A Discerning Eye: Highlights From the Judaica Collection of Daniel M. Friedenberg

Presented by The Library of JTS
January 28 - April 29, 2004
Online selections available indefinitely

The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary has received a magnificent gift of more than eight hundred works on paper and eighty books from distinguished collector Daniel Friedenberg. Following in the footsteps of his father, Samuel Friedenberg, whose superb collection of medals and plaques now resides at The Jewish Museum, Daniel began his own personal collection more than six decades ago. It grew to encompass such diverse fields as pre-Columbian art, Greco-Roman antiquities and Judaica. Daniel Friedenberg's continuing dedication to gathering and sharing unique Jewish cultural-historical artifacts, prints and artwork is exemplified by his recent donation to The Library. His list of curatorial achievements, literary accomplishments and philanthropic affiliations is not only extensive but also reveals a particular commitment to Jewish art. He has written a number of books on Jewish metalwork and numismatics, and is the Curator Emeritus of Coins and Medals at The Jewish Museum. His collection highlights the major role that Jews have played in world history and demonstrates their outstanding contributions and achievements in such areas as art, literature and politics. The size and breadth of Friedenberg's donation is equally matched by the quality of its individual works. Among the items on paper are rare engravings of biblical scenes, documents of socio-historical importance and prints by renowned twentieth-century artists. The collection spans historical periods and geographical locales, representing both religious and secular traditions, with fine examples of American Judaica, Holocaust-era materials, Yiddish postcards, New Year greeting cards and bookplates. Daniel Friedenberg's lifelong devotion to Jewish art stems from his strong reaction to growing up in the face of anti-Semitism - both on a global-historical scale, in the form of the atrocities of the Holocaust that scarred an entire generation, and closer to home, as a witness to the local manifestations of anti- Semitism in his own neighborhood. Friedenberg's assiduous preservation of Jewish works of art and artifacts is an act of reaffirmation and empowerment. With this sizeable gift to The Library, future generations will continue to benefit from Daniel Friedenberg's discerning eye.