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The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York, NY 10128

The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York, NY 10128
212.423.3200

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Upcoming Events

Wed, Sep 27

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

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10:30 AM

JM Journeys
For Visitors with Early-Stage Dementia

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Wed, Sep 27

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

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2 PM

JM Journeys
For Visitors with Memory Loss

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Thu, Sep 28

Thursday, September 28, 2017

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6 PM

ASL Tour
For Visitors Who Are Deaf

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Sun, Oct 1

Sunday, October 1, 2017

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1 PM

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Sun, Oct 8

Sunday, October 8, 2017

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12 PM

Dig Drop-In

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Sun, Oct 8

Sunday, October 8, 2017

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1 PM

Mobiles for Modigliani
Vacation Week Art Workshop

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Mon, Oct 9

Monday, October 9, 2017

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1 PM

Mobiles for Modigliani
Vacation Week Art Workshop

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Mon, Oct 9

Monday, October 9, 2017

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3 PM

Archaeology Mondays

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Tue, Oct 10

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

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1 PM

Mobiles for Modigliani
Vacation Week Art Workshop

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Who We Are

Welcome to the Jewish Museum, a museum in New York City at the intersection of art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds. Whether you visit our home in the elegant Warburg mansion on Museum Mile, or engage with us online, there is something for everyone. Through our exhibitions, programs, and collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media, visitors can journey through 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture from around the world.


As an art museum representing the diversity of Jewish culture and identity, the Jewish Museum believes in free expression and an open society. We embrace multiple viewpoints regardless of race, gender, national origin, or religion, and we oppose discrimination in all its forms.


Our exhibitions and public programs provide platforms for cross-cultural dialogue, fostering empathy, mutual understanding, and respect. We champion the powerful roles art and artists can play in our communities, both inside and outside the Museum’s walls.

Our Mission

The Jewish Museum is dedicated to the enjoyment, understanding, and preservation of the artistic and cultural heritage of the Jewish people through its unparalleled collections and distinguished exhibitions. Learn More

History

The Jewish Museum was founded in 1904 in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where it was housed for more than four decades. Located along New York's Museum Mile, this elegant former residence has been the home of the Museum since 1947. Learn More

Stories

Pomegranates for Rosh Hashanah Read More

https://medium.com/media/325b550f8f10b211f99bbc77724bd591/href

Shanah Tovah! Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins this Wednesday, September 20, at sundown. The holiday ushers in the period of repentance, which includes the eight days before Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year. With these High Holy Days come fall, family gatherings, and holiday recipes.

The pomegranate, a “new fruit” (fruits that have not been eaten in a long time), are typically eaten on Rosh Hashanah. Pomegranates are also (apocryphally) said to have exactly 613 seeds, connecting it to the 613 commandments of the Torah.

Pomegranate seeds are divisive: I personally think they are delicious, but know many who find them completely inedible. They are also difficult to get out of the pomegranate. The “best way to seed a pomegranate” is hotly contested, spawning countless YouTube videos and online tutorials. My personal favorite way: just cut it open and see what happens.

On the occasion of Rosh Hashanah, we brought together works of art in the Jewish Museum collection exploring the beauty and symbolism of pomegranates, with pomegranate recipes, to inspire a fruitful new year.

Reuven Rubin, Pomegranates, 1942. Oil on canvas. The Jewish Museum, New York

A cut-open pomegranate is a ubiquitous image during Rosh Hashanah, but in Israeli painter Reuven Rubins still life from 1942, the fruit takes on new beauty. Pomegranates were cultivated in the Mediterranean region for millennia and listed as one of the “seven species” in the Torah — the varieties of agriculture said to be special to ancient Israel. In this painting, Rubin emphasizes the pomegranate’s bold red colors open against a contrasting blue plate, showing the complicated inside of a fruit that contains multitudes.

Ori Gersht, Pomegranate, 2006, refabricated 2016. Digital video, color, sound, 3 min., 52 sec. The Jewish Museum, New York

Contemporary artist Ori Gersht’s painterly video Pomegranate is based on a still life by 16th century Spanish artist Juan Sanchez Cotan. The video, which features a pomegranate hanging from a string, a melon, and a cabbage (also symbolic during Rosh Hashanah), turns this quiet depiction into a scene of violence as a bullet slices through the fruit in slow motion—the pomegranate explodes, spraying blood-red seeds and flesh in the air.

Pomegranates contain a strong flavor and are a distinctive fruit, capable of completely taking over any dish they are added to. A subtle dessert is transformed entirely, even destroyed by an outside force, by the addition of pomegranate juice or seeds. This destruction and breaking-down of flavor is a positive, and brings in the chance for something entirely new.

Photo: Lisa Yelsey

Malabi is a subtle pudding (almost a panna cotta) originating in the Middle East, and a Sephardic dessert traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashanah. Adding pomegranate disrupts the flavors, adds tang, and a crunch. Malabi is smooth and simple to make — a light and fresh start to a new year holiday dinner.

