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Hebrew Writings

Jewish Themes

Examine a variety of thematic programs that focus on specific topics and span the centuries of Jewish art from varied perspectives

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Art Through the Prism of A Culture

Art Through the Prism of A Culture is an overview of artworks from the oldest known object to contemporary images from all over the world. Mosaics, illuminated manuscripts, etchings, woodcuts, photographs, paintings, and ceremonial Judaica of marble, brass, silver, stone, iron, and glass are all included. This program tells the story of this unique and special culture through art objects from many places and across many centuries.

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Human Figure and Jewish Culture

The Human Figure and Jewish Culture begins with the Second Commandment and its interpretations. It then surveys the varied artworks and aesthetic styles of depicting human forms from the earliest known images in a Jewish setting (3rd c., CE) through contemporary times.

This program starts with wall paintings, illuminated manuscripts, gravestone reliefs, and moves to etchings, sculpture, and paintings in many varied approaches.

THE HUMAN FIGURE and JEWISH CULTURE highlights human figures in Jewish settings from different places and at different times.

Part I: Pre-Enlightenment & Beyond

Part II: Early 20th Century

Part III: 20th & 21st Century

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Jewish Artists and Genesis

This six part program surveys Jewish artists and their responses to Biblical citations in the book of Genesis.  

From the Medieval period forward, artists have used a variety of media (illuminations, prints, sculpture, etc.) and aesthetic approaches to express their artistic creativity. 

Part I: Genesis 1-4

Part II: Genesis 2-8

Part III: Genesis 9-18

Part IV: Genesis 12-22

Part V: Genesis 23-35

Part VI: Genesis 37-48

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The Art of Israel

The Art of Israel surveys the history of the land through art objects. It begins with the building of King Solomon’s Temple, and continues with the Jewish catacombs, the synagogue mosaics, and the establishment of the modern State of Israel. This program follows the sweep of Israeli history while focusing on the visual arts and artists of recent centuries. The Art of Israel highlights this most important country and its artworks.

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The Art of Tikkun Olam

This program identifies the citation from Pirke Avot/Ethics of the Fathers that determines the role of Tikkun Olam/Fixing the World in the Jewish world and surveys the many customs developed to observe it. Through sculpture, prints and paintings, photographs, and objects of many different media, Jews are charged to give charity as the right thing to do in different times and places.

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Cinema Judaica

When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in January 1933, his Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels took control of Germany’s motion picture industry, restricted the content of the films throughout Europe and banned Jews from employment within it. At the same time, the eight largest Hollywood studios produced, distributed, and frequently exhibited their own films.  This two-part program explores the films (American primarily) made before and after Pearl Harbor, during and after the war. It highlights directors, screenwriters, and actors – a tour-de-force of movies at that time. 

Part I; The Great Debate

Part II: After Pearl Harbor

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My Brother's Keeper

This program is derived from a book dedicated to all the children on our planet. Through the author’s illustrations and documentary photographs, he tells the story of the Warsaw Ghetto and its uprising. The artist/author calls for a world where human dignity is respected and human life is sacred.

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Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses

This two-part program looks at the influences (sculpture, papercuts, etc.) on the work of carvers in European synagogues. They were challenged to find appropriate employment when they came to “The Goldene Medina,” the new world of America. These presentations show their solution; i.e. building animals for carousels! A fun and educational series.

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Creating Jewish-American Culture

This program begins with the richness of the Jewish community in Spain before they were expelled in 1492. It continues with the arrival of the first Jews in America in the mid-17 th c. and the establishment of their synagogue. A survey of artists of the 18 th through 21st c., including silversmiths, sculptors, painters, photographers, and architects follows. This program introduces artists in the new world whose artworks are specific to time, place, and personal experience.

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Lost Synagogues

This program introduces European synagogues that were the center of the Jewish world, prior to the Holocaust. Jews were part of the fabric of daily life though they experienced anti-Semitism which permeated Europe for centuries.   Until 1948 and the establishment of the State of Israel, Jews were always in the minority in every country. As such, Jews always adopted and adapted to the mainstream or host communities throughout the world. They adopted the language, manner, art, and architecture of their host neighbors. They worked among the general population. In the Jewish quarter, their synagogues mirrored the details and style of the churches or cathedrals nearby. 

This presentation highlights the synagogues that were destroyed and lost.

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The Art of Tzedakah

This program identifies the Biblical citation that determines the role of Charity/Tzedakah/ Righteousness in the Jewish world and surveys the many customs developed to observe it. Through Sculpture, prints and paintings, photographs, and objects of many different media, Jews are charged to give charity as the right thing to do in different times and places.

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Art Of the Jewish Lifecycle

Art of the Jewish Lifecycle reviews the many objects associated with a Jewish birth, Circumcision, Redemption of the Firstborn (Pidyon Ha-Ben), Baby Naming, Bar-Mitzvah, Marriage, and Death. Art of the Jewish Lifecycle highlights many historical and contemporary artworks and their aesthetic approaches.

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Jewish Americans and Art

JEWISH AMERICANS AND ART is a six-part overview of the arrival, presence, efforts, accomplishments and thriving of the Jews in America. It covers their entrance in the mid-17th c. through their role in 18th c. Colonial America. It also includes the arrival of German Jews in the mid-19th c. followed by the largest influx of Jewish immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th c. 

Jewish Americans excel in a wide range of fields, from medicine, law, education, entertainment, music, politics, literature, business, sports, and the visual arts. Their success occurred because they were given freedom and the opportunity to succeed. Only in America! 

Part I: Jewish Americans and Art – From 1654

Part II: Jewish Americans and Art – From 1848

Part III: Jewish Americans and Art – From 1849

Part IV: Jewish Americans and Art – From 1918

Part V: Jewish Americans and Art – From 1941

Part VI: Jewish Americans and Art – From 1958

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Polish Jews and Art

These programs focus on the rich Jewish culture that existed in Poland for 1000 years before WWII. Later events marked a cruel break in this Jewish-Polish shared history. The Leviathan is a primordial creature reflects many ancient myths.

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