In the last year our Executive Director, Bill Shpall, with the help of our archivist Enid Sperber and our appraiser Jack Roth, have led the way in cataloging all the fine art that Temple Israel of Hollywood has collected over the last 85 years since its founding in 1926. It is an extraordinary collection of fine Judaica, manuscripts, paintings, woodcuts, etchings, lithographs, photographs, sculpture, ancient pottery and glass, silver and gold ceremonial art, bronze, marble, calligraphy, books, and textiles.
Here are a few of many gems – 8 Seriographs by Ben Shahn of the infamous Dreyfus Affair of 1894; a first edition of Der Judenstaadt (The Jewish State) by Theodor Herzl, 1896; an original oil painting and 4 lithographs by one of Israel’s great artists, Reuven Rubin; original lithographs signed by Marc Chagall, and Israeli pioneer artists Jacob Steinhardt and Moshe Castel; a signed letter of Henrietta Szold (1916); a remnant of the Cairo Genizah; a Prayer Book published in Livorno dated 1801 with a letter in the hand of Sir Moses Montefiore; many antiquities of Holy Land glass, bronze and pottery dating from 1600 B.C.E. to 700 C.E.; an embroidered velvet Readers Desk Cover from the now destroyed synagogue of Alzenau, Germany, 1827; a Polish copper tz’dakah box circa 1900, an exquisite silver Torah Crown from Amsterdam, late 19th century; 2 silver and gold Torah breast plates from the famed Lazarus Posen silversmiths of Frankfurt and Berlin, mid-19th century; 2 wooden Torah cases covered in silver and red velvet from Syria and Iraq, 19th century; several exquisite silver Megilah holders with illuminated manuscripts from Germany and Iran, 19th and 20th centuries; signed photographs by Israeli photo-journalist Micha Bar-Am; hand-woven linen tapestries featuring the tallit and a redesigned interior of our Sanctuary Ark with Torah mantles by American artist, Laurie Gross; a bronze cast Menorah by Salvadore Dali; and a bronze cast wall hanging of Moses Descending Sinai by Mary Ann Devine (a 2nd cast is at Hillside Memorial Park).
All this and much more are shown in a beautiful catalog and is a precious legacy of our community.
John Updike once wrote that “The artist brings something into the world that did not exist before, and he/she does it without destroying something else.” So true, and thank God for the artists among us!