Posts Tagged ‘Judaica


Our Radio Show this Evening

This evening at 10:30pm (Eastern Time) on we will broadcast a conversation we pre-taped on Friday morning at Sotheby’s offices in Manhattan. We spoke to Jennifer Roth (Senior Vice President, Sotheby’s New York) and David Wachtel (Consultant on Books and Manuscripts).


David Wachtel

David Wachtel

First we spoke with Mr. Wachtel on the fascinating topic of old and rare Judaica books and scrolls from the Important Judaica exhibit. Jennifer Roth, joined us next as we discussed the paintings, sculpture and DVDs offered in both Important Judaica and Israeli and International Art.

Both auctions will be held this coming Tuesday the 17th of December, at Sotheby’s (1334 York Avenue; NY, NY 10021; Tel:212.606.7000)

Please join us at 10:30pm (Eastern Time) on for fascinating insights into the world of rare Judaica and the place of Israeli and international Jewish artists in the context of modern art movements.

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, please listen in to our conversation with Rabbi Asher Girshberg. Don’t forget to tune us in this evening at 10:30pm (Eastern Time) on We’ll be waiting for ya!



About Tomorrow’s Radio Show…

After a far too long hiatus (due to the final disease and subsequent ptirah of my uncle – Henry Moss, alav haShalom), we are back with a radio show special on motzey Shabbat at 11:30 pm (Eastern Time). We prerecorded it on Wednesday, at Sotheby’s, at the press intro to the exhibit of the Michael and Judy Steinhardt Judaica Collection.

The collection's catalog...

The collection’s catalog…

Detail of a very ornate Shabbat oil lamp, from the 18th Frankfurt Ghetto

Detail of a very ornate Shabbat oil lamp, from the 18th century Frankfurt am/Main ghetto.

We spoke with Jennifer Roth, Sotheby’s Senior Vice President and Department Head of the Judaica Department, John D. Ward, Vice President and Department Head of the Silver Department, Sharon Liberman Mintz and David Wachtel, Senior Judaica Consultants. The exhibit covers a millennium and a half of Jewish Ceremonial Art, from aquamanile to matza tools, from German Shabbat oil lamps to a British decorative silver plate given by the Jewish community to the Lord Mayor of London, to an illuminated medieval edition of MaimonidesMishnah Torah and hundreds more. Each item is unique, some are very rare, all show the extent to which the Jews appreciated art and integrated the artistic fashion of the time into their every day ceremonial needs.

The conversations with the four experts listed above were fascinating, as they opened up a new way to look at our history, at our values, and how the Jews truly fared in the European societies of old. Please listen to this fascinating show at at 11:30 pm (Eastern Time) motzei Shabbat.

Meanwhile, in case you missed, please listen to the archive of our last show with Paula Shoyer.

Don’t forget to listen in tomorrow evening at 11:30 pm (Eastern Time), we’ll be wait’n for ya.



The Michael & Judy Steinhardt Collection at Sotheby’s

You can glean an indication of a people’s essential soul through its art; you can tell an artist’s darkest fears or highest aspirations through his/her artistic creations. From its very beginning, Jewish art has been heavily influenced by its homestead environs, the cultural milieu, and the political and economic times of each era. Regardless of the external influences, however, the unique Jewish en-soulment  lives within every creation like a burning spark in each work. You can view these spiritual sparks in a collection of Judaica currently on partial display at Sotheby’s (1334 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021 – Tel: 212.606.7000). The full collection of 400 lots, collected by Judy and Michael Steinhardt consists of rare Jewish art spanning from antiquity to the 20th century and will be auctioned on April 29th, 2013.

Among the collection’s items one can find The Frankfurt Mishnah Torah, published sometime around 1457 to 1465, it is a beautiful set of eight illuminated manuscripts (another five volumes are in the Vatican). As Sotheby’s press release states, it is by far the most profusely illustrated manuscript of MaimonidesMishna Torah and is expected to command between $4.5 to $6 million. An item that is currently on display is this beautiful North German Bronze Lion Aquamanile, from the 12th century…


One of only four known Aquamanilia (hand washing vessels) with a medieval Hebrew inscription.

One of only four known Aquamanilia (hand washing vessels) bearing a medieval Hebrew inscription.

Other items I was privileged to see are a German psomim bixl, used for havdallah at the end of Shabbos, a very ornate Torah crown…

An Italian Torah crown, circa 1730

An Italian Torah crown, circa 1730

The detailed work and beautiful lettering on the crown, speak eloquently of the artist’s reverence for his subject and mastery of the delicate nuances of his raw material. Also displayed is a Torah breastplate of rare workmanship unequaled today…

Intricately designed, unique in its beauty.

Intricately designed, unique in its beauty.

Other items displayed include 2 Ketubas – like the one below, for example:

The full ketuba above and the actual written contract on the bottom...

The full ketuba above and the actual written contract on the bottom…

An unusual lot also on display is The Rouchomovsky Skeleton: A Russian Gold Articulated Skeleton in a Silver-Gilt Coffin, from Odessa 1892-96 and estimated at $150,000 to $250,000…

Very small, yet incredibly detailed.

Very small, yet exquisitely detailed.

This collection affords more than just a glimpse at the collective Jewish soul, to see it and even more to own a piece of it connects a person to centuries of Jewish hopes, dreams, tears and laughter. The complete collection of 400 lots will be on display at Sotheby’s (1334 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021 – Tel: 212.606.7000) from April 24 trough 28, while the auction itself will take place on the 29th of April.



Judaica at Sotheby’s – Valmadonna Trust Library

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