Beit Hatfutsot) recently commissioned Arik Boas Animation to create a series of snapshots of life in and around European synagogues throughout the centuries.
It is part of its new exhibition - Hallelujah! Assemble, Pray, Study – Synagogues Past and Present. The result is something rather special. We start with the Ashkenazi Synagogue of Venice, in the 16th century. Religious instruction for children takes place inside, alongside a wedding ceremony in the piazza.
It’s time to fast-forward to Amsterdam in the seventeenth century. We witness the city’s Portuguese Synagogue, passing through Torah study in the back room, into a spirited community discussion at the main hall.
Next, this gallery piece shows the Vilnius Great Synagogue Courtyard (Schulhof) in the nineteenth century, with the rabbinical court ending a pillory punishment and a soup kitchen.
Finally we arrive at a cantorial concert taking place in The Great Synagogue (Tlomackie) in the Polish capital Warsaw in the early twentieth century. I don’t know if there are more pieces in this wonderful collection but will add them if and when I discover there are. This last animation is I think my favorite with its fiddler completely off the roof.
Did you spot the time-traveling cat which made an appearance in each of the animations? No? Perhaps you had better check through them again!