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Golan Moskowitz

Abstract

This article analyzes the late Maurice Sendak’s (1928–2012) entry into the field of children’s picture books in the midtwentieth century and his contribution to the affective shift in children’s literature. It examines Sendak’s complex social position and artistic development in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as lesser-known illustrations by Sendak, including collaborations with Ruth Krauss and with the artist’s brother, Jack. These works began to respond to Sendak’s own childhood as a queer son of Eastern European Yiddish-speaking immigrants. They also offered new potential mirrors for midcentury children—perhaps especially queer and otherwise marginalized children—as they navigated cultural gaps between home and the public sphere, as well as between personal orientations and the social pressures of postwar America.

Maya Balakirsky Katz

David Guedj

Abstract

The present article investigates the visual elements of the illustrated youth quarterly L’Illustration Juive, which was published in Alexandria between 1929 and 1931 in French and Hebrew. The analysis sets out to expose the ideologies and worldviews informing the publication’s editorial board, as well as the conscious or unconscious message that the quarterly tried to communicate to its young readership. The article explores more than 300 photographs and reproductions that featured in twelve issues published over the journal’s three years of existence. Analysis of the visual elements in this article shows that the quarterly featured many photographs of holy sites in the Land of Israel, as well as reproductions of artworks that reflected the religious Jewish way of life in the diaspora and Israel, including the Jewish calendar and Jewish life cycle. These works hold the Old Testament as a key book for Judaism, as well as for Jewish nationalism. Clearly evident in the visual elements, as in the overall visual messages of the quarterly, is the harmony struck between Jewish nationality, Zionism, and a religious Jewish cultural—or diasporic—world. It was this harmonious view that editor Rabbi David Prato sought to convey, upholding as he did a religious nationalist Jewish future, which he defined in the newspaper as a double tendance.

Dustin Atlas

Abstract

This article offers an alternative reading of Martin Buber (1878–1956), one guided by his writings on craft and artistic creation. Rather than view Buber as a philosopher of dialogue, it views him as a philosopher of relationships, including relationships to nonhuman things. His writings on craft and artistic creation are taken to exemplify these nonhuman relationships. After sketching out the general structure of Buber’s thought, and the role that nonhuman relationships play in it, this article traces a trajectory through Buber’s work, showing the ever-increasing importance of these relationships through an analysis of his treatments of art and craft. It ends with an analysis of his late anthropological work on craft and images, which demonstrates that this was a longstanding, if not central, concern of Buber’s that guided not only his treatment of material things, but his understanding of Judaism as well.

Shahar Marnin-Distelfeld

Abstract

This article examines images of wild flowers in Israeli visual culture from the period of pre-state Israel until the present day. These images have served as “cultural objects” that have helped construct a national identity. They have appeared in Hebrew publications, stamps, banknotes, and artworks. Arguing that the choice of botanical art is a political statement, this article shows the complex attitudes embodied in contemporary wild flower images—both thematic and stylistic—in which the artists negotiate their multifaceted relationship with the Land of Israel as a troubled territory. The images created by Israeli-Jewish artists share a twofold significance: they stand as naïve memories of Israel’s early years and, at the same time, they embody the reality of conflict implied in the idea of sharing the Land with the Israeli Arabs. The methodology of this article is interdisciplinary, as it integrates an analysis of visual images with the use of interviews and the explication of texts.

Eugeny Kotlyar

Abstract

The present article studies the thematic ways in which Jewish childhood was represented in Russian Jewish art and visual media from the 1850s to the 1930s. During this period, Russian Jewry was undergoing important transformations. It saw the establishment of a traditional model of religious life, a subsequent process of modernization and acculturation, and finally the education of the “New Jew” as part of post-Revolutionary secular culture, as well as the seeding of extreme forms of radicalization that would develop in the Soviet era. Jewish art and visual media were always a documentary means of representing collective ideals, key among which was the value associated with Jewish children’s future. The images preserved in art, photography, and print show how diligent study for boys and young men was extolled in traditional communities; this resulted in the formation of an intellectual elite that served as a bulwark of religious and spiritual self-consciousness against outside cultural influences. Along with historical-statistical studies and memoirs, these images recreate a psycho-emotional and social background for the traditional model of children’s education. On the one hand, this model perpetuated the lifestyle and values established over the centuries, yet on the other, it sparked charges of anachronism and fanaticism, which intensified the antagonism of Russian society toward its Jewish minority. The same model proved to be extremely influential for the Jewish masses; it came by its iconic visual representation in various “Cheder” compositions and portraits of the “Talmudist Iluy.” Both types of works brought out the value of religious education. Later artistic depictions demonstrated that upon passing through the grinder of the Soviet atheist system, this model inspired the zeal that Jews had for secular education and the prospect of their children’s being granted equal opportunity, resulting in the loss of their ethno-cultural identity in the new Soviet reality.

