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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, Oct 18

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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10:30 AM

JM Journeys
For Visitors with Early-Stage Memory Loss

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Wed, Oct 18

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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2 PM

JM Journeys
For Visitors with Memory Loss

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Thu, Oct 19

Thursday, October 19, 2017

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6:30 PM

Author Talk
Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel

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Fri, Oct 20

Friday, October 20, 2017

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2 PM

Gallery Talk
Unmasking Influences

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Fri, Oct 20

Friday, October 20, 2017

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7 PM

Young Patron Shabbat Dinner
An Evening of Art, Food, Wine, and Conversation

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Sun, Oct 22

Sunday, October 22, 2017

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10 AM

Picture This!
Gallery Tour, Art Workshop & Concert

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Sun, Oct 22

Sunday, October 22, 2017

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11:30 AM

Lisa Loeb
Family Concert

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Sun, Oct 22

Sunday, October 22, 2017

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12:30 PM

Studio Art Sessions
Imaginative Mask

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Sun, Oct 22

Sunday, October 22, 2017

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2 PM

Lisa Loeb
Family Concert

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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

Now and Then: Preserving the Jewish Museum’s... Read More

Scaffolding on the facade of the Jewish Museum, New York, 2017

If you’ve visited the Jewish Museum recently, you’ve seen the scaffolding that currently surrounds our building.

Built in 1908 to be the family home of Felix and Frieda Warburg, the building was commissioned from architect Charles Pierrepont Henry Gilbert in his popular François I style — an ornate melding of French form and Italian ornamentation. The Museum’s Indiana limestone facade and intricate details are an homage to the French chateau, adapted for New York City. Several other local examples of C.P.H. Gilbert’s François I facades survive: the Isaac D. and Mary Fletcher House on 72nd Street (now the Ukrainian Institute), and the Joseph Raphael De Lamar House, at 37th and Madison (now the Polish Consulate General) bear the closest resemblance to the Jewish Museum.

Portraits of Felix M. Warburg and Frieda Schiff Warburg

Our building is an example of the grand homes that once adorned “millionaire’s row” on Fifth Avenue during the Gilded Age. Next to the extravagant mansions of Andrew Carnegie (now the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum) and William K. Vanderbilt (whose triple palace once occupied an entire city block), the Warburg home was relatively modest by comparison. Still, family members reputedly cautioned Felix and Frieda that the building’s lavish appearance might provoke anti-Semitism. In addition to raising five children here, the Warburgs also made their home the center of activities of vital importance to them: philanthropy, the collection and care of art, and the stewardship of Jewish culture. As a fitting embodiment of these concerns, the family later donated the building to the Jewish Theological Seminary for use as a museum. Its doors opened to the public as the Jewish Museum in 1947.

The Jewish Museum — the Vera and Albert List Building (left) and the Warburg mansion (right) — c. 1967. The List Building was built in 1963 and was enlarged and reconfigured when the Museum was expanded in 1993.

Since then, the Jewish Museum has undergone a series of building projects, including two expansions: one in 1963, and a second in 1993, that doubled its gallery space. The Museum plays a proactive role in the care and preservation of its home; every few years, the facade is thoroughly examined to ensure that the landmark building is in good condition.

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Thanks to grants from American Express, New York State Assembly, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Thompson Family Foundation, and the Starr Foundation, the latest round of restoration is now underway to protect Charles. P.H. Gilbert’s original design details of the building’s landmark limestone facade. The project resonated in particular with American Express, which has a long-standing commitment to historic preservation.

Here and there you can still see reflections of the building’s former life as the home of a prominent American Jewish family at the turn of the last century. The most apparent are those on the first and second floors of the Museum.

THEN (left): Entrance hall of the Warburg mansion, as it was originally furnished. NOW (right): the entrance as it appears today as the Jewish Museum’s Skirball Lobby; installation view from the exhibition Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings: Valeska Soares, November 6, 2015-April 25, 2016. Photo by: David Heald.

Board meetings for the Warburgs’ various charitable involvements were held on the first floor, in an adorned room to the left of the main entrance that contained Felix Warburg’s collection of prints and etchings, which were later donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The ornate ceiling can still be seen in what is now the Jewish Museum Shop.

THEN (left): Print room of the Warburg mansion, showing the rotating pedestals for displaying works on paper. NOW (right): The Jewish Museum Shop.

Family concerts were held on the second floor, in the Music Room, where musician friends played the grand piano, pipe organ, and a quartet of Stradivarius instruments. Now called the Joseph & Fanya Heller Gallery, the room’s original beamed ceiling is still visible.

THEN (left): The conservatory of the Warburg Mansion (left) is now the Robert J. Hurst Family Gallery. NOW (right): Exhibition gallery, as seen in an installation view from the exhibition Take Me (I’m Yours), September 16, 2016 — February 5, 2017. The Jewish Museum, NY. Photo by: David Heald.

The second floor also included a conservatory, now the Robert J. Hurst Family Gallery, and a formal dining room, now the Rita & Stanley H. Kaplan Gallery.

The third floor — where the Museum’s new exhibition Scenes from the Collection will soon be on view — was less formal and included Felix and Frieda’s quarters and a breakfast room where the family ate together. There was also a sitting room with couches, family portraits, and a reservoir view.