Ingredients

4 cups milk
½ cup corn starch
⅓ cup sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup pomegranate syrup

Recipe

  1. Stir ½ cup of milk in a bowl with corn starch and vanilla until the powders are fully dissolved.
  2. In a pot you are okay with potentially getting messy, stir remaining milk and sugar together on a stove set to medium-low. Once water begins to boil, continue stirring continuously for 8 minutes.
  3. Immediately remove from heat and pour into small bowls.
  4. Wait until pudding reaches room temperature, then cover and put in the fridge for at least a few hours.
  5. Use a knife to cut around the sides of the pudding and slightly lift the bottom. Turn over each pudding cup (or keep in the bowl, your choice!)
  6. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and drizzle with pomegranate syrup.
Burial Plaque, Rome (Italy), 3rd-4th century C.E. Marble: incised. Gift of Dr. Harry G. Friedman

This ancient burial plaque in the Jewish Museum collection emphasizes the long history pomegranates have contained a religious significance in Jewish culture. The plaque, originating in 3–4th century C.E. Rome, features symbols that represent offerings brought to the Temple: the pomegranate for first fruits and the ram for animal sacrifice.

Along with the difficult work of repentance and t’shuvah, Rosh Hashanah ushers in a sweet new year and family celebration. The traditional food of apples and honey symbolizes the sweetness inherent in the holiday, summarized in the Jewish saying, “To a good and sweet new year.”

Photo: Lisa Yelsey

Apples and honey are a traditional Rosh Hashanah snack, eaten in homes and synagogues through the holiday season. This fig, honey, and pomegranate spread spread combines this tradition with other significant foods of the holiday. It works wonderfully as a sweet fall snack spread on toast, apples, or when combined with cheese.

Ingredients:

10 ounces of figs
1.5 cups water
¼ cup honey
¼ cup pomegranate seeds

Recipe

  1. Cut stems off figs and quarter each. Bring to a boil on the stove with the 1.5 cups of water, then reduce to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes.
  2. Once cooled, pour fig mixture into food processor or blender. Blend with honey and pomegranate seeds until smooth. If you like a more subtle pomegranate flavor, mix in whole seeds after instead of pulverizing in.
Hanukkah Lamp, Ze’ev Raban, Bezalel Workshops, Sharar Cooperative, Jerusalem (Israel), early 1920s.

The pomegranate is depicted as an important symbol across the Jewish holiday calendar, as seen in this Hanukkah Lamp from the early 1920s. This lamp, created by artist Ze’ev Raban in Israel, combines elements of Israel’s National Art School and European Art Deco style. Symbolic images such as date palms, gazelles, and, of course, pomegranates, emphasize the artist’s connection to the land. This combination of styles and imagery create a dense feast of Jewish symbols, from foods for fruitfulness to Israel to the high priests.

Photo: Lisa Yelsey

Cheesecake is traditionally eaten on the Jewish holiday Shavuot. This combination chocolate and pomegranate cheesecake is sweet, dense, tangy, and a perfect compliment to a dairy meal for your holiday dinner. The tang of the pomegranate seeds cuts the heaviness of the cheesecake, and the chocolate cuts the tang of the plain cheesecake.

Ingredients:

24 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1⅓ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup heavy cream
3 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup pomegranate syrup, for serving

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and put tin foil around the base of a greased springform pan.
  2. Put 8oz cream cheese and ⅓ cup of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, add all corn starch. Mix until creamy, about 4 minutes
  3. Add in the rest of the cream cheese and mix, then add in remaining sugar and mix
  4. Mix in eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated
  5. Slowly mix in heavy cream until completely mixed
  6. Spoon ⅓ batter into a separate bowl, mix in cocoa powder and baking chocolate. If the dough is too dry, add in another two tablespoons of heavy cream.
  7. Pour chocolate dough into springform pan, use a spatula to spread evenly across the bottom. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds across the top. Pour on plain batter, use spatula to spread evenly. Sprinkle more pomegranate seeds across the top.
  8. Put 1–2 inches of water in a large roasting pan (creating a water bath) and place springform pan inside. Place entire pan in the oven and bake for 70 minutes. The cheesecake should be set, except the very center, and slightly puffed up.
  9. Take cheesecake out and let sit until it reaches room temperature. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Take out of the fridge, drizzle over pomegranate syrup, and enjoy!

L’Shanah Tovah, to a Happy New Year!

— Lisa Yelsey, Guest Contributor


Pomegranates for Rosh Hashanah was originally published in The Jewish Museum on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Seeing Florine Stettheimer’s “Christmas” Through Language Read More

Florine Stettheimer, “Christmas” (detail), 1930–1940. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Gift of the Estate of Ettie Stettheimer
https://medium.com/media/cc8f79978dfa3becd9d4803eeb5fe732/href

Verbal Description tours at the Jewish Museum bring our exhibitions to life for visitors who are blind or have low vision, using descriptive language and touch objects to convey the visual world. In conjunction with Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry, an exhibition dedicated to Jazz Age painter, poet, designer, and early feminist, the following verbal description closely examines a work by Florine Stettheimer. To learn more about programs for visitors with disabilities at the Jewish Museum, visit TheJewishMuseum.org/Access. All programs are free.

