The etrog (Heb. אתרוג, citrus fruit) is one of the “Four Species” used during the rituals relating to the Festival of Sukkot (or Tabernacles). Following rabbinic interpretations (based on the Mishnah and the Talmud, Sukkah), the “Four Species” (a date palm frond, myrtle and willow branches, and an etrog) are typically acquired during the days between Yom Kippur [...]
Congratulations to the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life (USC) for publishing the seventh volume of its Annual Review (August 2010). A Cultural History of Jews in California, edited by Bruce Zuckerman with William Deverell (guest editor) and Lisa Ansell (associate editor) covers a topic that is defined as [...]
A “Torah binder” is a Jewish ceremonial textile used to keep a Torah scroll closed tightly when it is not being used for synagogue reading. In some Jewish communities in Germany and Eastern Europe, Torah binders were made from the linen or cotton cloth used to cover new-born males during the Circumcision ceremony (brit milah). The [...]
And now, it’s time for some (recent) institutional history… In the summer of 2007, several months before The Commons were launched by Flickr in partnership with the Library of Congress, the Magnes began sharing images from its Archives, Library and Museum collection on Flickr (the first set, created between July 3rd and August 21st, 2007, can be [...]
The modern cultural genre of the picture postcard, which is well represented in the Magnes collection (which includes over 3,000 postcards, and many greeting cards), is explored in a recent essay by Hebrew University’s Professor of Folklore and Professor of Hebrew Literature, Galit Hasan-Rokem. The article, which opens with quotations from Walter Benjamin and Susan [...]
In this group of Flickr “sets” the Magnes presents online for the first time a wide selection of digitized items from its Western Jewish Americana and Global Jewish Diaspora archival collections. The decision to give direct access to (often unprocessed) archival digital files reflects the attempt to integrate digitization technologies and social networking with traditional [...]
Since its inception in 1962, the Magnes has strived to represent the Jewish experience in all of its manifestations: material culture, the visual arts, music, historical documents, and of course text. This has resulted in a multi-faceted collection that provides a wide-angled perspective on culture and history in the Global Jewish Diaspora. This diversity of holdings also presents a challenge. How can materials traditionally stored in distinct repositories – Archives, Libraries and Museums – all coexist under the same roof? How can they best be preserved? And, most importantly, what kind of access can be provided to them?
Access to a collection is determined by how the collection itself is described to the public. The question, then, is how can archive, library and museum collections be described within one and the same context. In this post, I am sharing with our readers a series of thoughts that were debated over the last two years among the Magnes staff: in which “collections” do the holdings of the Magnes belong? And, more to the point, what constitutes a “collection”?
Our online project, the Jewish Digital Narratives is about collection dissemination through an alignment of narrative theory, curatorial practice, and technology. Last week, I participated in an exciting design charrette (a fancy way used by the faculty of University of California at Santa Barbara’s Center for Information Technology & Society to say that they squeeze [...]