Welcome to the Magnes!

Our galleries are temporarily closed between June 30–August 27 as we prepare for our new fall exhibitions. As always, The Magnes will remain open for research by appointment.

Exhibitions, Programs, and 15,000 Objects from Around the World

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life was established in 2010 following the transfer of the Judah L. Magnes Museum to the University of California, Berkeley. Its remarkably diverse archive, library and museum holdings include art, objects, texts, music, and historical documents about the Jews in the Global Diaspora and the American West. As one of the world's preeminent Jewish collections in a university setting, it provides highly innovative and accessible resources to both researchers and the general public

The Karaite Canon: Manuscripts and Ritual Objects from Cairo

On View: 
Jan 23, 2018 to Jun 29, 2018
Aug 28, 2018 to Dec 14, 2018

In 1971, Seymour Fromer (1922-2009), founder of The Magnes, led an expedition to Cairo, Egypt. The Karaite Canon highlights a selection from the over fifty manuscripts he brought to California, along with ritual objects belonging to Cairo’s Karaite community. At the time, the aim of The Magnes was to salvage unique documents during a period of great turmoil in the Middle East.

Pièces de Résistance: Echoes of Judaea Capta From Ancient Coins to Modern Art

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

This exhibition will be continuing in Spring 2019. 

Notions of resistance, alongside fears and realities of oppression, resound throughout Jewish history. As a minority, Jews express their political aspirations, ideals of heroism, and yearnings of retaliation and redemption in their rituals, art, and everyday life.

Centering on coins in The Magnes Collection, this exhibition explores how the Jewish revolts against Hellenism and the Roman occupation of Palestine (Judaea Capta) echo from antiquity into the present.

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

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

For nearly two decades, Yaakov (Jacob) Benor-Kalter (1897-1969) traversed the Old City of Jerusalem, documenting renowned historical monuments, ambiguous subjects in familiar alleyways, and scores of “new Jews” building a new homeland. Benor-Kalter’s photographs smoothly oscillate between two worlds, and two Holy Lands, with one lens.

Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History | Steven Zipperstein (Stanford) in conversation with John Efron (UC Berkeley)

When: 
Thu, Sep 13, 2018 5:30pm

This event is free and open to the public

Please RSVP here

In April, 1903, 49 Jews were killed, 600 were raped or wounded, and more than 1,000 Jewish-owned houses and stores were ransacked and destroyed during three days of violence in the town of Kishinev. So shattering were the aftereffects of this rampage, that one historian remarked that it was “nothing less than a prototype for the Holocaust itself.”

Recounted in lurid detail by newspapers throughout the Western world, and covered sensationally by America’s Hearst press, the pre-Easter attacks seized the imagination of an international public, quickly becoming the prototype for what would become known as a “pogrom,” and providing the impetus for efforts as varied as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the formation of the NAACP. Using new evidence culled from Russia, Israel, and Europe for his new book, Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History (Liveright/WW Norton, 2018), distinguished historian Steven J. Zipperstein brings  historical insight and clarity to a much-misunderstood event.

In Global Transit: Forced Migration of Jews and other Refugees (1940s-1960s)

May 19-22, 2019

Conference at GHI West and The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, University of California, Berkeley 

Conveners: Wolf Gruner (USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, Los Angeles), Simone Lässig (German Historical Institute Washington/GHI West, UC Berkeley), Francesco Spagnolo (The Magnes, UC Berkeley), Swen Steinberg (University of Dresden) 

In cooperation with India Branch Office of the Max Weber Foundation, New Delhi (Indra Sengupta, Razak Khan) and China Branch Office of the Max Weber Foundation, Beijing (Max Jacob Fölster

The Worlds of Arthur Szyk | The Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection

On View: 
May 10, 2017 to May 31, 2018
Aug 28, 2018 to Dec 14, 2018

This exhibition will be continuing in the fall.  

Acquired by The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life in 2017 thanks to an unprecedented gift from Taube Philanthropies, the most significant collection of works by Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) is now available to the world in a public institution for the first time as the Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection.

Pièces de Résistance: Echoes of Judaea Capta From Ancient Coins to Modern Art

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

This exhibition will be continuing in Spring 2019. 

Notions of resistance, alongside fears and realities of oppression, resound throughout Jewish history. As a minority, Jews express their political aspirations, ideals of heroism, and yearnings of retaliation and redemption in their rituals, art, and everyday life.

