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Masterpieces from the Bodleian Library “King Girded With Might,” Tripartite Mahzor, 14th century, courtesy Bodleian Library & Jewish Museum In the eyes of the ram lies the artist’s commentary on the Rosh HaShanah piyyut; “The King Girded with Strength.” From the Tripartite Mahzor (German 14th century),…
The Art of Matrimony Ketubot are the magical crystal ball into the life, concerns and joys of the Jewish community.  Perhaps no other Jewish artifact is so openly expressive of the dreams, desires and fears of the everyday world of Jewish life throughout the ages. …
Modern Art / Sacred Space From the earliest synagogues preserved to the present, Jews have struggled with the role of art in their sacred spaces.  Decorative or contemplative, subservient to architecture or an independent aesthetic experience?  The Dura Europos murals (235 CE) and many early…
Reinventing Ritual at The Jewish Museum Why would one want to reinvent a Jewish ritual when it had been working perfectly well for hundreds if not thousands of years?  Ah ha, perhaps all is not as well as traditionalists would like to think.  There is…
Mystical Storytelling at MOBIA: Chagall and the Russian Jewish Theater at Jewish Museum In 1931 Marc Chagall embarked on a series of etchings of the Bible that would become a pervasive creative theme for the rest of his life.  For all of his forays into…
Ten Portraits Reconsidered When an artist creates, intention, elementary to the creative process, is paradoxically secondary to the finished work.  Once the art work is on view in the larger world it must stand on its own, engaging the audience on its aesthetic merits and…
Davidson, Singer and the Jews Sometime in 1967 Bruce Davidson, the photographer, met Isaac Bashevis Singer, the writer, and they went down to the Lower East Side to the Garden Cafeteria to chat, have coffee and rice pudding. It began a creative friendship that lasted…
Ritual and Repetition The bedrock of all religion is repetition. Tradition as a religious concept is nothing less than the repetition of rituals, dress, thought and behavior of preceding generations. For Jews the amount of repetition that is found in one’s life naturally expresses the…
Dateline: Israel at the Jewish Museum Photography is a tantalizingly young medium that burst upon the visual scene with the spectacular daguerreotype invented in France in 1839.  Its use and popularity quickly spread from Europe to the Middle East so much so that an early…
Chagall in Mother Russia If you didn't know this was the famous Chagall, and if you didn't know Chagall was going to become perhaps the greatest Jewish painter of the twentieth century; what would you think of the early works of this artist when he…
At The Jewish Museum: Charlotte Salomon's Legacy What would do if you knew there was a play, a play with text and music, that told the story of one whole life. A Jewish life. The story of a young woman, told from before she was…
Isidor Kaufmann, Friday Evening, c. 1920, oil on canvas, 28 5/8 × 35 7/8 inches, The Jewish Museum Isidor Kaufmann - Shabbos We must be very quiet in front of this painting. It exudes a stillness and peace that envelopes us and makes us lower our…

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