Confluence: A Newsletter of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life (Summer 2012)

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confluence SUMMER 2012

A newsletter of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life


A vision unfolds at the new Magnes Dear Friends, The grand opening of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life was a terrific success, with more than 1,500 people joining us for the various activities on January 22, 2012. As the Cal Marching Band played a rousing rendition of Hava Nagila, the ribbon was cut, officially launching The Magnes as part of the rich cultural community of Berkeley. It was tremendously meaningful to greet old friends and new. Together we kvelled at the beautifully realized building—a perfect home for exhibitions, research (over 10,000 artifacts accessible on-site), teaching, and community. Already, the 250seat auditorium has welcomed many speakers, conferences, performances, community events, and the space is being booked well into the future. PHOTO BY EDWARD P. FOLEY

In this edition of Confluence, you’ll get a sense of the breadth and depth of the programs in the inaugural season and a preview of the upcoming Fall calendar. We couldn’t be more pleased at how much excitement and energy we’ve created in these first six months in our new space, and it’s become even clearer how the next chapter in The Magnes’s history will help us realize our vision: making our unique collection resources available regionally, nationally, and internationally; providing a research center devoted to Jewish life, art, and culture; enhancing undergraduate and graduate academic offerings at UC Berkeley; and creating a vibrant arena for community engagement. We hope you will visit soon and see The Magnes in action. Our gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, from 11am to 4pm; weekend and evening events are also a great time to visit The Magnes. Check for the schedule of upcoming programs. We look forward to welcoming you.

Alla Efimova where knowledge inspires


Fall Exhibitions opening: august 29 typo/graphics: studying Jewish types in Print and Photography • Main Gallery The main gallery presents an exhibition drawn from The Magnes’ vast collection of prints and photography. Curated by director Alla Efi mova, this exhibition is an investigation of the use of reproducible images in ethnographic and documentary studies of Jewish lives from the 18th century to the present. The selection includes the well-loved images by Marc Chagall, Hermann Struck, and Neil Foldberg, as well as works by lesser known and anonymous image-makers. The focus is on the study of Jewish types in communities throughout the world.

Case study no. 2: the inventory Project • Warren Hellman Gallery When Jeffrey Shandler, Professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University, came to UC Berkeley to do research at the Magnes archives, he assumed it would be for a future book or academic article. But as his research into the Jewish fascination with list making deepened, so did his excitement. After collaborating with Magnes Curator Francesco Spagnolo on several academic projects, most notably through the Association for Jewish Studies, an exhibition idea was born. The exhibit draws from varied and unusual collection items such as calendars, amulets, postcards and ritual objects.

modern Jewish History 101: the art files • Charles Michaels Gallery and Exhibition Program

toP :

Jock Sturges, Tria with Matzos, 1984. Omer Calendar, 18th century, Germany. bottom : Lazar Krestin, Birth of Jewish Resistance, 1905. middle :

This exhibition features a panorama of Jewish life in the 20th century as told through images from the vast art collection at The Magnes. Paintings and sculptures by prominent artists illustrate key historical moments from pogroms to emigration to the Holocaust. The artists’ biographies are telling in their own right, revealing stories of global migration, Nazi persecution, trauma, and restitution.

upcoming Programs fall open House on Homecoming weekend Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7, 12-4 pm Thousands of alumni, families, and friends come to Berkeley for Homecoming at Cal. It’s the year’s largest gathering to celebrate class reunions, parents’ weekend, and the strong community that Berkeley stands for. The Magnes will offer special exhibition tours and music performances for both adults and families.

san francisco Jewish film festival at the magnes The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, the oldest in the country, was incubated at the former Judah L. Magnes Museum in 1982. Thirty years later, the Festival returns to The Magnes with a yearlong series of monthly film screenings introduced by UC Berkeley faculty and visiting scholars. To kick off the program, share a toast to the important history between the two organizations on Saturday, August 4, at 10: 30 am. We will screen Seymour a tribute to Seymour Fromer by Emmy nominee Bill Chayes and Hundred and Two Mature: The Art of Harry Lieberman by Irving Saraf and Allie Light, one of the first films exhibited at the Jewish Film Festival.

