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May 5, 2016 / 27 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘museum’

Family of German Jewish Victim Suing Israel Museum over ‘Birds’ Head Haggadah’

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

The descendants of a German Jewish lawyer and member of parliament who was murdered by the Nazis in 1934, are demanding the return of his possession, the 13th century colorfully illustrated “Birds’ Head Haggadah,” which is part of the collection of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The heirs are asking for “less than $10 million” for the rare work, whose market value is several times that amount. The heirs do not wish to remove the Haggadah from the museum.

The so-called “Birds’ Head Haggadah,” a work in pen, ink and tempera on parchment by the scribe Menahem, gets its name from the images in the manuscript, where the human figures are depicted as having birds’ heads with beaks for mouths. Some figures also have pointed animal ears. All the men wear the compulsory conical “Jew’s hat,” imposed on the Jews of Germany in 1215.

According to The Art Newspaper, the Birds’ Head Haggadah used to belong to Ludwig Marum, a lawyer from Karlsruhe, Germany, who was a member of the anti-Nazi Social Democratic Party and served in the Reichstag from 1928 until 1933. He was arrested and sent to the Kislau concentration camp, where he was murdered in 1934 (his death was reported as a suicide). Marum’s children fled Germany shortly thereafter.

In 1946, Herman Kahn, a Jewish refugee from Karlsruhe, sold the Birds’ Head Haggadah for $600 to the National Bezalel Museum (later part of the Israel Museum). No one knows how Kahn got hold of the work. The manuscript was reproduced in a catalogue, with a note that it was “in the possession” of the Marum family before the war. But the museum display does not offer a similar acknowledgement.

Marum’s daughter, Elisabeth Lunau, visited the Israel Museum in 1984 and saw the manuscript on permanent display there. She sent a letter to the museum’s curator of Judaica, arguing that the Haggadah had been sold without the family’s consent and demanded that the “rightful owners” be recognized in the display. She wrote: “The family Marum, however, thought the Haggadah should remain in the Israel Museum for the benefit of the public.”

According to TAN, the family’s attorney handling the lawsuit is E. Randol Schoenberg, who in 2006 helped Maria Altmann successfully recover paintings by Gustav Klimt, including, most notably, “Woman in Gold,” from the Belvedere Museum in Vienna.

JNi.Media

German Museum Displays Small Scale Expressions of Racial Hatred

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

If you’re concerned about a repeat performance by the German nation of the events of the first half of the 20th Century, you may wish to visit a new exhibition at the German Historical Museum, featuring some 600 stickers and replicas, racist and anti-racist, from 1880 to the present day.

It turns out Germans continue to harbor very ugly feelings about people and things that are not German, and that they prefer their bigotry small and intimate, away from the lime lights.

The exhibition, titled “Sticky Messages — Anti-Semitic and racist stickers from 1880 to the present,” shows adhesive notes, trading cards and pictures, letter sealers and stickers from the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the reign of Nazism and on into the present day in their respective context. “Sticky Messages” tells of a social practice of misanthropic prejudices and recounts at the same time the history of fighting against antisemitic and racist stereotypes.

A sticker from around 2011 reads: "Cult of Guilt: Holocaust - I can't hear it anymore!" / Photo credit: Deutsches Historisches Museum

A sticker from around 2011 reads: “Cult of Guilt: Holocaust – I can’t hear it anymore!” / Photo credit: Deutsches Historisches Museum

“They are familiar to everyone and can be found sticking everywhere: on street signs, letter boxes, in underground stations, in children’s rooms, in love letters,” explains the exhibition’s flyer. “Stickers and adhesive labels, also known as sticky notes, have been around on a massive scale since the late 19th century: a small format that is zealously disseminated in public places, privately collected and often traded. Stickers have been used since the beginning as an inexpensive way of popularizing worldviews. Collector cards and albums helped to spread and reinforce racist ideas of inequality and superiority and to bring them into people’s private lives. Stickers with anti-Jewish pictures and slogans have always been extremely popular with anti-Semites. But Jewish organizations soon learned to fight back against these slanderous attacks and publicly combated the anti-Semitic propaganda. Even today stickers are used for political agitation. Stickers like ‘Refugees welcome’ or ‘Nein zum Heim’ – short for saying ‘we don’t want any refugees living here’ – serve to signal acceptance, to polarize or to intimidate people.”

