By Samuel D. Gruber
It is with deep sadness that I report the death last week of Professor Bezalel Narkiss, Nicholas Landau Professor Emeritus of Art History at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Professor Narkiss – or Tzali to generations of students and colleagues - was one of the world's foremost scholars and teachers of Jewish art, and the founder and former director of the Center for Jewish art at
In 1974 Tzali founded the Index of Jewish Art, modeled after the Index of Christian Art at
attention to documenting architecture, particularly synagogues. The Center, under Tzali's guidance, has produced several generations of scholars of Jewish art, curators of museums and activists in the field of documentation and protection of Jewish heritage. For many years, under Tzali's direction, the Center published The Journal of Jewish Art (Later Jewish Art).
Tzali Narkiss published scores of books and articles in his lifetime. He also served as illustration editor of the Encyclopedia Judaica in the 1960s. Through that important scholarly and popular vehicle, he helped introduce the diversity and richness of Jewish art to tens of thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish users of the Encyclopedia around the world.
Tzali was indefatigable participant in scholarly conferences, including the many important congresses which he helped organize in
On behalf of the ISJM membership, I extend condolences to Tzali Narkiss's family and friends, and to all his associates at The Hebrew University.
For read more about Prof. Narkiss's work, see: http://cja.huji.ac.il/