Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sam Gruber's Upcoming Talks & Lectures (Fall 2014)

Burlington, Vermont. Mural of former Chai Adam Synagogue after consolidation and first cleaning. Photo: Ben Resnick 2014
Sam Gruber's Upcoming Talks & Lectures (Fall 2014)

In the next six weeks, beginning Monday, September 29th at the Center for Jewish History in New York, I'll be giving several talks and presentations in different cities on a variety of topics.  Here is a run down.  I hope readers of this blog in New York, Hartford, Pittsburgh and Austin will be able to attend.  In any case, please spread the word.  All events except the Southern Jewish Historical Society keynote are free and open to the public, but some require you to RSVP. I'll have lecture dates for the spring posted soon. 

The Lost Shul Mural: Reclaiming, Restoring and Preserving a Treasure from the Past

September 29, 2014, 6:30 pm
Center for Jewish History, New York, NY

The rediscovered lost mural of the former Chai Adam Synagogue in Burlington, VT reveals a painted window onto a vanished past. Join me as I discuss the art, history and preservation of the mural with Murray Zimiles, painter, curator and authority on Jewish folk art, and Ann-Isabel Friedman, Director, Sacred Sites Program, New York Landmarks Conservancy.

Springfield, Massachusetts.  Temple Beth El.  Percival Goodman, architect. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2012

A Century of Synagogues: Judaism, Americanism and Modernism
October 2, 2014, 4:30 pm
Trinity College, Hartford, CT
(Mather Hall Rittenberg Lounge) 

In the last century, American Jews have built synagogues at a rate never seen in the world before, and in the process they have integrated the synagogue into the American landscape, and Judaism into the American cultural mainstream. American Jews were quick to embrace modernism in the 1940s, and since that time synagogue design has been in the forefront of modern religious architecture. Noted architects and artists – Jewish and not – have taken up the challenge.
This illustrated lecture explores the evolving form and meaning of the American synagogue, especially in the 20th century, as shaped by architects and their congregational patrons. Through synagogue design, I'll trace changes in the organization of the American Jewish community and its relationship to American culture as a whole. The location, size, shape, and stylistic language adopted for synagogue designs throughout the century is a reflection of the changing needs and values of American Jews.

 Venice, Italy. Sotoportego de Ghetto Novo. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2006

The Italian Jewish Ghetto in Context: A Culture of Enclosure and Control
October 17, 2014
Carnegie Mellon Univ, Pittsburgh (Sawyer Seminar lecture) 

For further on attending contact Hikari Aday

The creation of the Venice Ghetto in 1516 was a dramatic development in the distinction between Christians and Jews, following decades of calls by preachers for the removal of Jews from town centers throughout Italy. From the thirteenth century on, many Italian rulers had talked about separating Jews from the population at large, but none until now had carried out the threat. But the Venetian Ghetto was not only about the isolation and control of Jews, but about the separation of Venetians, particularly good Venetians, from any outsider or undesirable group.  While extreme, the Ghetto was part of a range of customs, laws and policies to accentuate differences in class, gender, religion, place of origin and legal status. This paper examines these developments as well as the urban and architectural expressions of separation epitomized in the Jewish Ghetto. 

Brenham, Texas.  B'nai Abraham Synagogue.  photo: Samuel D. Gruber 1988

Saving Synagogues: Different Goals, Different Strategies in Brenham, Brookhaven, Birmingham and Beyond
October 24, 2014
Keynote address, Southern Jewish Historical Society,Austin, Texas

In advance of the planned move of the historic Brenham (Texas) synagogue to the Dell Jewish Campus in Austin, this talk discusses the wide range of preservation options to consider by small congregation across the south, and elsewhere

Austin ,TX. Congregation Agudas Achim, interior.  Lake / Flatow, architects. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014

Arise and Build: American Synagogues & Jewish Identity
October 26, 2014
Congregation Agudas Achim, Dell Jewish Campus, Austin, Texas
10:00 a.m.
For further information

Through synagogue design, I'll traces changes in the organization of the American Jewish community and its relationship to American culture as a whole.  The location, size, shape, and stylistic language adopted for synagogue designs throughout the century is a reflection of the changing needs and values of American Jews.  The architecture of Congregation Agudas Achim, one of my favorite contemporary synagogue spaces, is a great example of modern congregation embracing traditional forms but in a contemporary idiom.

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