David Sperber

Abstract

Helène Aylon (b. 1931) is among the first generation of feminist artists who identified and challenged traditional patriarchal and misogynist readings of ancient religious texts. This article analyzes the discourse and examines the reception of Aylon’s work The Liberation of G-d (1990–1996) within the Jewish art world and the American Conservative Jewish community, and her contribution to these two diverse audiences. Despite the work’s confrontation with tradition, some rabbis from the Conservative movement played a significant role in the acceptance of the work and its exhibition in the Jewish Museum in New York and other Jewish institutions. However, they reduced its radicalism, reframing the work as a Midrashic interpretation (a form of traditional rabbinic commentary) that operates within the framework and rules that delineate the traditional Jewish interpretive community. This article analyzes how the rabbis tamed the artist’s activist and critical work. I argue that Aylon challenges the Jewish community with a radical feminist discourse that is often omitted from the dominant discourse of the traditional Jewish community. By analyzing the engagements with and reception of Aylon’s work within the Jewish art world and the Jewish Conservative community, I demonstrate how the artist seeks real social engagement that reaches beyond the walls of the museum, challenging the structures of religious patriarchy while engaging in a dialogue with its representatives.

Gil Pasternak and Marta Ziętkiewicz

Abstract

This article studies the photographic methods that the Poland-based Landkentnish (Yiddish for “knowing the land”) movement employed in the interwar period to promote Jewish culture and Poland as a home for the Jewish people. The movement wished to increase the exposure of Polish Jews to Poland’s diverse landscapes in order to strengthen their connection to the Polish land. It also aspired to create archives of local Jewish cultural heritage to attest to the long history of Polish Jewry and to the contributions that Jews had made to Polish society. After tracing the movement’s origins, the article explores the concentrated efforts that it made to provide its members with photographic knowledge and education. Analyzing the photographic sources and resources that the movement created, the exhibitions that it put on display, and its employment of snapshots, the article demonstrates how photography assisted the movement in realizing its key aims and objectives.

Joshua Schwartz

Abstract

Everyone plays and that, of course, includes children. In an ideal world, there would be literary traditions, archaeological remains and artistic renditions, which would enable the reconstruction of toys. Unfortunately, the situation does not exist for ancient Jewish society. For the most part, there are depictions in rabbinic literature and it is those toy traditions which I examine.

The study begins with those toys explicitly connected to halakhic issues, firstly with those traditions in which the toy is essential to the law and afterwards to those in which the toy is tangential to the law. The study then deals with those toys mentioned in a nonlegal rabbinic framework. Finally, I discuss toys that were popular in the Greco-Roman world but not mentioned in rabbinic literature. I seek to determine whether descriptions of toys in rabbinic literature and set within the broader Greco-Roman world are sufficient for visualization.

Tali Berner

Abstract

This article discusses the clothing of Jewish children and adolescents in Western and Central Europe in the early modern period. Looking at egodocuments, sumptuary laws, visual representations, moral books, halakhic literature and apprenticeship contracts, it gives a first overview of children’s dress and involvement in the textile industry. The article explore the forces that shaped children’s garments—parental desires, legal and halakhic constraints and social norms. It pays special attention to the places where children and adolescents desires were manifested, and the ways children’s agency is professed, through choosing their own garments and contributing to the textile industry and changing of fashions.

Shelly Zer-Zion

Abstract

“The Children’s Theatre by the Kindergarten Teachers Center,” that was founded in 1928, was the first Hebrew repertory theatre exclusively addressing the audience of children attending kindergarten and the first grades of elementary school. This article explores how The Children’s Theater conveyed a set of performative practices that consolidated a habitus of Eretz-Israeli childhood. The theater articulated the embodied repertoire of Eretz-Israeli childhood and established it on two pillars. First, it epitomized the concept of an innocent and secure childhood. The world performed on the stage created a utopian notion of childhood. Second, it encouraged the children to participate in the world of adults, but in a way suited to their age and psychological needs. The ability of this theatre to create an enriching and a secure environment for children was deeply needed in the Jewish settlement of Palestine of the 1930’s and 1940’s, which was constituted of immigrants struggling to build a future in the land.

Jonathan Bordo

Abstract

This article pairs Bibliothek, a memorial in Berlin against the Nazi book-burning of May 10, 1933, with the library in Wim Wenders’ film Der Himmel über Berlin (1987) as sites to reflect on loss with the disappearance of material books from the library and the conversion of libraries into information centers in the era of the internet and digital reproduction. It explores loss by taking up arguments of Walter Benjamin concerning artworks and by applying his theory of loss to books that exist, unlike works of art, only because of mass technical reproduction. It then examines how to argue for loss in ontological and even civilizational terms, especially when the rational justification for the massive clearance of books is justified by the short-term utilitarian calculus of benefit and gain that determines that there is no loss at all. By way of conclusion, it offers a sketch of the new library as having heightened responsibilities in the pursuit of truth as a center for documentation akin to an incident room at the scene of a crime. In this regard, the Topography of Terror Documentation Center on Wilhelmstrasse in Berlin on the site of the former Gestapo Headquarters is both a paradigm and a beacon.

