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Reflections of Memory

Jewish Expression Through Art

    Max Weber: Reflections of Jewish Memory in Modern American Art
"The Talmudists" by Max Weber, 1934.

Exhibition (English v.)
Exhibition (Polish v.)
   "I was prompted to paint this picture after a pilgrimage to one of the oldest synagogues of New York's East Side. I find a living spiritual beauty  emanates from, and over and about a group of patriarchal types when they congregate in search of wisdom in the teaching of the great Talmudists of the past. The discussion of the Talmud is at times impassioned, inspired, ecstatic, and at other moments serene and contemplative…to witness a group of such elders bent on and intent upon nothing but the eternal quest and interpretation of the ethical, significant, and religious content of the great Jewish legacy--the Torah--is for me an unforgettable experience.”

Max Weber (1881-1961) is one of America’s most important twentieth century artists. The first American cubist, Weber translated the modern European aesthetic into a truly American style that evolved during the roughly sixty years of his career. He developed a personal expressionism in his mature phase that was influential for the development of Abstract Expressionism.

Weber, at age forty-nine, was the first American artist to be given a retrospective at the newly opened Museum of Modern Art in 1930. This major recognition was followed by solo shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Jewish Museum in Manhattan, acknowledgment that Weber was one of America’s most significant modernists. His works are included in most of the major American museums and in other museums throughout the world. He is acknowledged as one of the leading American artists of Judaic themes.



    Paint What You Remember: The Memories of Mayer Kirshenblatt
Purim Play: “The Kraków Wedding,” 1994.

  "A highlight of the holiday was the Purim play. The most popular plays were Mordechai and Esther, which told the story of Purim; Mekhires-yoysef, which was about the sale of Joseph by his brothers (this play always drew a few tears); and, above all, The Kraków Wedding (Krakoskie Wesele in Polish), which is the subject of this painting. The troupe would rehearse for months in advance. Most of the performers were laborers and artisans. They wore homemade costumes, the styles going back to the eighteenth century. The female characters are wearing the traditional costume of the Kraków region. If the women look masculine, it is because men are playing the female parts. in the Jewish tradition, a woman would not perform this sort of thing. Those playing male roles are wearing shako hats, which were inspired by the hats that soldiers wore during the Napoleonic wars to make them look taller and more intimidating. The hats were decorated with braid and tassels."


    Through the Eye of the Needle: Fabric of Survival


  "October 15, 1942. We were ordered by the Gestapo to leave our homes by 10 a.m. to join all the other Jews on the road to Krasnik railroad station and then to their deaths.

We left our house for good and walked down the road. Mottel sat in the front wagon holding the Torah. My parents went to join him while my brother helped my little sisters settle into the rear wagon with my aunt Trushel, her sister Golda, my uncle Ruven, and my five little cousins. Suddenly Mottel's daughter-in-law stood up and cried to my mother, 'Rachel, we will never come back! We will all perish!'

Everyone began to cry. Mania and I followed quickly behind the woman who was to take us to Dombrowa and the house of Stefan, my father's friend.  The wagons left to the Krasnik station, and we never say our family again."
--Esther Nisenthal Krinitz



    Art of the Holocaust: The Works of Martin Kieselstein
Prayer did not help.


  "My name is Dr. Martin Kieselstein. I was born in Romania in 1925, during the
Second World War, the area belonging to Hungary. In 1944 I was deported to
Auschwitz, together with all the Jews of my hometown. Of our family only my
father and I survived. My mother and my sister died while doing forced labor. I still suffer due to the lack of knowledge whether they perished during the cold winter, hunger, or the beatings of the Nazis. After my release I returned to my hometown, studied medicine, graduated in 1952 and worked there as a physician.

In 1959 I came to Israel and worked there as a geriatrician in Jerusalem,
because I saw it as my duty to help elderly people, especially those who were
Holocaust survivors. In recognition of my activities I was awarded the 'Yakir
Yerushalayim,' ('Worthy Citizen of Jerusalem') award. I am married; we have two sons and five grandchildren. I don't regard myself as an artist, but feel
obliged and duty bound to convey to future generations the awareness of the
horror of the Holocaust through creations made from various materials."



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