Archive for the 'Random Musings' Category

New home, new opportunities: A report from the Magnes archivist

As the archivist for The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the Bancroft Library, I am currently stationed out at a new, state-of-the-art storage facility on Regatta Blvd in Richmond, California.  The Western Jewish History Center archival collections, housed for forty three years in the attic of the Magnes Museum building on Russell [...]

Taking part in the Magnes transition

Posed on behalf of Valerija Nechay, Kohn Intern at the Magnes in the Summer of 2010. Valerija is currently a student at UC Santa Cruz, majoring in Sociology. My brief time at the Magnes over the past eight weeks allowed me to take a glimpse into the rebirth of the most significant collection of Western [...]

Origin of the Rites and Worship of the Hebrews

At the center of a large architectural edifice, a man contemplates “the terrestrial globe bursting forth from the midst of clouds and receiving luminous emanations from the Most High.” Around this image is a fantastically elaborate array of niches containing narrative scenes, friezes and frames enclosing blocks of text, rows of figures, Kabbalistic symbols and programs, Zodiac signs, and divine names. Beneath, in Hebrew and English, is the title “Origin of the Rites and Worship of the Hebrews”. The work was reproduced and published for the American public in 1859 together with an “Explication”, a one hundred twelve page explanatory booklet translated from the original French, 3 by Max Wolff, rabbi of Ohabei Shalom Congregation in Boston, who later served as a cantor in San Francisco.

Memories of Seymour Fromer, Magnes Founder

We received word Monday morning that one of our founders, Seymour Fromer, passed away on Sunday. There’s an obituary here, and instead of mentioning all of his accolades, honors, and deeds, we, the Magnes staff, would like to share our personal memories of Seymour. For although he was a Jewish community leader, and a driving [...]

Happy Sukkot! חג סכות שמח

Sukkot celebrates the end of the harvest season. Families and their guests enjoy festive meals in little huts decorated with seasonal fruits and vegetables, recalling the temporary dwellings of the biblical Israelites during their desert wanderings.

Celebrating Archives, National Parks, and the Great American Historical Record

To mark American Archives Month and California Archives Month, as well as the history of our National and State Parks and the history of the Jews of the Western United States, here are a few images of Yosemite from the wonderful archival collections of the Magnes.

Have a sweet and happy New Year שנה טובה ומתוקה

Happy Birthday to Hank and Mary!

Magnes volunteers Hank and Mary Hoexter celebrated their 87th birthdays this week.  They were born on the same day of the same year–August 24, 1922!  What are the odds of that?  They have been married now for 62 years. And to top it all off, the Hoexters have been volunteering up in the Western Jewish [...]

Theresa Ehrman Papers Now Open to Researchers

Theresa Ehrman (b. 1884-d. 1961) was a teenager when she travelled from San Francisco to Paris to live with Michael and Sarah Stein.  She could hardly have imagined what would await her. The daughter of Jennie Rosenthal Ehrman and Herman Ehrman, Theresa grew up in San Francisco, where she nurtured her talent as a pianist. [...]

Jews of the Fillmore Opening Celebration

Jewish Standard Time did not apply to the Jews of the Fillmore opening celebration. Guests excitedly entered the Jazz Heritage Center before its officially posted time, perusing through the exhibition while greeting friends. After settling in, some guests opted to take the Guide by Cell tour, walking around the neighborhood on the particularly balmy afternoon, [...]