Zion, By Any Other Name

Before the Jews had a direction home, YIVO show chronicles, there was Suriname, Angola and Uganda.

Staff Writer

A century ago, the idea of Jews resettling in ancient Israel was an interesting, if quaint, idea. For many European Jews, some of whom became prominent Zionists, real-life Palestine was utterly unrealistic. Thousands of Jews were being massacred in pogroms and the priority of many Jewish leaders was simple: secure a territory for Jews to settle in first — worry about where it was later.

The Jewish Territorialist Organization.

Jerusalem Home For American Artists

American Academy inaugural fellowships go to wide range of creators.

Staff Writer

American artists from Herman Melville to Mark Twain to Saul Bellow have traveled to Jerusalem looking for inspiration. But until this week, when the first-ever American Academy in Jerusalem was officially announced, there has never been a formal program encouraging artists to do so.

Graphic artist Lynne Avadenka is one of five American Academy in Jerusalem fellows.

Modern Art’s Sister Act

Baltimore’s Cone sisters and the art of collecting.

Special To The Jewish Week

‘There were two of them, they were sisters, they were large women, they were rich, they were very different one from the other one.”

This was how American expat writer Gertrude Stein described Claribel and Etta Cone in her short-story word portrait, “Two Women,” about two art-collecting sisters who traveled the world as single ladies of means in the early 20th century.

Claribel Cone, left, Gertrude Stein and Etta Cone in Italy, in 1903. Baltimore Museum of Art

Drawing The (Green) Line

MOMA’s Francis Alÿs retrospective omits the conceptual artist’s best works.

Staff Writer

Four years ago, the Belgian artist Francis Alÿs displayed one of his best works in years, “The Green Line,” at Chelsea’s David Zwirner Gallery. With a characteristically axiomatic subtitle — “Sometimes Doing Something Poetic Can Become Political, and Sometimes Doing Something Political Can Become Poetic” — it gave an artist’s askance view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and achieved that rare artistic feat: chastising the political status quo without becoming either cynical or simplistic.

An image from Alÿs’ “The Green Line,”  Courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery

Roman Holiday

Visiting Tempio Maggiore choir introduces world to the melting pot of Italian Jewish music.

Special To The Jewish Week

When it was home to the greatest empire the world had yet known, it was said that all roads led to Rome. To build that empire meant sending the city’s sons across much of the known world, yet at least one group remained there unmoved, despite a history of (not always voluntary) wandering.

Claudio Maestro Di Segni, left, leads the choir at the Tempio Maggiore in its U.S. debut Sunday.

Hannah Senesh And The Case For Moral Courage

‘Fire in My Heart’ show reveals her bravery and her vivid writings.

Staff Writer

There is no reason to think that a wealthy girl in Europe, enrolled in a fine private school, would give it all up to live in a hot and fetid desert. But this was Hungary in 1939. The Nazis were sitting on its border, and that privileged girl was a Jew. More important, she was Hannah Senesh, a precocious teenager whose breathtaking facility with words was matched only by her profound moral courage.

Hannah Senesh in Budapest, circa 1936.

Putting The Jewish In The Jewish Museum

Joan Rosenbaum, who is retiring after 30 years, put her stamp
on the institution and never shied away from controversy.

Staff Writer

During the 1960s, The Jewish Museum was at the vanguard of the contemporary art world, mounting career-defining shows for artists like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. In those days many in the emerging art world were Jews — artists like Mark Rothko and Diane Arbus, the dealer Leo Castelli, the critic Clement Greenberg (though not Rauschenberg and Johns) — and the museum made it its mission to champion their work.

Rosenbaum has been widely praised for mounting shows that are intellectually serious, entertaining and sometimes controversial.

The Canvas Of Jewish Feminism

‘Shifting The Gaze’ explores groundbreaking Jewish women artists and Judaism’s role (or lack thereof) in shaping their perspectives.

Special To The Jewish Week

What is the connection between Judaism, feminism and art?

Though it's on the view at The Jewish Museum, “Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism” is not a survey of Jewish feminist art. Rather, through a concise presentation of just 33 works — most of them paintings — as well as through a searchable website accompaniment, it is a brief look at the museum’s sometimes complicated relationship with women artists.

Miriam Schapiro’s “Fanfare,” from 1958, was part of one of The Jewish Museum’s earliest shows focusing on women’s art.

The Pursuits of Maira Kalman

From Obama to Tel Aviv to the New Yorker’s legendary ‘New Yorkistan’ cover,
the brainy Israeli-born painter/writer/blogger explores modern life.

Staff Writer

When Barack Obama won the presidency, Maira Kalman was thrilled. It was not only a fresh start for America, she thought, but one for her own work as well: The New York Times was looking for another assignment for Kalman after her wildly successful illustrated blog, “The Principles of Uncertainty,” which documented her own life, debuted in 2006.

An gouache painting by Maira Kalman, titled  “Israel Bed” (2008).

Almost Everything Is Illuminated

Yeshiva University Museum exhibit features a dazzling array
of mostly hand-written Hebrew books.


About six years ago, the curator Sharon L. Mintz was looking for rare printed Talmuds for an exhibit she was organizing at the Yeshiva University Museum. She came across the name of a little-known collector in Switzerland who said he could help. Mintz was flown out to the private home of the collector, but discovered that he had much more than Talmuds.

The new exhibit is devoted to the collection of rare Hebrew books held by Rene Braginsky
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