A sticker from around 1900 reads: "Away with Juda! - The Jews are Germany's disaster." / Photo credit: Deutsches Historisches Museum

A sticker from around 1900 reads: “Away with Juda! – The Jews are Germany’s disaster.” / Photo credit: Deutsches Historisches Museum

STICKY MESSAGES
Anti-Semitic and racist stickers from 1880 to the present
April 20 to July 31, 2016
An exhibition of the Center for Research on Antisemitism at Technische Universität Berlin and the Deutsches Historisches Museum.

JNi.Media

Rare 1,000 Yr Old Ketubah on Exhibit in Jerusalem

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

An extremely rare 1,000-year-old ketubah inscribed in Aramaic is now on exhibit in the National Library in Jerusalem.

The Jewish marriage contract dates from November 28, 1023 (CE), according to Dr. Yoel Finkelman, curator for the National Library’s Judaica section.

Written by a scribe named in the ketubah as Yosef HaKohen, son of Yaakov, the document was inscribed in what once was the town of Tzur for a couple named Natan HaKohen, son of Shlomo, and Rachel. Both were from Tzefat (Safed.)

An ancient ketubah written in Aramaic in 1063 CE in the town of Tzur, part of Tzefat, by the scribe Yosef HaKohen, son of Yaakov Hakohen.

An ancient ketubah written in Aramaic in 1063 CE in the town of Tzur, by the scribe Yosef HaKohen, son of Yaakov Hakohen.

The document is especially significant as it provides concrete evidence of a Jewish community in the city of Tzefat (Safed) in the 11th century (CE).

Although all ketubahs – including those written to this very day – list a section detailing the obligations of the husband to provide for the wife, and her rights in the event of divorce, some have additional sections as well. In fact, ketubahs have not changed much at all over the past 2,500 years; they still are written in the same format, more or less, and with the same intent: to list the obligations of the groom towards his bride, to list the contents of the dowry, and the amount of money the groom is providing to the bride as security should the marriage fail and end in divorce, as well as any other conditions that might apply.

The Tzefat Ketubah is one of these, commented Finkelman, noting an additional section in this case. “For instance, if the woman has expensive jewelry or her parents give gifts in honor of the wedding and then the couple divorce, those items are returned to her,” he explained. In the ancient document, there is indeed a list of Rachel HaKohen’s jewelry, household items and clothing – including the weight and monetary value of each item. Moreover, the disposition of each item is discussed, should various events take place – even should the wife become “mentally unstable.”

Regretfully, in today’s world, the ketubah is sometimes disregarded when marriages become fractured. Some Jewish husbands reverse the document, forcing the wife’s family instead to pay a bribe in order to win a divorce contract that by Jewish law can only be granted by a husband. In other, more rare cases, sometimes an estranged wife refuses a divorce contract, likewise holding a disenchanted husband hostage as well.

In any of the above scenarios, expert rabbinic negotiators are usually sought in order to resolve the conflict. In severe cases, the struggle can sometimes take years.

Hana Levi Julian

Rare ‘Four Species’ Coin from Bar Kochba in Display in Israel

Monday, October 6th, 2014

A rare silver coin with an inscription form the period of the Bar Kochba revolt is on display at the Israel Museum through the week-long Sukkot holiday, which begins Wednesday night.

The rare cache of Byzantine-era antiquities discovered in 2013 will be on display through the Sukkot holiday.

The writing on the coin with a depiction of the Four Species used on Sukkot indicates that it was written by Bar Kochba or in his name and illustrates the effort spent to supply the Four Species to Bar Kochba’s soldiers in the rebellion against the Roman conquerors.

The exhibition includes the largest gold medallion with Judaic symbols known in existence. Among the archaeological finds on view are gold coins and silver and gold jewelry, in addition to the sizable medallion, measuring four inches in diameter.

The treasures were found in a Byzantine period public building near the southern wall of the Temple Mount during excavations led by Dr. Eilat Mazar, of Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, together with a team from Oklahoma’s Ambassador College.

The unique medallion has, in its center, a seven-branched menorah. On the left is a shofar, the ram’s horn traditionally blown on the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement. On the right is an unidentified object, possibly a bundle of myrtle, willow and palm branches, being three of the four species used during the Sukkot holiday and common Jewish symbols of the period, or perhaps a uniquely fashioned Torah scroll of unknown design from this period.

The unusually large size of the medallion raises important questions about its use. Some scholars believe it was used to decorate a Torah or piece of furniture, while others argue that it was simply a large ceremonial ornament. Like many finds from this period, the medallion’s combination of symbols reflects the timeless notion of ​​Jewish yearning for the restoration of the Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.