The Caves of Qumran

Proceedings of the International Conference, Lugano 2014

Series:

Edited by Marcello Fidanzio

In Qumran studies, the attention of scholars has largely been focused on the Dead Sea Scrolls, while archaeology has concentrated above all on the settlement. This volume presents the proceedings of an international conference (Lugano 2014) dedicated entirely to the caves of Qumran. The papers deal with both archaeological and textual issues, comparing the caves in the vicinity of Qumran between themselves and their contents with the other finds in the Dead Sea region. The relationships between the caves and the settlement of Qumran are re-examined and their connections with the regional context are investigated. The original inventory of the materials excavated from the caves by Roland de Vaux is published for the first time in appendix to the volume.

15 Images and Identity

Menorah Representations at Sepphoris

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Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers

4 Public Health in Ancient Palestine

Historical and Archaeological Aspects of Lavatories

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Estēe Dvorjetski

5 “The Longer, the More Happiness I Derive from This Undertaking”

James Simon and Early German Research into Galilee’s Ancient Synagogues

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Gabriele Faßbeck

6 The Open Torah Ark

A Jewish Iconographic Type in Late Antique Rome and Sardis

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Steven Fine

7 Tamra

A Late Byzantine–Early Islamic Village in the Eastern Lower Galilee

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Zvi Gal

Viewing Ancient Jewish Art and Archaeology

VeHinnei Rachel – Essays in Honor of Rachel Hachlili

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Edited by Ann Killebrew and Gabriele Faßbeck

In honor of eminent archaeologist and historian of ancient Jewish art, Rachel Hachlili, friends and colleagues offer contributions in this festschrift which span the world of ancient Judaism both in Palestine and the Diaspora. Hachlili's distinctive research interests: synagogues, burial sites, and Jewish iconography receive particular attention in the volume. Archaeologists and historians present new material evidence from Galilee, Jerusalem, and Transjordan, contributing to the honoree’s fields of scholarly study. Fresh analyses of ancient Jewish art, essays on architecture, historical geography, and research history complete the volume and make it an enticing kaleidoscope of the vibrant field of scholarship that owes so much to Rachel.

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Edited by Ann E. Killebrew and Gabriele Faßbeck

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Edited by Ann E. Killebrew and Gabriele Faßbeck

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Edited by Ann E. Killebrew and Gabriele Faßbeck

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Edited by Ann E. Killebrew and Gabriele Faßbeck

Law and Empire

Ideas, Practices, Actors

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Edited by Jeroen Duindam, Jill Diana Harries, Caroline Humfress and Hurvitz Nimrod

Law and Empire provides a comparative view of legal practices in Asia and Europe, from Antiquity to the eighteenth century. It relates the main principles of legal thinking in Chinese, Islamic, and European contexts to practices of lawmaking and adjudication. In particular, it shows how legal procedure and legal thinking could be used in strikingly different ways. Rulers could use law effectively as an instrument of domination; legal specialists built their identity, livelihood and social status on their knowledge of law; and non-elites exploited the range of legal fora available to them. This volume shows the relevance of legal pluralism and the social relevance of litigation for premodern power structures.

Illuminating in Micrography

The Catalan Micrography Mahzor−MS Heb 8°6527 in the National Library of Israel

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Dalia-Ruth Halperin

In Illuminating in Micrography, Dalia-Ruth Halperin analyzes the Catalan Micrography Maḥzor, a fourteenth-century Barcelonan manuscript in Israel’s National Library. Decorated with micrography, the Jewish scribal art typical of Bible manuscripts, this maḥzor, which includes a rich full-page panel micrography cycle, is unique.
Along with the codicological and paleographical analysis, essential for understanding the scribe’s thought and working processes, the author’s meticulous reading of the micrography text reveals the scribe’s textual editing and manipulations. Decoding his writing flow and sequences revealed a close association between the penned text and the images formed, which reflect a Jewish theosophical-theurgical cycle. Evidence of the scribe’s association with the renowned Bassa atelier enhances our knowledge of the cultural, economic, and ethnic realities of the time.

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Edited by Jeroen Duindam, Jill Harries, Caroline Humfress and Nimrod Hurvitz

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Jeroen Duindam, Jill Harries, Caroline Humfress and Nimrod Hurvitz

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Edited by Jeroen Duindam, Jill Harries, Caroline Humfress and Nimrod Hurvitz