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Not Just the Weekly Torah Portion

Not Just the Weekly Torah Portion

The Israel Museum hosts Beit Avi Chai for a series of online conversations about the weekly reading that are just a little bit different.

Every week Prof. Avigdor Shinan or Prof. Rabbi Dalia Marx talks with a curator about people and themes from the Torah portion or the Haftarah. Filmed in the Museum’s galleries and featuring relevant works from its collections, the discussion of Jewish texts encounters images and artifacts. Brought together, they complement, complete, and enrich one another and suggest new ways of thinking.

 


 

 

Watch the meetings

 

Yitro: Zipporah – Marital and Family Relationships

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Against the backdrop of marriage portraits of Nathan and Charlotte de Rothschild, Prof. Avigdor Shinan examines the biblical figure of Zipporah and her relationship with Moses, while Curator Lihi Sapir talks about how the painter managed to convey the character of each member of this illustrious 19th-century European couple.

January 21, 2022

 

 

Mishpatim: Joshua – Leadership and Continuity

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In African Art gallery, Prof. Rabbi Dalia Marx looks at the figure of Joshua, who is introduced at the end of the Torah reading as Moses’ protégé and will come into his own when the people of Israel is about to enter the Land. Curator Yael Eshel discusses the initiation rites that different cultures use to transmit knowledge and leadership from one generation to the next.

January 28, 2022

 

 


Terumah: King Solomon, the Tabernacle, and Building the Temple

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Prof. Rabbi Dalia Marx talks to Curator Ariel Tishby about King Solomon in the Haftarah of Pareshat Terumah, which discusses the building of the tabernacle. The tabernacle takes us to the Temple, which takes us to the achievements of Solomon as portrayed in texts, artworks, and early maps.

February 4, 2022

 

 


Tetzaveh: Nadab and Abihu – Fire, Death, and Disaster

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Prof. Avigdor Shinan and Curator Daniella Shalev discuss the tragic story of Aaron’s sons being killed in strange circumstances, a biblical event that shocked and mystified those who witnessed it. Their conversation takes place in the exhibition “How Long Is Now?” so that the calamity that befell Aaron’s family resonates with contemporary artistic attempts to address sudden death, calamity, war, and trauma.

February 11

 


Ki Tissa: Aaron – Veiling, Covering, and Hiding

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Amid the Museum’s ethnographic display of Jewish dress and jewelry, Prof. Avigdor Shinan discusses Aaron the High Priest and his response to Moses’ veiled encounters with God, while Curator Efrat Assaf-Shapira looks different types of veiling and covering in the Bible and in Jewish dress.

February 18

 


Vayyakhel: Bezalel – Tabernacle, Creativity, and Art

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With E. M. Lilien’s monumental sketch for a Zionist tapestry in the background, Prof. Avigdor Shinan and Curator Sharon Weiser-Ferguson talk about a central figure in the Torah portion: Bezalel, who crafted the Israelites’ Tabernacle in the wilderness. In the early 20th century, his legacy was reclaimed by Jerusalem’s Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts, creators of a unique artistic style.

February 25

 


Pekudei: Moses – Dedication of the Tabernacle

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Alongside Nicolas Poussin’s The Destruction and Sack of the Temple of Jerusalem, Prof. Avigdor Shinan discusses the character of the people’s definitive leader, Moses, who directed the building of the Tabernacle. The menorah (seven-branched candelabrum) in the Tabernacle leads to Curator Shlomit Steinberg’s look at Titus, the Roman ravaging of the Temple, and the mysterious disappearance of the menorah – and of paintings.

March 4

 


Vayyikra: Sacrifices – Wealth and Poverty, Animal and Grain Offerings

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In the “Divine Food” exhibition, Prof. Avigdor Shinan and Curator Yvonne Fleitman talk about sacrificial rites in the Bible and in Mesoamerican culture, examining the different kinds of animal and agricultural offerings and how they relate to the socio-economic status of those who offer them.

March 11