One of the two cloth pouches in which the hoard was found held thirty-six gold coins, decorated on one side with portraits of Byzantine-era emperors over a period of 250 years, together with their names and titles; on the back there are crosses or images of gods. The latest coin is dated 602 CE, indicating that the cache was hidden at the beginning of the 7th century, possibly during the Persian invasion of 614 CE.

bible coin

 

 

Jewish Press Staff

Oldest Known Masks in the World on Display in Israel

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

A new display in Jerusalem is showcasing the oldest-known masks in the world, believed to have originated 9,000 years ago, long before Purim.

The 11 masks are made of stones and were discovered in the Judean desert near Jerusalem. Experts believe the masks were meant to look like skulls, with each displaying a unique personality via emotional expressions of shock or grinning.

“When you go back to objects that are this old, that are so much before the theology that becomes Judaism, Christianity and then Islam, to feel that there is a kind of a connection, that this is all part of a continuous story, is something that is pretty thrilling,” said Israel Museum director James Snyder, the Associated Press reported.

The custom of mask making and wearing dates back at least 25,000 years although no masks that old have been found, according to exhibit curator Debby Hershman, with the earliest masks most likely made of animal materials. Later, stone masks originated at the time when humans living in the Fertile Crescent adopted agriculture.

“It’s the most important revolution that ever happened,” Hershman said. The people who fashioned the masks, she said, “are actually the founders of civilization.”

JNS News Service

Israeli Museum Names Hall for US Fugitive Kobi Alexander

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Only in Israel.

The Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv is naming a hall after U.S. fugitive and former Comverse technology CEO Kobi Alexander, who along with his sister donated money for renovating the museum’s Glass Pavilion, now called the Shaula and Kobi Alexander Center.

Alexander, a native of Israel, fled to Namibia in 2006 after being indicted in the United States for fraud and still is wanted by the American government. Nambia has no extradition treaty with the United States.

The Eretz Israel Museum said it asked Alexander for a donation, and Globes reported that museum director Ilan Cohen said, “I welcome the connection with the Alexander family that has donated to the museum over the years. His father Tzvi Alexander donated his important and rare stamp collection to the museum.”

As for naming a hall after a fugitive,  he stated, “There are no criteria for naming buildings for people.”

The Eretz Israel Museum is one of the largest in the country and includes exhibits of archeology, ethnography, stamps, folklore, Judaica, traditional crafts, popular art, cultural history, and local identity.

An archaeological site dating back more 3,000 years is in the center of the museum.

Jewish Press News Briefs

NY Court to Decide Dispute over ‘Holocaust-Ancient Assyrian Link’

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

The fate of a tiny gold tablet in the possession of the estate of a Holocaust survivor and claimed by a Berlin Museum now is in the hands of seven judges on the New York Supreme Court.

The table, if it’s not a hoax, could be worth millions of dollars. It belonged to Holocaust survivor Riven Flamenbaum of Great Neck, New York and was inherited by his children. The history of the tablet is certain as far back as 100 years ago but may go back 3,200 years – or it may not.

German archaeologists discovered it approximately 100 years ago in the Assyrian city of Ashtur, in what is now northern Iraq, Long Island Newsday reported. It went missing after it has been displayed at the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin in 1934 until the end of the war, when the museum’s artifacts were inventoried.

It next showed up in the hands of Flamenbaum, a native Poland who obtained it by trading “either for two packs of cigarettes or a piece of salami,” according to one of his daughters, Hannah Flamenbaum.

After her father died in 2003, his son Israel told the German museum about the presence of the tablet, and it sued for its return. The lower court in New York ruled in favor of the estate, but an appeals court overruled the decision, and the New York Supreme Court concluded hearings on the case Tuesday. A ruling is expected in four to six weeks.

It is not known if the tablet is a forgery or not. His daughter Hannah said her father tried to sell it to an auction house in 1954 but was told it was a worthless forgery.

Her brother Israel disagreed with her account including of the estate and informed the museum of the tablet’s presence, setting off the legal war.

Hannah and a sister claim that so much times has passed since the disappearance of the tablet that the museum has no rightful claim.

Their lawyer says that if the tablet turns out to be true ancient artifact, it could be worth approximately $10 million.

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/ny-court-to-decide-dispute-over-holocaust-ancient-assyrian-link/2013/10/16/

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