Jewish Wedding by Trankowski


A message from Executive Director Hannah Weisman

May 8, 2023

Spring is (finally!) here and I am sensing a welcome awakening—outside our windows and here at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life.

I am thrilled to step into my new role as executive director, and I have felt warmly welcomed by The Magnes, the UC Berkeley community, and the Bay Area Jewish community. In March, I had the pleasure of joining Chancellor Carol Christ in conversation. We explored the many ways in which museums such as The Magnes are magical learning environments — places that tap into different modes of learning and offer a range of opportunities for visitors to discover new interests or deepen existing ones.

An anchor of Jewish arts and culture in the Bay Area, The Magnes serves as a catalyst for interest in Jewish practices and artistic traditions. I invite you to join me and the dynamic staff of The Magnes as we develop new programming, delight in our remarkable collection, and bring together the Bay Area’s diverse Jewish community. Your support makes our vital programming and exhibitions possible. I hope you will consider supporting The Magnes today.

When you visit The Magnes, you step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Here, you can share moments of wonder and contemplation with family and friends as you explore exhibitions that reflect the richness and variety of Jewish life. 

Exhibitions such as our upcoming Cities and Wars: Roman Vishniac in Berlin & Jerusalem (1947/1967), resonate with people from all backgrounds. The exhibit will juxtapose Vishniac’s devastating photos of post-World War II Berlin with his photos of Jerusalem in the aftermath of the Six-Day War, which serve as a reminder of the impact of armed conflicts on people’s daily lives.

Roman Vishniac, Promenade through the ruins, Berlin 1947

Roman Vishniac (1891-1990)
[Promenade through the ruins, unidentified location]
Berlin, 1947
Gouache on Paper 2005.329.20.008
Gift of Mara Vishniac Kohn The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Arts & Human Rights (1926-1951), originally displayed at The Magnes in 2020, has been on view at the National WWII Museum (a Smithsonian affiliate) in New Orleans. This exhibit — which includes incisive political cartoons chronicling Nazi racism and tyranny—will open at the Fairfield University Art Museum in Connecticut in September.

The Magnes exists and evolves because of you, the engaged members of our community. Support from our philanthropic partners at all levels enables The Magnes to flourish. Together with our community — which includes university and institutional partners such as UC Berkeley’s Center for Jewish Studies, Taube Philanthropies, the Israeli and German Consulates of San Francisco, and the Goethe-Institut— we are offering programming that you can’t find anywhere else. Perhaps you engaged with the Shared History Project, which uses 58 objects to trace 1700 years of Jewish presence in German-speaking countries; or attended the lecture “Hideouts: the Architecture of Survival in the Holocaust;” or perhaps you know a young scholar developing academic and professional skills through Berkeley’s Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP). 

Whatever drives you to learn more about Jewish history or to connect with Jewish culture, you are welcome at The Magnes. I encourage you to join us as we begin The Magnes’s next chapter.

If you share my conviction that it is more critical than ever that we come together to elevate Jewish stories and experiences, please consider making a gift to fulfill our shared vision. Your generosity will play a powerful role in sustaining and growing an anchor of the Bay Area and UC Berkeley Jewish communities.

Make a gift TODAY!

With deepest gratitude,

Hannah Weisman
Executive Director
The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

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