‘With Malice Toward None’

Exhibit at New-York Historical Society reveals rich relationship between Abraham Lincoln and the Jews.

03/16/2015 - 20:00
Culture Editor

On June 2, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln issued a parole pass to Charles Jonas, a Confederate prisoner of war, to return to Illinois to see his father on his deathbed. The soldier arrived in Quincy just in time to see his father, Abraham Jonas, still alive.

Lincoln’s letter to Secretary of War Stanton on behalf C.M. Levy, who applied for the position of quartermaster.

‘It’s Magic, Turning These Pieces Into Gold’

Barbara Wolff brings medieval artistry to contemporary Hebrew manuscript design.

02/09/2015 - 19:00
Culture Editor

In the lush greens of a great Tabor oak tree, 24 species of birds perch in their finery, with a black stork, a great white egret and a black-crowned night heron poised in the reeds below, and a yellow-breasted bird in mid-air. The tree is indigenous to the Middle East, and each of these birds is native to the Land of Israel or part of the large migration of birds that flies over in the spring and fall.

“Among the branches they sing”: Wolff’s works illuminate Psalm 104. Courtesy of Morgan Library & Muse

The Make-up Of A Style Maker

Helena Rubinstein’s eclectic take on beauty on view at The Jewish Museum.

11/03/2014 - 19:00
Culture Editor

The Jewish Museum’s new exhibition, “Helena Rubinstein: Beauty is Power,” is about biography and art, telling an uncommon life story and showcasing the spectacular art collected over a lifetime and reassembled here. What links the personal history and 200 objects is Rubinstein’s own pioneering, eclectic and highly inclusive take on beauty.  

‘This Is About How Rich The Culture Was'

Filmmaker Péter Forgács re-orchestrates the poignant home movies taken by Polish-American Jews returning to the Old Country.

10/27/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The faces look out at you, some shy, some defiant, some amused, some even downright playful. They are men and women, children and the elderly. It’s the late-1920s, the 1930s, these are Jews living in the Poland of the late-1920s and ’30, and although neither they nor the American citizens filming them know it, they are doomed. The images bespeak a flourishing culture, but by the end of the Second World War, 90 percent of Polish Jews will have been murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices.

The movies in “Letters to Afar” were filmed in such Polish shtetls as Kaluszyn and Kolbuszowa. Courtesy of YIVO Archive

Model Congregations

YU Museum gathers together its scale models of synagogues the world over.

09/15/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Beginning this weekend, the Yeshiva University Museum is offering the opportunity to engage in Jewish tourism from its West 16th Street galleries.

A model of the Beit Alpha Synagogue from Israel’s Jezreel Valley. Courtesy of YU Museum

Two Outsiders Come In ‘From The Margins’

Abstract Expressionists Lee Krasner and Norman Lewis get a second look in Jewish Museum show.

09/15/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The pairing of two paintings in The Jewish Museum’s 2008 blockbuster exhibition, “Action Abstraction,” made a lasting impression on many, including the exhibit’s curator, Norman Kleeblatt.

Norman Lewis’ “Twilight Sounds” (1947) are part of new Jewish Museum show. ©2014 The Pollack-Krasner Foundation/ARS

Words Matter, A Lot

Mel Bochner’s ‘Strong Language’ show challenges our notions about reading and seeing.

05/19/2014 - 20:00
Culture Editor

Mel Bochner’s new show at The Jewish Museum involves a lot of reading. The more than 70 drawings and paintings are lists of synonyms, portraits conveyed with words, texts with philosophical leanings and emoticons, too.

Bochner’s “Language is Not Transparent.” Will Ragozzinno/The Jewish Museum

The Day Of Rest Reconsidered

HUC show invites artists to consider a new the idea of the Sabbath.

04/22/2014 - 20:00
Culture Editor

Carol Hamoy’s “Sabbath Bride” holds court in a corner of one gallery at the HUC Museum. She’s both stately and heimish. Covered with strips of lace, embroidery thread, buttons, pearls, mesh and feathers, this bride is a tailor’s drawer full of shimmering odds and ends layered on a headless torso. In the words of “Lecha Dodi,” sung on Friday nights, the Sabbath arrives as a bride and departs as a queen.

David Wander’s “Creation” menorah. Courtesy of HUC Museum

How The Nazis Defiled Art, Then Lives

A cruel connection between artwork and the artists who made it lies at the heart of ‘Degenerate Art’ show.

03/24/2014 - 20:00
Culture Editor

From the very beginning of the exhibition “Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937,” the connection is made, and underscored, between the Nazis identifying artists whose work was unacceptable, destroying their art and wrecking their careers, and the Nazis (later) identifying people whose very being was unacceptable and murdering them. 

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s “A Group of Artists." Courtesy of MoMA/SCALA/Art Resource, NY

Rescued From Saddam’s Clutches

Trove of Iraqi Jewish treasures on view.

03/10/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

In 2003, when Coalition forces seized Baghdad, a group of American soldiers stumbled upon treasures from the Jewish community of Iraq. While the team had been sent to search for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Saddam Hussein’s intelligence building, what they found were nearly 3,000 books and documents that had originally come from synagogues and Jewish organizations. The items were submerged under four feet of water, and the reason they were there in the first place remains a mystery.

Items recovered from flooded basement of Saddam’s intelligence headquarters.  Photo courtesy of National Archives
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