This effervescent, sunlit silent film, about a handful of city dwellers enjoying a weekend outing (a charming cast of nonprofessionals), offers a rare glimpse of Weimar-era Berlin. Film Scholar Noah Isenberg (The New School) introduces a screening of this early experimental masterpiece by Jewish filmmakers who all went on to become major players in Hollywood.
He drew sketches on tiny pieces of paper and sent them from the trenches to a young cellist who was waiting for him in Berlin. She thought he was a genius, and after WWI she helped him become the busiest architect in Germany. Historian Gavriel Rosenfeld (Fairfield University) introduces this cinematic meditation on the architect Erich Mendelsohn.
At a luxurious Berlin hotel between the wars, the once-wealthy Baron Felix von Gaigern (John Barrymore) supports himself as a thief and gambler among a cast of other colorful characters. Film scholar Noah Isenberg (The New School) introduces this lavish adaptation of the Austrian-Jewish writer Vicki Baum’s genre-defining 1929 novel, Menschen im Hotel.
Susannah Heschel will investigate how Abraham Geiger’s and Heinrich Graetz’s accounts of the origins of Christianity and Islam helped forge the cultural climate for German Jews. Through their pioneering studies, they sought not simply an assimilation into German culture and the German academic community for Jews, but something much more radical: a reconfiguration of the map of Western civilization.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Stolen Heart, which deals with expropriation of Berlin’s Jews, historian Elazar Barkan (Columbia University) will lead a panel of scholars and restitution-seekers in a discussion of the historical, legal, moral, and emotional aspects of restitution.
One of the jewels of the collection of the National Library of Israel is Ms. Heb. 8o6527, a stunningly illuminated High-Holiday Mahzor from the second quarter of the fourteenth century. Librarians and curators have long sought ways to provide access to unique works like this, which remain untouchable when exhibited and offer none of the physical pleasures of books when digitized. World-class craftsmen like Michael and Linda Falter of Facsimile Editions offer yet another solution: the production of facsimiles of important manuscripts as a one-to-one reproduction, designed to imitate the original down to the last detail. The event will focus on the Falters’ stunning recreation of the Catalan Mahzor as well as the original book’s remarkable journey.
Former Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau will accept the Leo Baeck Medal during a special evening at the Center for Jewish History in New York. Join us when we honor a tireless advocate for justice and a champion for preserving Jewish memory.
In his early works, Luther discouraged mistreatment of the Jews and advocated their conversion by proving that the Old Testament could be shown to speak of Jesus Christ. As the Reformation continued, Luther lost hope in large-scale Jewish conversion to Christianity and grew more and more hostile toward the Jews.