the magnes to run a working group on modern Jewish Culture at the townsend Center for the Humanities, uC berkeley Dozens of Townsend Working Groups bring together faculty and graduate students from various fields and departments with shared research interests. For the first time, Modern Jewish Culture group, meeting bi-monthly at The Magnes, will focus on the Jewish Diaspora in modern times, exploring multidisciplinary perspectives on Jewish literature, visual culture, music, and architecture; modern Jewish cultural institutions; Jewish immigrant cultures; and intellectual history.

florence Helzel Collection study room to open in the fall

above: The Taylor (Dir. Gordon Greenberg, 2011) rigHt: Israel Leizerovich (Poland, d. 1941), Portrait of Rosenbloom, ca. 1930.

Faculty, students and researchers will have access to the thousands of collections items at the newly refurbished Collection Study Room. Providing an opportunity for close examination of works of art and artifacts without the barriers normally needed for public display, the Collection Study Room provides intimate contact with original museum objects as well as access to documentary and rare book materials stored at The Magnes.

Highlights from the inaugural season

Conversations with the Curator In the Spring of 2012, Israeli composer Emmanuel Witzthum was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, with residencies at The Magnes, the Music Department, and the Townsend Center. The Magnes commissioned his installation, Dissolving Localities | Berkeley Jerusalem. He spoke with Curator Francesco Spagnolo at the end of his stay. FS: What were the origins of Dissolving Localities? EW: The idea for the project came out of a desire to create a connection between art and life, and to generate a more open dialogue about life in Israel and Jerusalem. My goal is for the project to have different localities interact with one another via the artists who interpret them. FS: What inspired you while you were here? EW: My experiences at UC Berkeley and The Magnes were phenomenal. I got to sit in on classes with professors whom I had admired for many years, speak on campus and around the state, and use the amazing resources at UC Berkeley both for research and performance. In fact, a solo viola piece I wrote ten years ago was performed wonderfully by Nils Bultmann at the opening of the Dissolving Localities installation. That evening was a beautiful demonstration of the profound depth and warmth of my feelings for The Magnes and for Berkeley.

“My experiences at UC Berkeley and The Magnes were phenomenal.“

FS: How did the Magnes installation of the project differ from other incarnations? EW: At The Magnes the project became a dialogue between two cities—Jerusalem and Berkeley. Prior to my arrival, I had read much about the political history of Berkeley, but I knew that it was very important to get to know Berkeley personally, so I spent hours walking around the city recording, listening and looking, focusing on wealth, complexity and difference as discourse. Together with the magnificently talented video artist Arik Futterman, we began to chart out grids of areas connecting people, narratives, nature, religion. In a way, I feel that while the Jerusalem installation represents a “horizontal” tour of that city, the combined installation moves like a wave, fading in, building up into a great wall, and then gradually ebbing away. FS: Where will the project go after The Magnes? EW: The Magnes acted as a true incubator of new possibilities. I am currently working on creating a new format for the project, which moves it from the concrete performance or installation setting to an interactive virtual setting. It will be presented at “The Fresh Paint” Art Fair in Tel Aviv in May, 2012.

Highlights from the inaugural season

Recent Acquisitions

Pell Lecture

The Goldman Fund Archives

From the Ottoman Empire to the Holocaust: The Jews of Rhodes and the End of the Sephardi Levant, 1900-1944

When Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund ceases operations by the end of this year, its records will transfer to The Magnes and The Bancroft Library. San Francisco natives, the Goldmans established their family foundation in 1951. Since then, the Goldman Fund has given away more than $680 million in support of charitable causes locally in the Bay Area, nationally and internationally. This acquisition constitutes an important step in consolidating the role of The Magnes in documenting the history of the Jewish community in San Francisco Bay Area. A generous gift by the Fund will ensure the collection’s accessibility.


A circa 1911 photograph of a Haas family vacation to Germany from the Goldman papers. ABOVE : Richard N. and Rhoda Haas Goldman.

Tessaloniki Relics Dr. Guy Benveniste, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, recently donated a Hebrew manuscript and four photographs from his family in Salonika (today Thessaloniki, Greece) to The Magnes.

