- Significance of art in Jewish culture
in all cultures, art was intended to inspire and connect human
creativity to Divine beauty as embodied in the Torah. Art was also
used to convey Jewish experience – from joy to suffering – as
well as the never-forgotten expectation of the Final Redemption with
the coming of the Messiah.
- Art in pre-modern jewish culture
this, the art in the First and Second Temples had the highest utility
possible: As explained in the elucidation of the Five Books of Moses
of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, each element and event he constituent
materials of the objects found in the Temples and the Tabernacle
before them. Beyond inspiring, the ancient Jewish art of that
setting – originated by the biblical personality Betzalel – was
designed to teach everyone who beheld it about the Divine reality of
the world, from the Ark of the Covenant, to the Table, to the
Showbread, to the various altars, indeed, every component part
thereof as well, and to the Menorah and its sections. Art was
accomplished in the service of Truth.
- Famous works of pre-modern jewish culture
like the famous Sarejevo Haggaddah (with illuminated illustrations)
and the work of Betzalel in the Mishkan, as well as the renovations
of the various Kings of Judah of the Temple in Jerusalem in the First
Temple Period, as well as the work of the Prophets Ezra and Nechemia
in the Second Temple, not to mention the expansions of King Herod the
tyrannical Edomite for his own political purposes during Roman times,
all of these are shining examples of art in the pre-modern period.
Often the artists were anonymous artisans who lovingly crafted
details of the Arks of Synagogues or the benches and cornices of
- Art in today’s Jewish culture
From the transit camp Theresienstadt where many “privileged” Jews landed
their way to the Nazi death camps, to the synagogues of the Land of
Israel and the Diaspora today and for the past two millennia,
sterling example near Menucha Page’s Gallery in the historic
Nachlaot neighborhood is the artwork adorning the ceilings and Ark of
the Synagogue in the Batei Broide synagogue. The artwork was the
brainchild of the great Torah scholar Rabbi Nosson Kuperstock ZT”L,
whose own home facing the synagogue was entirely bare of adornment
but who adorned the entire synagogue over his lifetime.
- How art galleries like that of Menucha Page has contributed preserved Jewish art and its value?
Menucha Page has sought to inspire by renewing the techniques of Jewish art to bring them a contemporary flavor, while at the same time bringing out the timeless relevance of ancient Torah principles and symbolism to today.