Lee I. Levine
This article addresses three related, though not identical, academic fields of study that crystallized only in the twentieth century. Beforehand, it had generally been assumed, whether for political, social, or religious reasons, that Jews eschewed art and architecture, either because they were visually uncreative, preferring the audile to the visual, or owing to the restrictions imposed on them by the Second Commandment. However, there emerged in the Post-Emancipation era an awareness that, in the course of their history, particularly in the later Middle Ages and modern times, Jews had produced an impressive array of artistic, mostly ceremonial, objects worthy of appreciation and display. This realization that a uniquely Jewish art and architecture existed in the past crystallized in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, finding expression, inter alia, in the establishment of Jewish museums throughout Europe, America, and Israel.
Edward van Voolen
The existence of Jewish art has long been denied by scholars. Indeed, Jewish art appears to be in conflict with the second of the Biblical ten commandments: “you shall not make for yourself a sculptured image… ” Literally interpreted, the verse prohibits visual arts among Jews and seems to reflect a Jewish aversion to images. This article examines art in Judaism and Jewish attitudes to art. It first considers evidence of art in Judaism, such as how Jews regard liturgical books and objects or how they decorate their sanctuaries. It then discusses Jewish art in modernity, focusing on Jewish artists such as Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, Jozef Israëls, Camille Pissarro, Max Liebermann, Mauricy Gottlieb, Marc Chagall, El Lissitzky, Issachar Ryback, Ossip Zadkine, and Jacques Lipchitz. It also looks at contemporary Jewish art as reflected in the architecture of museums, memorials, and synagogues.
James E. Young
This article focuses on Holocaust memorial histories and debates in Germany, Poland, Israel, and the United States. Holocaust memorials and museums provide spaces and occasions that represent the Holocaust in their own distinctive ways. Public memorialization of the Holocaust era began early, with every affected group remembering its own fate. The more events of World War II and the Holocaust recede in time, the more prominent museums and memorials about them become. As survivors have struggled to bequeath memory of their experiences to the next generations and governments have sought to unify disparate polities with ‘common’ national narratives, a veritable ‘Holocaust memorial and museums boom’ has occurred. Since 1990, hundreds of museums and institutions have been established worldwide to remember and tell the history of Nazi Germany's destruction of the European Jews. Depending on who builds these memorials and museums and where, they recollect this past according to particular national myths, ideals, and political needs. At a more specific level, these museums also reflect the temper of the memory-artists' time, their architects' schools of design, and their physical locations in national memorial landscapes.