Centering on coins in The Magnes Collection, this exhibition explores how the Jewish revolts against Hellenism and the Roman occupation of Palestine (Judaea Capta) echo from antiquity into the present.

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

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

For nearly two decades, Yaakov (Jacob) Benor-Kalter (1897-1969) traversed the Old City of Jerusalem, documenting renowned historical monuments, ambiguous subjects in familiar alleyways, and scores of “new Jews” building a new homeland. Benor-Kalter’s photographs smoothly oscillate between two worlds, and two Holy Lands, with one lens.

The Worlds of Arthur Szyk | The Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection

On View: 
May 10, 2017 to May 31, 2018
Aug 28, 2018 to Dec 14, 2018

This exhibition will be continuing in the fall.  

Acquired by The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life in 2017 thanks to an unprecedented gift from Taube Philanthropies, the most significant collection of works by Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) is now available to the world in a public institution for the first time as the Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection.

The Karaite Canon: Manuscripts and Ritual Objects from Cairo

On View: 
Jan 23, 2018 to Jun 29, 2018
Aug 28, 2018 to Dec 14, 2018

In 1971, Seymour Fromer (1922-2009), founder of The Magnes, led an expedition to Cairo, Egypt. The Karaite Canon highlights a selection from the over fifty manuscripts he brought to California, along with ritual objects belonging to Cairo’s Karaite community. At the time, the aim of The Magnes was to salvage unique documents during a period of great turmoil in the Middle East.

Memory Objects: Judaica Collections and Global Migrations

On View: 
Jan 29, 2019 to Dec 13, 2019

Over five hundred ritual objects, books, and manuscripts, acquired half a century ago in 1968 from the Siegfried S. Strauss Collection, comprise the foundational Judaica collection of The Magnes today. Memory Objects: Judaica Collections and Global Migrations brings these materials to light comprehensively for the first time, and also interrogates the formation of private and public Judaica collections in Europe during the great refugee crisis of the interwar period. The First World War uprooted millions across Europe, and beyond.

Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History | Steven Zipperstein (Stanford) in conversation with John Efron (UC Berkeley)

When: 
Thu, Sep 13, 2018 5:30pm

This event is free and open to the public

Please RSVP here

In April, 1903, 49 Jews were killed, 600 were raped or wounded, and more than 1,000 Jewish-owned houses and stores were ransacked and destroyed during three days of violence in the town of Kishinev. So shattering were the aftereffects of this rampage, that one historian remarked that it was “nothing less than a prototype for the Holocaust itself.”

Recounted in lurid detail by newspapers throughout the Western world, and covered sensationally by America’s Hearst press, the pre-Easter attacks seized the imagination of an international public, quickly becoming the prototype for what would become known as a “pogrom,” and providing the impetus for efforts as varied as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the formation of the NAACP. Using new evidence culled from Russia, Israel, and Europe for his new book, Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History (Liveright/WW Norton, 2018), distinguished historian Steven J. Zipperstein brings  historical insight and clarity to a much-misunderstood event.

Around Arthur Szyk: Berkeley Scholars on Art and History

When: 
Tue, Oct 23, 2018 5:30pm
Tue, Nov 27, 2018 5:30pm
Tue, Feb 26, 2019 5:30pm
Tue, Mar 19, 2019 5:30pm

The Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection comprises hundreds of artworks, sketches, illustrated books, and archival documents created between two world wars and documenting the rise of totalitarianism in Europe. Szyk’s work touches on motifs drawn from the Bible, history, politics, and culture to pair extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American War of Independence, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel.

Around Arthur Szyk: Berkeley Scholars on Art and History

When: 
Tue, Oct 23, 2018 5:30pm
Tue, Nov 27, 2018 5:30pm
Tue, Feb 26, 2019 5:30pm
Tue, Mar 19, 2019 5:30pm

The Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection comprises hundreds of artworks, sketches, illustrated books, and archival documents created between two world wars and documenting the rise of totalitarianism in Europe. Szyk’s work touches on motifs drawn from the Bible, history, politics, and culture to pair extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American War of Independence, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel.

Around Arthur Szyk: Berkeley Scholars on Art and History

When: 
Tue, Oct 23, 2018 5:30pm
Tue, Nov 27, 2018 5:30pm
Tue, Feb 26, 2019 5:30pm
Tue, Mar 19, 2019 5:30pm

The Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection comprises hundreds of artworks, sketches, illustrated books, and archival documents created between two world wars and documenting the rise of totalitarianism in Europe. Szyk’s work touches on motifs drawn from the Bible, history, politics, and culture to pair extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American War of Independence, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel.

