In The Jewish Museum: History and Memory, Identity and Art from Vienna to the Bezalel National Museum, Jerusalem Natalia Berger traces the history of the Jewish museum in its various manifestations in Central Europe, notably in Vienna, Prague and Budapest, up to the establishment of the Bezalel National Museum in Jerusalem. Accordingly, the book scrutinizes collections and exhibitions and broadens our understanding of the different ways that Jewish individuals and communities sought to map their history, culture and art. It is the comparative method that sheds light on each of the museums, and on the processes that initiated the transition from collection and research to assembling a type of collection that would serve to inspire new art.
Hasidic Art and the Kabbalah presents eight case studies of manuscripts, ritual objects, and folk art developed by Hasidic masters in the mid-eighteenth to late nineteenth centuries, whose form and decoration relate to sources in the Zohar, German Pietism, and Safed Kabbalah. Examined at the delicate and difficult to define interface between seemingly simple, folk art and complex ideological and conceptual outlooks which contain deep, abstract symbols, the study touches on aspects of object history, intellectual history, the decorative arts, and the history of religion. Based on original texts, the focus of this volume is on the subjective experience of the user at the moment of ritual, applying tenets of process philosophy and literary theory – Wolfgang Iser, Gaston Bachelard, and Walter Benjamin – to the analysis of objects.