RIGHT: This scroll once belonged to Raphael Mair Benveniste (1844-1910), a rabbi in Salonika (pictured at left). It was passed down through the family from oldest child to oldest child.

Aron Rodrigue, Charles Michael Professor in Jewish History and Culture, Stanford University Dr. Aron Rodrigue spoke to a full house in February about the small unique Sephardi history of the Jewish community of the island of Rhodes. Internationally renowned for his expertise in modern Jewish history, Rodrigue presented research for his new book on the island’s unique Jewish community, its life under Italian rule, and its fate in and after the deportation to Auschwitz. who lived under Ottoman rule for centuries. Internationally renowned for his expertise in modern Jewish history, Rodrigue recounted how the island was conquered by Italy in 1912, and the Jews of Rhodes became Italianized rapidly and adapted to the new circumstances. When the German military occupied the island in 1943 after the fall of Mussolini, the Jews were deported to Auschwitz in the summer of 1944, and Jewish life in Rhodes came to an end, leaving the island an important Sephardi site of memory.

above : Aron Rodrigue, Stanford, (left) being introduced by Erich Gruen, Chair, Jewish Studies Program, Berkeley (right).

Highlights from the inaugural season

Community Collaborations One of the great things about our new location—and our new mission— is the partnerships it is allowing us to forge with organizations inside and outside the academic community. FEBRUARY // Lehrhaus

360: Bridging Past and Future: The Bay Area Jewish Community

Presented by Lehrhaus Judaica, this conference offered a panoramic perspective on the history of the Bay Area Jewish community from the Gold Rush to the present.


Berkeley Annual Israeli Film Festival Two film screenings, co-presented by Berkeley Hillel, brought students to The Magnes to watch recent Israeli films, introduced by UC Berkeley faculty.

MARCH // 27th Annual Jewish Music Festival: Bustan Quartet

The performance reunited members of an internationally acclaimed Arab and Jewish ensemble from Israel to draw on Western and Middle Eastern classical traditions, Jazz and improvisation to create a stunningly original world of sound.

APRIL // City

of Berkeley 10th Annual Holocaust Remembrance Day

The program, honoring East Bay survivors and remembering all those perished in the Shoah, featured cellist Isaac Pastor Chernak, cantor Linda Hirschorn, and a cappella group Kol Hadov.

Highlights from the inaugural season

The Magnes Grand Opening

top left :

January 22, 2012

Magnes supporters cut the ribbon on opening day. top right : Visitors respond to “What is The Magnes?” bottom left : Rain doesn’t dampen the excitement of the Cal Marching Band performance. bottom right : More than 1500 visitors viewed the exhibitions.

The Magnes Housewarming Dinner January 19, 2012

Donor Spotlight: Sandy Colen Though he’s only been a supporter of The Magnes for five years, Sandy Colen has already become one of our most active members. He first joined The Magnes’ executive committee and then eventually went on to become a key player in the campaign fundraising effort, working closely with UC Berkeley to facilitate negotiations for the merger. This type of involvement comes naturally for Colen, who has spent two decades as a leader in other prominent organizations, including the Jewish Community Foundation where he has been president. “When I decided to donate to The Magnes, I felt very strongly that I wanted to do more than just write a check,” Colen says. “I wanted to help safeguard what I believe is a cultural gem of the East Bay Jewish community.” Colen, whose mother and grandparents came to the Bay Area from Germany in the late 30s, knew of The Magnes because his family had items in the Collection. But that wasn’t what made him get so deeply involved. “I was attracted not only to the art and artifacts, but to the potential for the impact The Magnes could make on the community,” he says. “To me, The Magnes embodies the Jewish cultural experience.” One of Colen’s best memories of The Magnes was traveling to New York to see a Magnes exhibition, They Called Me Mayer July, mounted at the Jewish Museum there. “It was so gratifying to see the exhibit on both coasts.”

top left : Deborah Kirshman and Florence Helzel. top right : Mathilde Albers, Tad Taube, Alla Efimova. middle left : Irving Rabin, Barry Cohn, and Sandy Colen are recognized by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. middle right : Bob Lurie and Tricia Hellman Gibbs. bottom left : Elaine Tennant. bottom right : Bob Haas and Francesco Spagnolo

But perhaps his greatest pleasure has come in seeing the fruits of the campaign come to life in the new partnership with UC and the new building. “It represents years of effort made by a small team who believed in what The Magnes could be,” he says. “It’s such a tremendous asset to our community, and I’m so proud we’re now able to share it with even more people to expand our reach.”

