The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) is pleased to announce its receipt of a $150,000 grant from the David Berg Foundation. The grant will support a two-year project during which The Library will expand its capacity to lend works from its extraordinary collection of illuminated Hebrew manuscripts to museums around the world.
For many of The Library's rare manuscripts to be displayed, they must first be treated by an expert conservator. The grant from the Berg Foundation will enable JTS to hire conservators and purchase the necessary conservation supplies so that The Library's treasures can be prepared for travel and display.
"Many of the great expressions of Jewish artistic and cultural genius that are housed in The Library's rare collections will, because of the generosity and vision of the David Berg Foundation, find a place before the eyes of the museum-going public, in many cases for the first time," says Dr. David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at JTS. "It will have a far-reaching impact, and for that we are deeply grateful."
The grant will also make possible the creation of proper storage for The Library's celebrated collection of ketubbot, some of which were exhibited at The Jewish Museum in 2011 (The Art of Matrimony: Thirty Splendid Marriage Contracts from The Jewish Theological Seminary Library). JTS plans to loan the exhibition to numerous venues across the country; however, due to the fragility of the materials, the collection may be displayed only once every two and a half years, and must be safely stored when not on display.
The new project builds upon The Library's long-standing relationships with significant cultural institutions in the United States and abroad.
Manuscripts, art, and objects of material culture from The JTS Library's holdings will be attractive to curators seeking to enrich both special and permanent exhibits. Select gems representing Jewish creativity under Islam will supplement showings of Islamic art. Illustrated and illuminated Haggadot, scrolls, ketubbot, and other works will augment exhibits in a variety of directions, whether the subject be cross-cultural or interreligious.
With the support of the David Berg Foundation, The JTS Library will be able to loan many of its important works, educating the public about the richness of Jewish art and culture through the ages.
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