Goettingen,
April- May 1996
The Center for Jewish Arts documentation of synagogues in Niedersachsen was prominently displayed at the exhibition which was held at the University of Goettingen. See article.
The Holy Path Will Call You: Pilgrimage in Art and
The Society for Jewish Art held its 28th annual Passover conference at the Israel Museum with over 300 participants. The conference featured scholars from the Hebrew University, the University of Haifa, the University of Pisa, and experts from the Israel Museum and other institutions. The rich variety of lectures and tour of the museum examined the pilgrimage from a Jewish perspective, from the First Temple period to modern times, and also its representation inChristian and Moslem art. Of special interest was the lecture on the Sigd (renewal of the covenant) tradition of the Jews in Ethiopia to symbolically reenact the pilgrimage to the Jerusalem Temple.
May 5-9, 1996
The Centers 35 publications were on display at this international gathering held every two years in Jerusalem.
Course, Hebrew University Rothberg School for Overseas
Ruth Jacoby, the Centers deputy director, conducted a course on Art and Architecture of the Synagogue from Antiquity to Modern Times for sixteen students from ten different countries. In this course they shared their own personal experiences and different cultural heritage in exploring the development of the synagogue in Jewish communities around the world. The students visited museums and synagogues in Jerusalem to compare and contrast the artistic and architectural traditions of various Jewish communities in Israel.
Fifth International Seminar on Jewish Art,
June 16-21, 1996
Dedicated to The Real and Ideal Jerusalem in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Art, the seminar was an unprecedented success with 120 lectures, and 450 participants from 24 countries. See article.
Jewish Art Seminar at the St. Petersburg Jewish
The Center held its third intensive seminar on Jewish Art for students, educators and community leaders in Russia. See article.
Lecture Series, England,
Professor Bezalel Narkiss lectured to friends of the Hebrew University on Jewish Identity and Art at the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery and on Preserving Jewish Heritage at the Jewish Museum in London.