Page 109 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

Basic HTML Version

101
FREUDENHEIM / BOOKS ON ART AND THE JEW ISH TRADITION
lection. This book is a major achievement in the museum field—
certainly the most importan t since Stephen Keyser’s similar
effort for T he Jewish Museum in New York, although the
London book surpasses tha t in scope.
T he field of “Jewish museums” in general has expanded in
recent years, having increasing impact not only on exhibitions
but also on publications. The New York museum, still an under-
valued asset of the Jewish Theological Seminary, has not pro-
duced the kind of serious scholarship tha t such connection
would suggest. But happily tha t direction is changing, if one
is to judge from
Fabric of Jewish Life,
the fine catalogue of
textiles which was produced to accompany an equally impor-
tan t exhibition of those works. While the second volume is not
yet published, and is expected to contain the prime scholarly ma-
terial, this volume is both beautiful and informative, break-
ing new ground in a field which desperately needs attention.
T he West Coast, meanwhile, is giving some real competition
to the East. A pair of relatively new Jewish museums, in Ber-
keley and Los Angeles respectively, are beginning publication
programs of substance. Berkeley’s Judah L. Magnes Museum and
its Center for the Study of Western Jewish History have issued
several significant volumes, of which the most impressive art
book is the slim catalogue of Hanukkah lamps in its collection.
While the introductory text by Ru th Eis is not very useful, it
does begin to draw some important parallels with other fields,
such as folk art. T he catalogue entries are excellent, as is the
organization of the material and the technical information; and
the production, from design, through photos and printing,
should set new standards for concise, limited work in this field.
The Skirball Museum in Los Angeles has much farther to go,
judging by the review of its collections, edited by Nancy Ber-
man.
A Walk Through the Past
ends up being too much of
a presentation piece for HUC-JIR, and one would hope that it
will be followed by more serious studies of the collections.
For Jewish bibliophiles, two excellent volumes must be men-
tioned. An exhibition at Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum
provided the occasion for David Sandler Berkowitz to compile
his excellent catalogue relating Jewish and non-Jewish Biblical
manuscripts and printed books. T he material here ranges very
wide, bu t the plates are adequate for interesting comparisons,