Monday, May 21, 2012

Little Boxes on the Hillside

After returning from Akko (post and pictures forthcoming — there are lots and I have to scale them down individually to make them small enough to post, so it's taking some time) and having a fantastic lunchtime conversation with one of my colleagues from the conference, I had a bit of time to noodle around the campus of Tel Aviv University. I visited the museum there called "Beit ha-Tefutzot," or literally, the House of the Diaspora. It is a small museum dedicated to post-biblical Jewish history.

My favorite part was a room full of dioramas of famous synagogue buildings around the world.

The synagogue now known as Santa Maria la Blanca, Toledo, Spain:

The Dutch synagogue in the Antilles:

And then there were some other dioramas that I snapped photos of because they'll be useful to me in teaching. First, is an illustration of people putting things into the Genizah room in the Ben Ezra synagogue in Cairo:

The next one is a little preposterous, as it imagines the betrothal of the much-mythologized daughter of Samuel the Nagid in Qairawan: 

And the last imagines the moment when Ferdinand and Isabel signed the decree of expulsion against the Jews in 1492:

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