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's Archive for April, 2009

Weddings and Wine: Kiddushin/קידושין

In this beautifully embroidered cloth, a central panel contains the Kiddush blessing over wine recited at meals during the festivals Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot, with special Sabbath blessing inserts in contrasting color and letter size. Beneath is a quote from Ethics of the Fathers: “…three who eat at one table and speak words of Torah, it is as if they have eaten at God’s table…” Such pieces have been identified as part of a bride’s trousseau or as wedding gifts, so the bride may have embroidered the cloth herself, or perhaps it was made for the new couple.

Counting and Recounting

According to the biblical commandment, the days and the weeks between the second day of Passover, when an Omer (a sheaf, or measure of grain) from the new barley harvest is brought to the Temple, until the festival of Shavuot, must be numbered.

Dialectical Images: Disseminating Collection Information Across the Digital Jungle

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 [...]

Holocaust Remembrance at the Magnes: The Value of Time

For living men, the units of time always have a value, which increases in ratio to the strength of the internal resources of the person living through them; but for us, hours, days, months spilled out sluggishly from the future into the past, always too slowly, a valueless and superfluous material, of which we sought [...]

Journey West: Johanna Mayer Hirschfelder writes about her trip from New York to San Francisco in 1856

Today I was researching letters in the Magnes holdings that Jewish immigrants to the American West sent to their families back home (in Europe or elsewhere). There are some wonderful examples of such letters in our collections. I particularly like one sent by Johanna Mayer Hirschfelder to her family back in Europe in 1856. In [...]