“Coming to a stop is not easy in this frenetic world. But it is essential for being watchful –and for making art,” explains Rochelle Rubinstein, guest curator of Yeshiva University Museum’s sixth annual group exhibition, “Stop. Watch.”
In an unusual pairing of antiquities and music, the Yeshiva University Museum offered a program chosen by the cellist Elad Kabilio, accompanied by the clarinetist Avigail Malachi-Baev and the singer Inbal Sharret-Singer, to illuminate its exhibition of ten model synagogues. The selections reflect what might have been heard around the time of the synagogues’ creation.
Long before Auschwitz was associated with crematoria it was associated with the afterlife. Long before the Shoah, it was believed even elsewhere in Central Europe that “anyone who merited to be buried [in the Jewish cemetery there] would not suffer travails at the time of resurrection.”
In a rich display of historical reconstruction, the Yeshiva University Museum is exhibiting “Modeling the Synagogue – From Dura to Touro.” Accompanied by artifacts, prayer scripts, artwork and documents, the exhibition demonstrates the context of these buildings – that they are representative of an era, a people and a history.
The story of Esther, who courageously foiled a plot to exterminate the Jews of ancient Persia (modern-day Iran), is the keystone of the Purim tradition and Iranian Jews have always strongly identified with that singular Jewish heroine. Even today, Iran’s remaining 25,000 Jews go to pray at the tomb of Esther and Mordechai ‒ yes, there is such a place ‒ and the Jewish queen is remembered on a daily basis through amulets seeking her protection and beautifully illustrated renderings of the megillah (scroll) telling her story. No surprise that modern Iranian Jews are occasionally referred to as Esther’s children.
Don’t go to this exhibition in a hurry; and don’t go with children; but if you have the slightest interest in mathematics or Jewish history of the twentieth century, then go. Seeing “Transcending Tradition: Jewish Mathematicians in German-Speaking Academic Culture” at the Center for Jewish History is like reading a short illustrated book mounted on plywood, but your patience will be rewarded. Where does the interest lie for the non-mathematician? In the characters of the people whose histories it tells; and for the glimpses of people at work on fundamental problems.
With the almost invisible strings of Fort Washington’s eruv stretching from pole to pole above us, we followed Rabbi Adam Mintz and Brother John Glasenapp, OSB up the hill where we found welcome refuge from Manhattan’s May heat inside the medieval walls of The Cloisters. An unlikely tag team, the rabbi and the monk were leading a group of 25 on a two hour walk and discussion sponsored by Yeshiva University Museum and The Cloisters museum to tease out the public/private nature of the eruv and Cloister, and how they create religious structures and community.