Articles in Category: Yeshiva University Museum – Center for Jewish History

Yeshiva University Museum – Center for Jewish History

In Search of Ancestors, Sculpture by Simon Gaon
What's In a Name?

Written on June 29, 2001

Gaon - Bar Kochba
The name Simon Gaon I remember well.  As a passionate painter and founding member of the rough and tumble “Street Painters” I knew him from many, many years ago when I was a participant and occasional program director of the Alliance of Figurative Artists.  These meetings at the Educational Alliance, held from the early 1970’s through the 1980’s, presented a raucous forum for artists to battle beliefs and occasionally exchange ideas about Art and the turbulent art world of New York.  As part of the ‘Alliance’, the Street Painters was a group dedicated to the primacy of the immediate visual experience of the streets of New York.  They would paint their big expressionistic canvases standing on the sidewalks and streets, frequently in the midst of the crowds, to capture the vibrant life of the city’s streets; day or night, weather fair or foul. To them art was as much about personal encounters and experience as it was about aesthetics and ideas.  

Unconditional Love: Cairo Ark Door and Falk's Paintings

Written on November 22, 2013

Falk - The Dybbuk
Unconditional love is a concept that sets the bar of human conduct and forgiveness at a dizzying height, challenging the very fabric of human credulity.  The same stress exists when applied in a religious context, fueling extreme expectations of the Divine/Human relationship.  In a rather curious and unexpected parallelism two current exhibitions express and explore aspects of unconditional love, each with surprising results.  While Yeshiva University Museum’s exhibition of the Ark Door from the Ben Ezra Synagogue reflects that community’s steadfast loyalty to living in the ‘forbidden’ country of Egypt, so too does Alan Falk’s pictorial exploration of the Song of Songs and the Dybbuk proclaim their respective unconditional and undying love.

Old and New: Mark Podwal’s Textiles for the Altneuschul in Prague

Written on December 23, 2011

Mark Podwal is a busy, busy man.  When I wrote that in these pages in September, 2010 it is now clear I didn’t know the half of it…witness his current exhibition at Yeshiva University Museum.  In what is effectively a love song to his adopted city, Prague, Podwal has had the delicious opportunity to give her Jewish community a spanking new Chanukah gift; the new Torah curtain, shulhan covers and Torah mantles.  For a Jewish artist and lover of Prague like Podwal it doesn’t get any better than that.

It's a Thin Line
The Eruv and Jewish Community in New York and Beyond

Written on January 11, 2013

Manhattan Three Times
What a wonderful exhibition Yeshiva University Museum has mounted with “It’s a Thin Line: The Eruv and Jewish Community in New York and Beyond.”  Sensitively curated by Zachary Paul Levine under the watchful and expert halachic supervision of Rabbi Adam Mintz (see also his “The Brooklyn Eruv” in the Winter 2012 Hakirah Journal), the show traces the origins and development of the rabbinic construct known as the eruv based on the Oral Law.  

The Braginsky Collection

Written on February 15, 2010

Akeida, Harrison Miscellany, 1720, Corfu, Greece Courtesy The Braginsky Collection

Five hundred years of Jewish manuscript and printed book illumination are presented in “Highlights from the Braginsky Collection” scheduled to open at Yeshiva University Museum on March 17, 2010.

Dialogues with the Unknown
Anette Pier and Michael Hafftka at YUM

Written on June 22, 2009

Honi ha Magil, oil on canvas by Michael Hafftka Courtesy Yeshiva University Museum

Two deeply idiosyncratic exhibitions at Yeshiva University Museum warrant close inspection if only to show how the diverse richness of biblical and Judaic subject matter can inspire contemporary artists.  The very eclectic nature of both artist’s works speaks volumes about the possibilities available when artists take Jewish subjects seriously and subsequently embrace them with their own demons.

Moritz Daniel Oppenheim
Retrospective At Yeshiva University Museum

Written on February 05, 2001

Ludwig Borne (1831) by Moritz Oppenheim; Historisches Museum Frankfurt am Main


Many of these paintings I do not like. Some I do. All of them are very important for us to look at and understand since Oppenheim’s work represents the seminal encounter between Jewish tradition and the challenges of the modern world.

This exhibition, Moritz Daniel Oppenheim; Jewish Identity in Nineteenth Century Art, presents over 90 paintings of the first and perhaps most famous Jewish artist of the 19th century. It presents all aspects of his very successful career and for the first time shows his depth and skill as a portraitist and as a genre painter. The exhibition at Yeshiva University Museum on 16th Street is beautifully hung and designed by Oliver Hirsch of Hircsh & Associates Fine Art Services. The show was organized by the Judisches Museum der Stadt Frankfurt am Main under the patronage of the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder and is accompanied by a definitive catalogue raisonne published by the Frankfurt Jewish Museum. It must be seen by anyone interested in Jewish Art.