Around Arthur Szyk: Berkeley Scholars on Art and History

When: 
Tue, Oct 23, 2018 5:30pm
Tue, Nov 27, 2018 5:30pm
Tue, Feb 26, 2019 5:30pm
Tue, Mar 19, 2019 5:30pm

The Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection comprises hundreds of artworks, sketches, illustrated books, and archival documents created between two world wars and documenting the rise of totalitarianism in Europe. Szyk’s work touches on motifs drawn from the Bible, history, politics, and culture to pair extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American War of Independence, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel.

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

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


8/28/2018 to 12/14/2018

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

For nearly two decades, Yaakov (Jacob) Benor-Kalter (1897-1969) traversed the Old City of Jerusalem, documenting renowned historical monuments, ambiguous subjects in familiar alleyways, and scores of “new Jews” building a new homeland. Benor-Kalter’s photographs smoothly oscillate between two worlds, and two Holy Lands, with one lens.

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

»
 
 
 
The Karaite Canon: Manuscripts and Ritual Objects from Cairo

The Karaite Canon: Manuscripts and Ritual Objects from Cairo


1/23/2018 to 6/29/2018

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

In 1971, Seymour Fromer (1922-2009), founder of The Magnes, led an expedition to Cairo, Egypt. The Karaite Canon highlights a selection from the over fifty manuscripts he brought to California, along with ritual objects belonging to Cairo’s Karaite community. At the time, the aim of The Magnes was to salvage unique documents during a period of great turmoil in the Middle East.

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

»
Pièces de Résistance: Echoes of Judaea Capta From Ancient Coins to Modern Art

Pièces de Résistance: Echoes of Judaea Capta From Ancient Coins to Modern Art

Case Study No. 9
8/28/2018 to 12/14/2018

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

This exhibition will be continuing in Spring 2019. 

Notions of resistance, alongside fears and realities of oppression, resound throughout Jewish history. As a minority, Jews express their political aspirations, ideals of heroism, and yearnings of retaliation and redemption in their rituals, art, and everyday life.

Centering on coins in The Magnes Collection, this exhibition explores how the Jewish revolts against Hellenism and the Roman occupation of Palestine (Judaea Capta) echo from antiquity into the present.

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

»
The Worlds of Arthur Szyk | The Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection

The Worlds of Arthur Szyk | The Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection

Auditorium installation of enlarged reproductions of select collection items
8/28/2018 to 12/14/2018

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

This exhibition will be continuing in the fall.  

Acquired by The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life in 2017 thanks to an unprecedented gift from Taube Philanthropies, the most significant collection of works by Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) is now available to the world in a public institution for the first time as the Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection.

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

»
 
 
 
 
Posted on Thursday, September 8, 2016

I am delighted to share the wonderfully insightful reflection and writing of Isabel (Issy) Steckel (Wesleyan, 2019), this summer’s Social Media intern at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. Issy, a Bay Area native, interested in all things art, Italy, and Jewish studies, dove in, head first to her position as Social Media intern. Her knowledge and expertise only served to garner more publicity for The Magnes, and to bolster our social media presence, tripling our follower count on Instagram.

Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Over the course of this year, our Magnes Graduate Fellow, Yosef Rosen, in collaboration with our former Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP) student, Zoe Lewin, worked extensively with The Magnes’s shiviti manuscript collection.

Posted on Friday, May 6, 2016

I am delighted to share an essay by Lauren Cooper. Lauren, who is graduating from UC Berkeley this Spring, with a Major in Comparative Literature, and Minors in Spanish and History, has been involved with Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) that I direct at The Magnes for the last two years.

Posted on Friday, November 20, 2015

Carla Shapreau, a faculty member at Berkeley Law whose research involves the Nazi-era plunder of musical cultural property and the restitution of those possessions, a senior fellow in the Institute of European Studies and a curator at the Department of Music, as well as a member of the Magnes Working Group on Mapping Diasporas, is the recipient with two co-authors of this year’s Claude V.

Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2015

Greg Niemeyer is Associate Professor of Art Practice and the Director of the Berkeley Center for New Media (bcnm.berkeley.edu). Born in Switzerland in 1967, he studied photography and classics, and received his MFA from Stanford, where he founded the Digital Art Center.