Florine Stettheimer, “Christmas” (detail), 1930–1940. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Gift of the Estate of Ettie Stettheimer

In the center of this painting is a large, grand Christmas tree, lit up and painted yellow with ornaments of red, blue and green. The tree stands in the middle of a skating rink which is blue-green in color. The rink is painted with forced perspective so it looks like a near perfect horizontal oval, stretching almost to the left and right edge of this painting. Skating on this oval of ice are small costumed characters. In the 9 o’clock position on the painting, next to the left edge we have an adult dressed in red with a Santa-like hat, skating with a child, her yellow skirt swinging out behind her. Elsewhere enjoying the ice is a figure on a swan-shaped sled, and a row of small creatures that look like bears standing on their hind legs. The skating rink is surrounded by a large field of white — presumably snow has fallen on the park.

In the background, comprising the top third of the painting is a dreamy cityscape. Stettheimer has rendered the sky a gauzy pink and a fierce red sun beats down, despite the winter season. Scattered on the horizon are a variety of short and tall buildings, cinemas, and advertisements. Most of the buildings are bathed in pink light.

In the foreground are a variety of figures and details. In the bottom left corner we see Henrietta Walter Stettheimer, dressed in a dark red coat with bare legs and black heels, looking over her shoulder at us and holding a long stemmed red rose. She is standing next to a monument of the German scientist, explorer, and naturalist Alexander von Humbolt, who is memorialized by a tall white plinth bearing his name, topped by a dark green bust of his head on a square base, all dusted with snow. At the base of the large plinth is a wreath of green with pink flowers with yellow ribbons trailing on the ground.

Florine Stettheimer, “Christmas” (detail), 1930–1940. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Gift of the Estate of Ettie Stettheimer

In the bottom right stands a tall brown horse — his head, neck and front two legs visible, the back legs cropped off by the vertical edge of the painting. Against him leans a very skinny police officer, dressed in a dark blue uniform, with crossed arms and white gloves. He appears to be looking out under his hat, possibly at the ground.

Directly above him in the painting (and thus behind him in spatial reality) is a large monument to William Shakespeare, a full length sculpture that is blue-black and dusted with snow. The sculpture is placed high up, on a tall pink plinth. He appears to be looking down on the scene.

In-between Ettie and the police officer appear a number of other characters, including: two people with large feathered head pieces, one sitting on a bench and one standing directly in the center, a small child dressed in a red snowsuit, and a woman staring at the skating rink.

Don’t miss the final weeks of Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry, closing on September 24. Take a closer look at select works in the exhibition at our final talks September 8 and 15 at 2 pm, free with Museum admission and RSVP.


Seeing Florine Stettheimer’s “Christmas” Through Language was originally published in The Jewish Museum on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

A Kosher Kilt Read More

The Official Scottish Jewish Tartan Joins the Museum Collection

Tartan Designers: Brian Wilton (Scottish Tartan Authority) and Rabbi Mendel Jacobs. Manufacturer: Lochcarron of Scotland, designed 2008, produced 2016

While Jews first settled in Scotland in the late 17th century, they didn’t get their own tartan until the 21st century.

Rabbi Mendel Jacobs of Glasgow, the only Scottish-born rabbi living in Scotland, initiated the fabric’s creation, and it went into production in 2015. The traditional Scotch garment worn by men, a kilt, was acquired in 2016 for the Museum’s collection in the Scottish Jewish Tartan pattern. The tartan is an exciting example of the active creation of a hybrid symbol that blends a specific cultural, Jewish, and national Scottish identity.

The tartan was designed with the Scottish Tartans Authority, an organization devoted to the preservation, promotion, and protection of the Scottish tartan. It represents the second effort to create a Jewish tartan — a 2008 version designed by Dr. Clive Schmulian, called Shalom, went into production but was discontinued.

Rabbi Jacobs’s design features a navy blue background with several symbolic elements. Bright blue and white lines reference both the Israeli and Scottish flags, while a central group of lines represents the gold of the tabernacle, the silver of the Torah scroll, and the red of ritual wine. There are seven lines in the central motif and three in the flag design, numerically signifying creation and harmony in Judaism. The textile itself is made of pure wool, following the traditional Jewish restriction against mixing wool and linen.

Rabbi Jacobs has produced other objects that incorporate the tartan — including scarves, a flask (perfect for a wee nip of Scotch), and a tie made exclusively for the Jewish Museum shop, now available for purchase online.


A Kosher Kilt was originally published in The Jewish Museum on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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