LBI News

LBI News is the official newsletter of Leo Baeck Institute. It appears in print and online three times annually in Fall, Winter, and Spring. Click the image to download a PDF copy (6MB).

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Student-playwrights Meet Theresienstadt survivor at LBI

Theater teacher Sarah Cusick of Columbia Grammar and Preparatory school (l) asks a question of Miriam Merzbacher.

On April 4, 2014, the students from Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School quietly filed into the Center for Jewish History’s Lillian Goldman Reading Room to hear from Miriam Merzbacher. Miriam is a Berlin native who was interned in Theresienstadt, Hitler’s “model ghetto,” from September 1944 until the end of the war.

Edythe Griffinger Art Catalogue Will Improve Access to LBI Art Collection

Works by Eduard Magnes, Max Liebermann , and others in LBI's storage facility at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan. Photo: Jon Pack.

Thanks to a gift from a trust under the will of Edythe Griffinger, LBI has begun work on a project that will highlight its art collection. This grant will allow LBI to make the collection more accessible through the creation of a virtual art catalogue and a web portal that will allow the public to view artworks and artifacts that are rarely if ever on public display.

Wikipedians Write the Book on LBI Collections

“If you don’t think Wikipedia is good enough, create an account and make it better!” —Leonora Lange, CJH Archivist

At the first public CJH Wikipedia Edit-a-thon on Saturday, May 4, 2014, about 30 volunteers, including CJH and LBI staff, members of the local NYC Wikimedia Chapter, and scholars and librarians from other institutions spent an afternoon creating and improving Wikipedia articles related to women in Jewish History.

LBI at Limmud Germany

At Limmud Germany, workshops were presented in German, Russian, and English, a mix that reflects the diverse backgrounds of the participants. Photo: Nathan Frank.

Limmud Germany held its seventh annual festival at a resort outside Berlin from May 29–June 1, 2014. About 400 participants attended workshops that spanned topics from Hebrew language, Jewish cuisine and a workshop by Dr. Frank Mecklenburg of LBI which covered the topic of German-Jewish history before 1933.

Honoring Federal President Joachim Gauck

Federal President Gauck (l) and Dr. Ronald B. Sobel. Photo: Michael Fahrig.

On May 14, 2014, Joachim Gauck, Federal President of Germany, accepted the Leo Baeck Medal. LBI President Dr. Ronald Sobel made the following remarks at LBI’s first Award Dinner in Berlin, held to honor Gauck.

Federal President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, Awarded Leo Baeck Medal in Berlin

Federal President Joachim Gauck accepts the Leo Baeck Medal on May 14, 2014 in Berlin.

On May 14, 2014, LBI President Dr. Ronald B. Sobel presented the Leo Baeck Medal to the Federal President of Germany, Joachim Gauck. It was the first time LBI awarded its highest honor in Berlin, at a dinner to mark the opening of an LBI New York office in the German capital.

Gaby Glueckselig: Stammtisch Hostess Celebrates a Century of Bliss

Glueckselig celebrates her 100th birthday at Leo Baeck Institute.

Gaby Glueckselig came to the Leo Baeck Institute in the late 1980s as a volunteer archivist. For years she helped to preserve German-Jewish culture by cataloging the Institute’s extensive photograph collection. On April 27, 2014, Glueckselig returned to LBI to celebrate her 100th birthday with friends and family.

Jerry Brotman—Hands-on Volunteer

Jerry Brotman while barcoding books in the LBI library stacks.

He is neither a scholar nor a librarian, but Jerry Brotman knows the LBI Library Collection more intimately than anyone else. Over the past eight years, Brotman affixed barcodes to some 66,000 books, a labor as important to the functioning of a library as it is, some might say, tedious. In 2014, he claimed the singular distinction of being the only person in history to lay hands on every cataloged monograph in the Library’s 80,000-volume collection.

Erhard Roy Wiehn— “Wer schreibt, der bleibt!”

Erhard Roy Wiehn is the editor of the Edition Schoah und Judaica

Erhard Roy Wiehn, born 1937 in Saarbrücken, is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Constance. His “Edition Schoah und Judaica,” is one of the largest series of monographs about Jewish life in Europe and now encompasses nearly 280 books, mostly autobiographical accounts of Jewish life in Europe before, during, and after the Holocaust. We spoke to him about memory, authenticity, and obsession.

Conservation of the Fürth Megillah

The Fürth Megillah drying under tension during conservation efforts at the CJH. Fürth Jewish Community Collection, AR 994

This colorfully illustrated Megillah from Fürth originated in the 18th century, when Jews comprised a fifth to a quarter of the city’s population and enjoyed freedoms unheard of elsewhere in Bavaria. Felicity Corkill, a conservator at the Center for Jewish History, describes how she prepared this treasure for public display at the CJH during Purim in 2014.

Lene Schneider-Kainer: Diary of an Incredible Journey Translated into English

A portrait of Lene Schneider-Kainer.

The year she turned 41, Lene Schneider-Kainer divorced her husband, closed her fledgling business selling designer lingerie to upper class Berlin ladies, and embarked on an 18-month journey to the near East, India, Southeast Asia, and China. Jewish publishing pioneer Rudolf Mosse’s liberal daily, the “Berliner Tageblatt,” had hired Schneider-Kainer to illustrate dispatches from an epic journey along the route traveled by Marco Polo in 1271.

Mahlzeit! German-Jewish Cuisine in LBI Collections

A plate from, Morgenstern, Lina. Illustriertes Universal-Kochbuch für Gesunde und Kranke. Berlin. 1907.

As anyone who has traveled abroad knows, food is one of the most important aspects of culture. Many a journey, and a good bit of global trade, was launched in search of new flavors. For the displaced, uprooted, or simply homesick, familiar foods provide a comfort and connection to home that is second perhaps only…