A Celebration of Cultural Exploration

Center for Israel Studies Arts Festival Portrays Israel Through Image and Word

Through May 25, Yeshiva University’s Center for Israel Studies (CIS) will host an arts festival on campus dedicated to celebrating the arts and Israel through imagery and words, continuing a tradition of cultural exploration at YU that was originally created by Dr. Norman Adler z”l, University Professor of Psychology and special assistant on academic and research initiatives.

“The Arts Festival was created by Dr. Adler to foster the creative interface of Torah and madda among Yeshiva University students and across our communities,” said Dr. Steven Fine, Dean Pinkhos Churgin Professor of Jewish History and director of CIS. “The Center for Israel Studies has been a supporter of the project for many years and this year, we take up the torch to ensure the continuation of that legacy.”

This year’s festival brings departments and programs across the University together and includes a renewed emphasis on the connection between Israel and the arts. Partners in the festival include the Yeshiva University Museum, the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program, the Zahava and Moshael Strauss Center for Torah and Western Thought, the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, the Stern College for Women art department, Kol Hamevaser and CIS’s Dig This Site.

“I am excited that CIS and our partners have put together such splendid programming,” said Fine. “The arts festival was Dr. Adler’s gift to YU, and we are thrilled that in years to come it will grow and flourish together with the arts at YU.”

The Festival kicked off on April 23 with the opening of a new exhibition at the YU Museum, “City of Gold, Bronze and Light: Jerusalem between Word and Image.” On April 24, Israeli-American journalist, author and media critic Liel Leibovitz delivered a gallery talk titled, “Inbound Exile: Jerusalem as Viewed from Tel Aviv,” and on April 25 the Festival presented “The Art of Ismar David: Harmonizing Modernity and Religion,” a YU Museum exhibition curated by art history students at Stern College.

Upcoming gallery talks and lectures at the YU Museum celebrating Jerusalem will include “ ‘The foxes walk upon it’: The Destruction and Absence of the Temple in Modern Jerusalem and Jewish Life,” by author Ruby Namdar, on May 1; “Lens on Israel: A Society Through its Cinema,” by Eric Goldman, adjunct instructor of film studies, on May 7; “But always I regarded myself as one who was born in Jerusalem,” a talk on Israeli author S.Y. Agnon by scholar Jeffrey Saks, on May 8; “Yehuda Amichai’s Vision of Jerusalem,” by Barbara Mann, associate professor of Jewish Literature and Simon H. Fabian Chair in Hebrew Literature at The Jewish Theological Seminary; and “Jerusalem, Imagination and Historical Consciousness,” by novelist Dara Horn on June 7.

In addition, students will have the opportunity to explore the history and culture of Israel through a book talk with Fine about his most recent work, The Menorah: From the Bible to Modern Israel, on May 8, and a workshop titled, “The Art of Philistine Pottery,” taught by Dr. Linda Meiburg of the University of Pennsylvania on May 9.

The Festival will be rounded out by the Stern College Student Art Exhibition, which opens at the YU Museum on May 25; “Israel in Photographs,” a gallery curated by the Schottenstein Honors Program and displayed on the second floor of the Mendel Gottesman Library; and publications such as the spring issue of Kol Hamevar: The Jewish Thought Magazine of the YU Student Body, which will focus on “Israel and the Diaspora,” and “Colorizing the Arch of Titus,” a web video that summarizes Fine’s recent research on digitally reconstructing the original colors of the menorah panel in the Arch of Titus.

“The Center for Israel Studies is fully committed to expanding arts programs at YU, and the festival will be an important catalyst as we go forward,” said Fine. “We will sponsor a course on Israel and film in Fall 2017 at Yeshiva College, and this spring we sponsored a course on Jewish art at Stern, which resulted in a student-sponsored exhibition at the YU Museum. We are looking toward artists in residence programs on both campuses, concerts and much more.”

For more information about the arts festival, visit www.yu.edu/cis/arts-festival.