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Historic collection of Jewish artifacts to move to Where The Westside Ends »


UC Berkeley
Thousands of objects and documents from the Judah L. Magnes Museum will be housed
close to campus, more easily accessible.

By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times “You gotta stop it somewhere,” says Times writer
July 3, 2010 Doug Smith. But where? Submit your map.
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A beloved but sometimes forgotten center of Jewish


history in the Bay Area will soon have a new home at
UC Berkeley and, supporters hope, a new audience
of researchers and admirers.

The collection of about 10,000 objects and


documents, housed until recently at the Judah L.
Magnes Museum in Berkeley, tells a broad and
varied history of Jewish faith and life, both on the
West Coast and far afield.

Detail depicting Aaron is from an 18th century


Southern German work that will be displayed in the "There's a kind of poignancy that's in a lot of their The Latest | NEWS AS IT HAPPENS
Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. (Magnes
Collection) collections, and a kind of broader perspective on
what Jewish culture is," said Ron Hendel, chairman Sunday's TV Highlights: 'The General' on TCM -
of UC Berkeley's Jewish studies program. The Show Tracker 07/03/2010, 8:00 p.m.
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Your Answer Equals a Donation. The museum's collection has moved out of its longstanding The Fabulous Forum 07/03/2010, 6:44 p.m.
www.WhatsYourIsh.com/BeingJewish
home in a residential area south of the university campus and World Cup: Joe Biden likes the Netherlands to win
is slated to open in a renovated building adjacent to the it all, or at least he hopes so - The Fabulous Forum
campus in downtown Berkeley. It will be called the Magnes 07/03/2010, 5:41 p.m.

Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the university's Bancroft

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Historic collection of Jewish artifacts to move to UC Berkeley - latimes.com 7/3/10 9:23 PM

Library.

The collection amassed over the years by the museum and its
founder, Seymour Fromer, who died last October, includes an
ornate 17th century Torah ark from Cochin, India, painted in
red, green and gold; a 1938 architectural drawing of a school
from Soviet Jewish architect Lazar Khidekel; and a collection
of some 5,000 postcards detailing Jewish life from the late NEW iPhone
19th century to mid-20th century. app »
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The Magnes also housed the Western Jewish History Archives, the world's largest collection of letters,
diaries and photographs from the Jewish settlement of the West. Those archival materials will merge Sub-
Kindle » E-Edition » News-
into the Bancroft's existing collection. Events » scribe »
letters »

Mark Reisbaum, chief endowment officer of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, said
the history preserved in the collection helps keep the often-secular West Coast Jewish community in Receive news alerts on your
mobile phone.
touch with its cultural roots.
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"As Jews, we always have one foot in our history and one foot in our future," he said.
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"Particularly in California, the majority of Jews don't identify through the religious and spiritual side ENTERTAINMENT - Hollywood news and buzz
but identify rather through cultural identity and history."
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Since the museum's founding in 1962, the history housed there has influenced local culture in SPORTS - Alerts and scores
sometimes unexpected ways. BUSINESS - Market numbers and trends

For instance, old recordings at the museum helped kick off the worldwide klezmer music revival of the Submit

1970s and '80s when Lev Liberman, who became co-founder of the pioneering klezmer revival band
the Klezmorim, went to the Magnes in 1975 in search of 78-rpm recordings of largely forgotten
Eastern European Yiddish instrumental music. He found what he was looking for in a stack of old
records tucked away in a drawer at the museum.

But many others never made the trip to see the collection, which remained secluded in a historic
mansion building, far from public transit and the city's downtown. MOST VIEWED MOST COMMENTED

"It was not on people's radar screens," said Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce of Congregation Emanu-El of For residents near Disneyland, nightly fireworks
San Francisco. shows have lost their spark
A muralist's masterpiece tells the story of the
Economic expediency finally forced a move that many say will bring the collection greater Mexican people
prominence and use.
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Alla Efimova, who was the curator of the Magnes Museum and is now director of the new collection Germany overwhelms Argentina, 4-0, to reach
at UC Berkeley, said that since the 1990s, the museum had been looking for a way to move to the World Cup semifinals
heart of Berkeley and make its collection more accessible. In 1997, the museum bought a downtown Dodgers, Angels knock it out of the park in their
building and began looking for funding to renovate it and move the collection. own ways
After winning a second straight Wimbledon
In 2002, the museum entered into a short-lived merger with the Contemporary Jewish Museum, title, Serena Williams' chief competition is
then the Jewish Museum San Francisco, but the two organizations could not reconcile their missions, history
and the partnership dissolved. Facing popular wrath, France cuts lavish
government spending
After the current recession started, Efimova said, the Magnes board and staff decided that the best
China adds new voice to global lineup of
way to preserve the collection and its scholarly mission was to integrate it with the university.
English-language TV news channels

"Because of the economy, we were forced to make this decision to reexamine the core mission of the Lance Armstrong finishes fourth in Tour de
France time trial
museum and, in a way, it provided us with kind of an elegant solution," she said.
Explosively large surf to hit Southern California
The building that will house the collection will remain under the ownership of the Magnes Museum beaches on the Fourth
Foundation, and its contents are being donated to the university.

Commitments of $2.5 million over five years from philanthropists Warren Hellman, Tad Taube and
the Koret Foundation are expected to pay for transfer of the collection, with donations from other

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-beliefs-collection-20100703,0,5249893.story Page 2 of 4
Historic collection of Jewish artifacts to move to UC Berkeley - latimes.com 7/3/10 9:23 PM

private sources paying for the renovation of the downtown building.

Bancroft Library director Charles Faulhaber said the target date to open the new facility is the fall of
2011. In addition to the art and artifacts, the building will house parts of the university's Jewish
studies program.

The archival materials will become available over the next year, as they are integrated into the
Bancroft collection.

abby.sewell@latimes.com
Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

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