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Purim: A Diaspora Story in Jewish Art and Folklore
Feb 19, 2013 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 am
In conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, Case Study No. 3 | Sound Objects, The Magnes presents a lecture by Shalom Sabar (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem).
Though a minor holiday in the Jewish year cycle, the Purim festival and the Book of Esther assumed unusual significance for the Jews living as a religious minority, whether in Christian Europe or the Islamic East. The amazing story of deliverance with its intricate plot and many unexpected twists has been imbued over the centuries with commentaries and deep meanings that made it extremely relevant to Jewish audiences in various parts of the Diaspora. The contemporaneous meaning and relevance of the holiday is best reflected in visual materials created especially for the holiday – illuminated Hebrew manuscripts and Esther scrolls, joyful folk customs and curious objects of material culture, and even a most dramatic and exceptional synagogue wall painting created more than 1750 years ago.
Shalom Sabar (Zakho, Iraq, 1951) is a professor of Jewish art and folklore at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He studied art history at The Hebrew University and received his PhD from UCLA in 1987. His research combines the disciplines of art history, Jewish history, and folklore. He is the author of Ketubbah: Jewish Marriage Contracts (1990); Mazal Tov: Illuminated Jewish Marriage Contracts from the Israel Museum Collection, (1994); Jerusalem – Stone and Spirit: 3000 Years of History and Art (with Dan Bahat; 1997); The Life Cycle of the Jews in Islamic Lands (2006). Prof. Sabar serves on the editorial board of the Ben Zvi Institute in Jerusalem, which publishes the periodical Pe’amim and a 20-volume richly illustrated series both devoted to the Jewish communities in the lands of Islam. Read more…
Professor Sabar’s lecture is presented with the Townsend Center Working Group on Modern Jewish Culture.