Project “Holy Land”: Yaakov Benor-Kalter’s Photographs of British Mandate Palestine, 1923-1940

On View: 
Aug 28, 2018 to Dec 14, 2018

Capturing ambiguous subjects in familiar alleyways of the Old City of Jerusalem, historical monuments of universal renown, along with scores of techno-muscular “new Jews” building a new homeland, Benor-Kalter’s photographs smoothly oscillated between two worlds, and two Holy Lands, with one lens.

A Polish immigrant to the British Mandate of Palestine, Yaakov (Jacob) Benor-Kalter (1897-1969) soon found work as a photographer and graphic designer, employed by both the British government and several Zionist organizations. His photographs, taken between 1923 and 1940, established a new visual record, providing a romanticizing glimpse into the British colonial endeavor. At the same time, his work offered a contemporary view of the plans to create a modern Jewish State in the region.

Curator: Zoe Lewin
Curatorial team: Francesco Spagnolo and Shir Gal Kochavi
Undergraduate Curatorial Assistant: Anna Tseselsky (URAP)
Registrar: Julie Franklin
Preparator: Ernest Jolly
Marketing and Publicity: Lisa Davis
Design: Chun Designs 


Major support for The Magnes comes from the Helzel Family Foundation, the Magnes Museum Foundation, The Magnes Leadership Circle, and the The Office of the Chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Research for this project was made possible in part by funds and resources provided by the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) and by Digital Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley.

Exhibitions Information
The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life
Opening Hours: 
Tuesday-Friday 11am-4pm
The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life
2121 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA
United States
Exhibition Resources
Exhibition Open Dates: 
Tuesday, August 28, 2018 to Friday, December 14, 2018