The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wing for Jewish Art and Life presents the religious and secular material culture of Jewish communities worldwide, spanning centuries from the Middle Ages to the present day. Important examples of objects from the public and the private realm, drawn from our extensive collections, are integrated into a multifaceted narrative. This comparative display explores the objects’ history and the social context in which they were used, while underscoring their aesthetic qualities and emotional resonance. It reflects a vivid cultural tapestry weaving together the individual and the communal, the sacred and the mundane, the heritage of the past and the creative innovations of the present.
Five principal themes unfold as you walk through the galleries:
The Rhythm of Life: Birth, Marriage, Death, highlighting the coexistence of joy and sadness, life and death, memory and hope at each of these junctures in the life cycle.
Illuminating the Script, a display from our collection of rare medieval and Renaissance Hebrew manuscripts, shedding light on their history and revealing their artistry.
The Synagogue Route: Holiness and Beauty: Four restored interiors of synagogues from Europe, Asia, and the Americas, along with Torah scroll ornaments, show the unity and diversity of Jewish religious architecture and ritual objects.
The Cycle of the Jewish Year. The sanctity of the Sabbath and the traditional celebration of religious holidays, as well as the new commemoration of special days in the State of Israel, have given rise to a wealth of finely crafted objects and imaginative artworks.
Costume and Jewelry: A Matter of Identity. Environment, custom, and religious law all play their role in creating the rich variety of Jewish dress and jewelry from East and West presented here.
We hope that you enjoy your journey through time and across continents, as you explore the many layers of Jewish culture.
See interactive map of the Wing
See the department curators on the senior staff list.