Presenting a selection of nearly 150 pieces from various sources, this photographic exhibition recreates the history of Salonika (today Thessaloniki) Greece from the second half of the 19th century to the end of the First World War. Men and women are captured in their traditional costumes: modest artisans, porters, traders, members of the local “aristocracy;” society is revealed. Urban modernization is also shown: the quays and the White Tower, cafes, restaurants and entertainment venues; the Countryside sector where the notables established their residence; deprived areas, where emerging industries were established.
But also, in the now Greek city, the great fire of August 1917, an authentic trauma for the Jews who saw their historic neighborhoods, the municipal archives and more than thirty synagogues swept away by the flames, before the geopolitical upheavals caused by the First War worldwide.
The JTS Library exhibit, “A Sacred Space: Synagogue Architecture and Identity” (October 26, 2023 to March 7, 2024), offers an opportunity to view a large selection of rare prints depicting historic synagogues. The exhibit, co-curated by Samuel D. Gruber and Sharon Liberman Mintz, traces the history of European synagogue styles from the 17th to the 19th century, exploring how the image of the synagogue was used by Christians and Jews to present often conflicting ideas of Jewish identity. The 42 prints on view—selected from books, art prints, magazines, and newspapers—showcase a wide range of synagogue types. Notably, the pace of production of these images accelerated in the 19th century, when we first encounter Jewish architects of synagogues, along with the Jewish artists who depicted them.
The exhibit features images of synagogues from the Netherlands, England, France, Austria, and Germany, ending on American shores. Images of the latter will allow us to consider how this pictorial tradition would evolve in a country of immigrants that boasted of religious freedom and cultural pluralism.
“Burning,” an exhibition of paper cuts by Monika Krajewska, is now being shown in Radom, following an exhibit at the POLIN museum in Warsaw. We were privileged to host an online exhibition of some of her works in 2020.
The exhibit consists of 31 works in which the artist, using traditional Jewish paper-cutting technique, refers to objects related to the synagogue, painstakingly recreating the symbolism and ornamentation of Jewish art from East-Central Europe—stylised floral decoration, symbolic representations of animals, a repertoire of traditional sacred Jewish symbols (a menorah, Torah and the Tablets of Law, the Temple) and calligraphic quotations from religious texts and prayers.
In order to introduce reflection on loss and destruction, Krajewska subjects her painstaking work to destruction: she tears apart sections of the works after cutting them out and burns the ends of the sheets. She uses tinted paper as a background for the cut-outs, incorporating the motif of fire, ashes and ruins. And she incorporates quotations from religious texts or classics of modern Jewish literature, in which there are references to flames and destruction, as well as to the hope of salvation.
An exhibition of art-enhanced photographs by Dmytro Polyukhovich based on the carvings on the centuries-old matzevot in the Jewish cemetery in Sataniv (which unfortunately has suffered extensive damage in recent years by a self-appointed Haredi man claiming to restore it).
The images for the exhibition focus on specific details of the carved iconography, which combines religious tradition with folk art — floral motifs, animals (and imaginary animals), symbols, religious allegories, and more.
To create the exhibition pieces, Polyukovich manipulated his original photos of the matzevot in Adobe Photoshop, cutting away everything except for the specific detail of the carving that he wanted to highlight and then adding color.
NOTE: The exhibition will be open every Wednesday and every Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. It is also possible to organize group tours every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
The latest edition of the exhibit Neviditelné Synagogy — Invisible Synagogues, photographs by Štěpán Bartoš.
Bartoš photographs the blank spaces in the Czech Republic where destroyed synagogues once stood and adds a ghostly silhouette of the destroyed synagogue to the exhibition photos of the places where they once stood.
On the Invisible Synagogues project web site (which is in German and Czech) you can see galleries of his photos, without the added silhouette, arranged according to region. They include sites in big cities, small towns, and tiny villages; there are fields and rural spaces as well as modern buildings, crowded city streets, and even artificial lakes.
A multimedia exhibition by the artist, architect and historian Natalia Romik dedicated to the creativity of Polish Jews seeking to survive the Shoah in hiding.
In Poland and Ukraine during World War II, approximately 50,000 people survived persecution by the German occupying forces in hiding. The majority of them were Jewish. They found refuge in tree hollows, closets, basements, sewers, empty graves, and other precarious locations. Natalia Romik’s exhibition “Hideouts. The Architecture of Survival” pays tribute to these fragile places of refuge and explores their physicality. The show poses basic questions about the relationship between architecture, private life, and the public sphere: it addresses the protective function of spaces and emphasizes the creativity those in hiding brought to bear in their attempt to survive.
In a research project extending over several years, Natalia Romik and an interdisciplinary team of researchers consulted oral histories to identify several hiding places, which they explored using forensic methods. The multimedia exhibition “Hideouts. The Architecture of Survival” presents the results of this research. It consists of sculptures bearing a direct connection to the sites and includes documentary films, forensic recordings, photos, documents, and objects found in the hiding places.
“Hideouts: The Architecture of Survival” is presented in cooperation with the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw and the TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art in Szczecin. On the occasion of the show at the Jewish Museum Frankfurt, a catalogue will be published in German and English editions by Hatje Cantz Verlag.
The exhibition was curated by Kuba Szreder and Stanisław Ruksza with the help of Aleksandra Janus (scientific collaboration). For the presentation in Frankfurt, Katja Janitschek, curator of the Judengasse Museum, was responsible for the curatorial project management. We would like to thank the Evonik Foundation for their generous support.
There will be more than 60 events including readings, concerts, lectures, tours, workshops and film screenings, held in 14 different towns and cities in the German state of Thuringia.
The full program can be found HERE from January 30, 2024.
The Jewish Community of the state of Thuringia runs the festival together with the Support Association for Jewish-Israeli Culture in Thuringia e.V.
For 1,000 years, the teachings of the Jewish scholar and innovative commentator Rashi of Troyes have shaped our humanist, moral and legal values. There is now an initiative to have Rashi and the wider region where he was active in France recognized by the European Heritage Label.
A Public Interest Group has been constituted by the State, the City of Troyes, the Department of Aube, the Region Grand-Est and the Central Consistoire of France to prepare the candidacy for the European Heritage Label designation. The originality of this project to connect the local and regional level where the lack of material artefacts has favored artistic creation and the development of new educational resources and environmentally sustainable tourist networks, with national and international initiatives.
Delphine Yagüe, the Director, and Professor Josef Konvitz, coordinator of the scientific advisory committee for the GIP project, will describe some of the current and planned innovative activities which highlight the European dimension of the site, attracting youth, contributing to the fight against antisemitism, and connecting with the activities of other European Heritage Label sites.
Program 18.00-19:30 CET
18:00: Introduction: Dr. Susanne Urban & Tomasz Wlodarski
18:10: Rashi and Troyes: Memory and Place in 21st Century Europe:
Delphine Yagüe & Prof. Josef Konvitz
19:25: Wrap Up by Michael Mail
Please register for the event here (link to the Google Form) –
The Zoom link will be sent just prior to the event.