THEN (left): Second-floor parlor of the Warburg mansion. NOW (right): Installation view of the exhibition Modigliani Unmasked. September 15, 2017 — February 4, 2018. The Jewish Museum, NY. Photo by: Jason Mandella

The fourth floor, now home to our children’s exhibition and art studios, was where the Warburg children — Edward, Carola, Frederic, Gerald, and Paul Felix — slept, studied, and played.

THEN (left): Staircase of the Warburg mansion. NOW (right): The original stained-glass windows now adorn Scheuer Auditorium.

The fifth and sixth floors, now office space for the Museum staff, once housed servants’ quarters and laundry, along with one of the home’s most surprising features: a squash court, where members of the family exercised every morning.

The Museum is grateful to be able to continue preserving the legacy of this impressive building and to safeguard its future use for our dynamic exhibitions and events.

To learn more about the history of the Jewish Museum, visit TheJewishMuseum.org/About. Follow #WarburgWednesday for a behind the scenes look at the Jewish Museum’s Warburg Mansion on Instagram.

— Yael Miller, Associate Director of Marketing, The Jewish Museum


Now and Then: Preserving the Jewish Museum’s Landmark Warburg Mansion was originally published in The Jewish Museum on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in the Jewish Museum... Read More

Installation view of the exhibition “Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings: Vivian Suter.” May 05 — October 22, 2017. The Jewish Museum, NY. Photo by: Will Ragozzino.

Through October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the rich cultural contributions of Latin Americans and the anniversary of the independence of five Hispanic countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an art museum that reflects the global Jewish experience across 4,000 years, the Jewish Museum is dedicated to representing the diversity of Jewish culture that transcends the boundaries of a single definition of identity. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the Jewish Museum, we mined the collection for works of art that tell the story of how the Jewish and Latin American experience intersect.

On view now in the Jewish Museum lobby through October 22, artist Vivian Suter’s paintings contrast starkly with the ornate architectural details of the Museum’s Warburg mansion. Although not part of the collection, the work is the latest among an ongoing series that commissions new art from artists around the globe. Born in 1949 in Buenos Aires after her family fled Austria at the start of World War II, Suter has lived throughout Latin America, Africa, and Europe. In 1983, she decided to settle in the village of Panajachel, Guatemala, in spite of the country’s civil war that lasted until 1996.

Vivian Suter’s studio in Panajachel, Guatemala

Based on a former coffee plantation, her studio is a space that closely connects her practice to the unpredictability of her surrounding environment: the natural processes of weather, plants, and animals freely impact her paintings as rain, mud, leaves, and fruits leave their mark as they hang in the open air on drying racks. Her works also take in the destruction of nature: in 2005 and 2010, hurricanes flooded Suter’s studio knee-deep, leaving waterlines on the works left hanging in the space.

Guillermo Kuitca, Argentinian, b. 1961. “Untitled”, 1993. Purchase: Melva Bucksbaum Contemporary Art Fund

The work of Jewish-Argentinian artist Guillermo Kuitca, the grandson of Russian immigrants who fled the pogroms of the early twentieth century, addresses memory, history, and migration from a Jewish and Latin American perspective. In this untitled painting from 1993, a glowing Hanukkah lamp and a Christian cross are tensely juxtaposed to illustrate a highly charged scene of angst, loneliness, and loss that personify Kuitca’s position as an artist of Jewish background in overwhelmingly Catholic Argentina. The painting alludes to the period known as the Dirty War in Argentina, a decade of state-sponsored terrorism in the mid 1970s and 80s in which dissidents and opponents of the military dictatorship “disappeared” — with Jews figuring disproportionately among them.

Hanukkah Lamp, Inndustria, Cuzco, Peru, first half 20th century. Gift of Dr. Harry G. Friedman.

Around the world, Jewish ritual objects have been uniquely adapted to reflect the cultures that made them, including this Hanukkah lamp from Peru. Although the history of the lamp is unknown, it is a close imitation of a Polish lamp, based on the multistory structure. The availability of silver in a number of Latin American countries led to the commissioning of Jewish ceremonial art for American consumption, and therefore it is possible that this Hanukkah lamp may have been intended for export. However, there were also Jewish communities in Peru beginning in the late sixteenth century, so it is also possible that this lamp was made for local use. The first settlers in Peru consisted of conversos, Sephardi Jews who were forced to convert but secretly followed Jewish tradition. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, waves of immigration came from central Europe, North Africa, the Ottoman Empire, and finally Germany and Eastern Europe, the last of Jews fleeing the Nazis who found refuge in the Americas.

Dawoud Bey, “Jacob,” 2005 and “Claire,” 2004. Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Fund.

The diversity of Jewish culture in America today is expressed in a pair of portraits from the Museum’s collection by American photographer Dawoud Bey. Latin Americans and Jews arrived to the United States as immigrants and refugees, and both groups share a history of discrimination and assimilation as minority groups that stretches to the present day. Dawoud Bey is known for his striking portraits of marginalized identities informed by his own experience growing up in the predominantly black neighborhood of Jamaica, Queens. His photos of two mixed-race teens challenge expectations of what it means to be Jewish and Latino—Jacob and Claire are bold representations of the many faces of contemporary Judaism and a portrait of America, a nation of immigrants.

These works are just a few among the Jewish Museum’s collection of nearly 30,000 objects that reflect the impact of other cultures on the global Jewish experience as it transcends nationality. For Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate the free flow of people and ideas beyond borders.

– Victoria Reis, Digital Marketing Associate


Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in the Jewish Museum Collection was originally published in The Jewish Museum on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Pomegranates for Rosh Hashanah Read More

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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.

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