Mini Course: Gate to the Lord: Symbolic Language of East-European Synagogue Art

 May 18-21, 2015

National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, MA in Jewish Studies Program

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Chais Center for Jewish Studies

in cooperation with the Ukrainian Association for Jewish Studies,

Judaica Ukrainica, and Laurus Press


invite to a mini course


Gate to the Lord: Symbolic Language of East-European Synagogue Art


A unique artistic tradition of rich painted and sculpted decoration flourished in east-European synagogues from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century. The arts constructed and maintained the mental concepts of the synagogue as a gate of heaven open for pious people and their prayer. The visual allegories propagated religious virtues and implied contemplation on God’s providence and human destiny. The images and ornamentation evoked in the congregants a sense of attending the solemn abode of Divine Presence, and envisioning the Holy Land and heavenly Paradise.




Dr. Ilia Rodov is Chair of the Department of Jewish Art at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, principal investigator of research projects in traditional Jewish art in Europe and editor of Ars Judaica journal. He is the author of The Torah Ark in Renaissance Poland: A Jewish Revival of Classical Antiquity (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2013) and many other works on European synagogue art, focusing on the history, patronage, and meanings of synagogue paintings, sculptures, architectural decoration, and furniture design.


Mr. Zvi Orgad is Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Jewish Art in Bar-Ilan University, working on his dissertation Eliezer-Zusman: An Eighteenth-Century Synagogue Painter at Work. He is an author of articles on wall paintings in eighteenth-century synagogues.


The mini course will be held on

Monday May 18, 2015 at 15.00–16.20

Tuesday May 19, 2015 at 16.30–17.50

Wednesday May 20, 2015 at 15.00–16.20

Thursday May 21, 2015 at 15.00–16.20 and 16.30–17.50

at the office of the NaUKMA Jewish Studies programs

(Kyiv, Voloska Street 8/5, building 5, basement)

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