Temples and Tabernacles: How the Ancient Israelites Worshipped

Dr. David Ilan, Director, Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology, HUC/Jerusalem

Chapters 25-27 of the Book of Exodus (Parashat Terumah) contain a very detailed description of the Tabernacle in the Sinai desert and how the Israelites – priests and lay people – were instructed to carry out the Tabernacle rituals. Later, in II Kings 6, Solomon’s Temple is described in detail and prescriptions for ritual action in the Temple then appear throughout Exodus and Leviticus. Through the presentation of visual reconstructions of these edifices and rituals and parallels from Egypt, Syria, and beyond, learn about the historical and social implications of Israelite ritual, how things changed radically with the destruction of the First Temple, and how the biblical prescriptions are relevant today.



Imagining Esther: The Splendid Illustrated Esther Scrolls in the HUC Collection

Sharon Liberman Mintz, Curator of Jewish Art, The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary; Senior Consultant/Judaica, Sotheby’s New York

Explore the history and art of Esther scrolls, created and used for the celebration of Purim, which often feature a cycle of elaborate and fascinating illustrations and the interplay of text and images. While the format of the scroll was maintained for this biblical book, for centuries the artists of these scrolls readily adopted the predominant aesthetic traditions into their decoration, reflecting a rich variety of artistic styles along with the continuity of the scribal traditions. Presented by the Klau Library.


MONDAY, MARCH 1, 2021 AT 1:00 PM ET

Kashruth (Jewish Dietary Laws), Community, and Control: Shehitah (Ritual Slaughter) Manuals and their Afterlives in Early Modern Europe

Dr. Joshua Teplitsky, Associate Professor of History, Stony Brook University

How did someone learn to be a kosher butcher in early modern Europe, and what sort of material traces remain from that process? Manuals for ritual slaughterers were a remarkably popular genre in Jewish printing in the early modern period. While these books might appear to be "do it yourself" guides to preparing kosher meat, the handwritten inscriptions in the margins and blank pages allow us to reconstruct the process by which someone studied and was certified to be a shohet (ritual slaughterer). Discover how print and manuscript culture interacted in the transmission of practical instruction and of "book learning" and learn about the upheavals caused by cases of forgery, deception, and fraud amidst Jewish efforts at regulating, certifying, and controlling the production of kosher meat in modern Europe. Presented by the Klau Library.


TUESDAY, MARCH 16, 2021 AT 1:00 PM ET

A Spark of King David: Rabbi Israel Najara's Poetry and Music

Edwin Seroussi, Emanuel Alexandre Professor of Musicology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Director, Jewish Music Research Centre

The attraction of modern audiences to the songs of Rabbi Israel Najara (c.1550-1625) serves as a point of departure for a journey into one of the most intriguing artists of the early modern period. Najara was a unique figure in the history of piyyut (Jewish liturgical poems, usually designated to be sung, chanted, or recited during religious services), a tradition active in Safed, Damascus, and Gaza. Discover Manuscript 2035 in HUC’s renowned Klau Library – a collection of Hebrew sacred poetry arranged to the musical nodes of Turkish music dating to the 17th century, particularly the poetry of Rabbi Najara – and enjoy poems that are sung to this day in synagogues and Jewish homes. Presented by the Klau Library.



Opening the Ark: Bringing a Lost Polish Synagogue to Life

Abby Schwartz, Director, Skirball Museum, HUC/Cincinnati
Shmuel Polin ‘21, Rabbinical Student, HUC/Cincinnati

Participate in a tour of the Skirball Museum’s exhibition of Shmuel Polin’s full-size replica of an Aron Hakodesh (holy ark) from Sidra, Poland, that was destroyed by the Nazis. The unique story of the reproduction of this sacred architectural artifact, its relationship to the 18th-century Polish ark that graces the Scheuer Chapel on HUC’s Cincinnati campus, works from the Skirball Museum’s collection, and related documentation bring to life the precious legacy of the destroyed wooden synagogues of Europe.


TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 2021 AT 1:00 PM ET

Silk and Ink: Hebrew Printing and Commercial Networks in Early Modern Bologna

Rabbi Joseph A. Skloot, Ph.D., Rabbi Aaron D. Panken Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish Intellectual History, HUC/New York

Jews were early adopters of the technology of printing. Encounter the identities of some of these innovators – a small group of Jewish silk weavers in the city of Bologna, including Italian Jews, Ashkenazim, and Sephardi exiles, who produced an eclectic mix of nine books over four years, from 1536 to 1540. While these works have merited some attention from bibliographers, the printers themselves, and their place in the Jewish communal and commercial life of Bologna, are a new realm of scholarly and historical analysis. Presented by the Klau Library.


TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2021 AT 6:00 PM ET

Transcendent Melodies: Exploring the Music and Cultural Context of Ishay Ribo

Gordon Dale, Ph.D., Visiting Professor of Ethnomusicology, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, HUC/New York

Through his creative weaving together of Jewish liturgy, Biblical verses, and reflections on religious life, contemporary Israeli musician Ishay Ribo has been embraced by Jews around the world. Delve into his songs to uncover their levels of meaning, and appreciate how this deeply religious music has transcended cultural divisions among Jews, both within Israel and abroad.


TUESDAY, MAY 20, 2021 AT 1:00 PM ET

Every Book Has a Story: The Story of Alpha Betah of Ben Sira

Yoram Bitton, Director of Libraries, HUC

More than 500 years ago, a contentious and unsettling book representative of what today we would call Pulp Fiction was published. Entitled Alpha Betah of Ben Sira, it was printed for the first time in Constantinople in 1519, became very popular, and was reprinted many times in the 16th century. Through this book’s fascinating story and its social-historical context, glimpse one of the treasures among the more than one million collection items preserved on HUC’s library shelves. Presented by the Klau Library.


TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 2021 AT 3:00 PM ET

Chagall and the Bible

Jean Bloch Rosensaft, Director, Dr. Bernard Heller Museum, HUC/New York

Marc Chagall was profoundly inspired by the Bible throughout his career, producing biblical works in a broad array of mediums, including paintings, etchings, sculptures, mosaics, tapestries, stained-glass windows, ceramics, and stage set designs. Discover how memories of his youth in Vitebsk, his 1931 visit to Palestine, the Russian Revolution, the Holocaust, his personal religiosity, and his admiration for the old masters, informed his imagination to create uniquely modern visual interpretations of the core text of the Jewish people.


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