The official reopening ceremony of the Great synagogue in Plzen, Czech Republic, following a three-year restoration of the synagogue interior and nearby Rabbi’s house. A permanent exhibition on Jewish monuments in the Pilsen region will be opened, in the women’s gallery. It is based on the photographs of Radovan Kodera.
A procession will bring a Torah scroll from the Old to the Great Synagogue and ceremoniously place it in the ark.
Following will be a ceremonial program with speeches by the Culture Minister, the head of the tiny local Jewish community, and others. A concert will feature compositions inspired by Jewish prayers, adapted for the occasion.
There will be a ceremony to install an information signboard at the Jewish cemetery in Nowogród, Poland.
The signboard was created thanks to the support provided to Friends of Jewish Heritage in Poland by the actress Gwyneth Paltrow, a descendant of 19th century Rabbi Hersz Pelterowicz, rabbi of the Nowogród synagogue district.
Archival research was contributed by Professor Glenn Dynner of Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York and Gniewomir Zajączkowski of FODZ.
The annual Day of Jewish Monuments in the Czech Republic opens Jewish heritage sites all over the country to visitors.
(It does not seems to be coordinated within the umbrella of the European Day of Jewish Culture).
On the web site, you can find lists of events and an interactive map with a list of participating sites and opening hours.
The latest edition of the exhibit Neviditelné Synagogy — Invisible Synagogues, photographs by Štěpán Bartoš. The vernissage is November 23 at 17:00.
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 conversation with Yechiel Weizman on his book
Unsettled Heritage: Living Next to Poland’s Material Jewish Traces after the Holocaust (Ithaca, 2022)
In Unsettled Heritage, Yechiel Weizman explores what happened to the thousands of abandoned Jewish cemeteries and places of worship that remained in Poland after the Holocaust. He asks how postwar Polish society in small, provincial towns perceived, experienced, and interacted with the physical traces of former Jewish neighbors. Combining archival research into hitherto unexamined sources and anthropological field work, the book uncovers the concrete and symbolic fate of Poland’s material Jewish remnants and shows how their presence became the main vehicle through which Polish society was confronted with the memory of the Jews and their annihilation. Leading the conversation with Weizman will be Monika Rice, and joining them will be Alon Confino and Amos Goldberg.
This event will be held via ZOOM Webinar.
Registration is required, register in advance here.
Dr. Pieter Vlaardingerbroek will present an illustrated talk live from Amsterdam on the architecture and interior of the 1675 Portuguese Synagogue (the Esnoga) in Amsterdam and the synagogue’s direct influence on the architecture of the 1763 Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island.
Pieter Vlaardingerbroek, Ph.D., is a leading expert on Dutch architecture and material culture. He is an architectural historian for the City of Amsterdam, having served in a similar position for the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. He is an Assistant Professor of Architectural History and Conservation at the University of Utrecht. Professor Vlaardingerbroek is the author of many articles and books and served as editor for the definitive volume on the Portuguese Sephardic synagogue, The Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam, published by the City of Amsterdam in 2013.
There is no fee to participate, but reservations are required to receive the Zoom login information.
In 2020, we were privileged to host an online exhibition of work by the Warsaw-based papercut artist Monika Krajewska. The pieces were drawn from her extraordinary cycle of papercuts called “Burning,” a commemoration of the physical destruction of the Shoah.
This fall, from October 4 to December 18, Krajewska’s Burning cycle will be exhibited at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
The exhibit consists of 31 works in which the artist refers to the objects related to synagogue cult and transfers them to the traditional Jewish paper-cutting technique, 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 Judaic 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, the artist 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. In the representations, 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.