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Jewish Arts and Culture at Spertus: A Letter from the Provost

Jewish Arts and Culture at Spertus: A Letter from the Provost


At Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, we believe
that arts and culture are essential to Jewish life and learning. Powerful first-hand encounters with original artifacts — as well as live performances and first-person presentations — offer compelling
ways to both understand the Jewish past and address the pressing issues of today.

Through a lineup of intimate changing exhibits (in the first-floor vestibule and select locations throughout our building) we share treasures from our collection, explore the history of Jewish Chicago, and showcase remarkable local Jewish artists working in a wide variety of media. Highlights have included photography by Jay Wolke, tapestries by Berit Engen, and paintings by Yohanan Petrovsky Shtern. A major acquisition by artist Vera Klement was recently on view and this fall contemporary Judaica by award-winning designer Amy Reichert will be on display.

Also coming soon, look for increased online access to our world-class collection through a new web-based interface, currently in development. Self-directed and user-centered, you will be able to follow your own interests as you learn about the history, craftsmanship, function, and provenance of featured objects. 

Spertus Institute StudentsSpertus is honored to steward a great collection of Jewish art, ceremonial objects, and archival materials. The preservation and presentation of these works remain core to our mission. Although large, stand-alone exhibits are less frequently a central offering at Spertus, our collection doesn’t stay in storage. Instead, we weave our holdings into Jewish learning. For example, through the resources in our collection and our relationships with the artistic community, participants in our graduate program in Jewish Professional Studies get up close access to Jewish art and artists. The resulting personal experiences are eye-opening and inspirational for our students, students who will go on to teach in Jewish schools and lead Jewish organizations. 

At Spertus, when we integrate our collections into Jewish learning, we foster innovation, broaden understanding for Jewish artists and Jewish leaders, and advance the vibrancy of the Jewish future. 

Dr. Dean P. Bell




Dr. Dean P. Bell is Spertus Institute Provost,
Vice President, and Professor of History

Monday, August 4, 2014

Dr. Dean P. Bell
Dr. Dean P. Bell
, Spertus Institute
Provost, Vice President,
and Professor of History

Amy Reichert's Seder Plate I

Amy Reichert: Reinventing Judaica
will be shown in our vestibule gallery
October 5, 2014 through March 8, 2015.
View an online gallery of her work >

Israelite cartographers

Spertus Institute's Muriel Yale Collection of Antique Maps of the Holy Land and the Ottoman Empire includes maps from the 15th through 20th centuries.
View an online exhibit to learn more >