"Illuminating the Scribal Arts" to Explore Jewish Artistic Tradition

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

August 14, 2006, New York, NY

The illumination of sacred text in Judaism has a rich and complex history. The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary is home to the largest repository of Hebrew manuscripts in the western hemisphere.

Rabbi Matthew L. Berkowitz, an accomplished artist and sofer (scribe) and Senior Rabbinic Fellow at JTS, will draw upon The Library's many treasures to discuss "Illuminating the Scribal Arts" on Wednesday, September 13 at the Henry N. Rapaport Memorial Lecture. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. at JTS, 3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street) in New York City.

Known for his engaging style and deep intellect, Rabbi Berkowitz will share insights into how scribal arts have animated sacred text and Jewish learning in the past, describe traditional techniques, and discuss the impact of this artistic tradition on modern Judaica artists. Formally trained in Jewish scribal art in Jerusalem, Rabbi Berkowitz has published a limited edition art portfolio titled Passover Landscapes: Illuminations on the Exodus, which was recently exhibited at the Yeshiva University Museum.

A past Wexner Fellow, Rabbi Berkowitz is a member of its Heritage Program faculty and leads organized groups and conducts private study opportunities for laypeople with a demonstrated commitment to Conservative Judaism through JTS's KOLLOT: Voices of Learning Program.

The annual Henry N. Rapaport Memorial Lecture was established in 1982 by Selma Rapaport Pressman, a past President of the Women's League for Conservative Judaism and a longtime JTS Board member, in memory of her late husband. A distinguished attorney and committed Jew, Mr. Rapaport (1905–1980) served as President of Temple Israel in White Plains and President of United Synagogue. He was an active member of the JTS Board and a generous benefactor of its scholarly programs.

Admission is free; advance reservations and valid photo identification are required. For more information and to register, please call the Department of Public Events at (212) 280-6093 or email.

Editors/Reporters: For further information on Henry N. Rapaport Lecture, contact Sherry Kirschenbaum in the Department of Communications at (212) 678-8953 or email.

Founded in 1886 as a rabbinical school, The Jewish Theological Seminary today is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism worldwide, encompassing a world-class library and five schools. JTS trains tomorrow's religious, educational, academic and lay leaders for the Jewish community and beyond.

Visit the JTS website at www.jtsa.edu.