Friends of the Magnes 2012 For more than half a century, The Magnes has provided access to unique resources that have allowed each generation to find its own story in the rich texts, vibrant images, and unique sounds of Jewish culture. Your generosity today will help the collection thrive as a treasured resource that advances research, scholarship, and innovation for years to come. You will receive exclusive privileges, such as advance notice of events and recognition in The Magnes newsletter and on its website. Additional benefits—including invitations to the annual Friends of The Magnes appreciation event, special exhibition preview events, and luncheons with scholars, artists, and curators— are available at various giving levels; we’d love to discuss these with you personally. This inaugural year of our new building and new mission is the perfect time to join us in helping The Magnes offer unprecedented access to Jewish history and culture.


Paul Alpers Barbara Berger Gale Antokal and Neil Gozan Irwin and Rita Blitt

Barry and Ruth Phillips William Pomeranz and Harriet Prensky

Maxine Brownstein

Edward Schwartz and Jane Pencovic Schwartz

Bob Corso and Denise Cohn

Arthur and Elizabeth Spander

Paul and Selma Forkash Family

WB Family Offices

Arthur and Miriam Gauss

Dr. Werdegar

Judith Bloom

Michael Goldstein Susan Goldstein and Andrew Kivel

We would be honored to have you join us at any level. You can GIVE ONLINE or send your donation to The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, The Bancroft Library University of California, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000.

Mark and Carol Norberg

Claude Gruen Victor and Lorraine Honig David and Deborah Kirshman George Leitmann John Riley and Sachiko Minowa

Marilyn Waldman Gerald Westheimer San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society Conservators

Barbara and Marcus Aaron Ronald and Sue Bachman Denah Bookstein

Magnes Staff Alla Efimova Jacques and Esther Reutlinger Director

Francesco Spagnolo Curator of Collections

Julie Franklin Exhibitions Coordinator

Ted Foley Head Preparator Richard Buxbaum and Catherine Hartshorn

Morris and Audree Weiss

Susan Coliver

Irina Yefimov

Rosalie Eisen


Edwin and Sandra Epstein

Lynne Baer and Jay Pidto

William and Susan Epstein

Michael Baker and Linda Saag Baker

John and Carol Field

Randall Maycock and Karen Barton-Maycock

Aaron and Frances Greenberg

Matt and Amy Berler

Lawrence and Rebekah Helzel

Dana Corvin and Harris Weinberg

David and Hanna Hindawi

Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund

Fred and Beth Karren

Adele Hayutin

Klaus-Ullrich Rotzscher

Oliver & Co.

Abraham and Marian Sofaer Gary and Dana Shapiro Michael and Deborah Sosebee Tri-Valley Community Foundation

Victor and Gladys Perez-Mendez Gary and Dana Shapiro

Directors Circle

Barry and Debra Cohn Walter and Elise Haas Fund Janet Traub Partners’ Circle

Arielle Orbach-Smith Program Coordinator

Frederick Isaac Richard Nagler Judith and Mark Yudof

Britta Kolb Administrative Assistant

Visionary Circle

The Hellman Family Foundation Helzel Family Foundation

Charlotte Patterson Events Coordinator

David L. Klein Jr. Foundation Koret Foundation Raymond Lifchez


Magnes Museum Foundation

Roselyn Swig

Assistant Preparator

Barr Rosenberg

Mel Wacks

Frances Dinkelspiel

David Wallace

Tad Taube

Confluence, Summer 2012 Editor: Laura Scholes Designer: Lacey Rainwater

University of California

2121 Allston Way •

Berkeley, CA 94720-6300

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