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University of California, Berkeley
Pièces de Résistance: Echoes of Judaea Capta
From Ancient Coins to Modern A r t
Case Study No. 9
Pièces de Résistance
Echoes of Judaea Capta
The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life
University of California, Berkeley
Warren Hellman Gallery & Charles Michael Gallery
2121 Allston Way, Berkeley California 94720
Notions of resistance, alongside fears and reality of
August 28–December 14, 2018 & January 29–June 28, 2019 oppression, resound throughout Jewish history. As a
(closed on Winter Break, December 15, 2018–January 28, 2019)
minority, Jews express their political aspirations, ideals of
Galleries open Tuesday–Friday, 11am–4pm
bit.ly/piecesderesistance heroism, and yearnings of retaliation and redemption in
their rituals, art, and everyday life.

Centering on coins in The Magnes Collection, this

Exhibition Team exhibition explores how the Jewish revolts against
Hellenism and the Roman occupation of Palestine
(Judaea Capta) echo from antiquity into the present.
Francesco Spagnolo, Shir Gal Kochavi, Zoe Lewin
Pièces de Résistance highlights a variety of collection
G R A D UAT E C U R AT O R (Judaea Capta coins)
Rebecca Levitan (History of Art) items ranging from ancient coins and their replicas to
ritual objects for Purim and Hanukkah. It also prominently
features art by Marc Chagall, Lazar Krestin, and
Erich Gruen, Gladys Rehard Wood Professor of History and
Classics Emeritus
Arthur Szyk that offers a modern visual representation
of Jewish might in the face of persecution.
Yael Chaver (German and Jewish Studies)

Julie Franklin and Rebecca Hisiger

Ernest Jolly


Lisa Davis

Gordon Chun Design
Casey Knudsen


Major funding for The Magnes comes from the Helzel Family
Foundation, Koret Foundation, Magnes Leadership Circle,
Magnes Museum Foundation, Walter & Elise Haas Fund, and
The Office of the Chancellor at the University of California,

Support for this exhibition was provided by the Koret Foundation.

Research for this project was made possible in part by funds and
resources provided by the Undergraduate Research Apprentice
Program (URAP) and by Digital Humanities at the University of
California, Berkeley.

Coins of the Bible: Era of the 1st and 2nd Jewish Revolt.
Authentic reproduction
Arthur Szyk, Bar Kochba, Paris, France, 1927, watercolor and gouache on paper Composite metal and offset lithograph sheet
Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection, The Magnes, UC Berkeley, 2017.5.1.30 67.100A–H

2 1


Icons of Might

Throughout their diasporic history, Jews often lived as a

disem­powered minority, celebrating the ideal of might
through biblical, cultural, and political narratives. In 1930,
Marc Chagall (1887–1985)—himself widely considered a
“Jewish artistic hero”—began working on new paintings
based on the Hebrew Bible. The resulting series, com­
prising 105 works created primarily between 1931 and
1939 while Europe was falling prey to fascism, highlighted
mighty biblical figures such as Moses, King David, and
Elijah. The three works presented here depict Joshua,
the military leader in the Israelite conquest of the Land
of Canaan, illustrating events described in the Book of
Joshua, the sixth book of the Hebrew Bible.

Marc Chagall (1887–1985, Russia, Soviet Belarus, France)

Gift of Benjamin J. Baum

1. Josué se prosterne devant l’ange porteur d’épée, chef

Josué devant Jericho, No. 2 des armées de l’Eternel
France, 1956 (after Bible series, No. 45, 1935–1939)
Hand-colored etching on paper, edition 53/100

Joshua prostrates himself before the sword bearing

angel, captain of the Lord’s host (Joshua 5:13–15).

2. Josué devant Jericho

France, 1958 (after Bible series, No. 46, 1935–1939)
Hand-colored etching on paper, edition 53/100

Under the walls of Jericho, Joshua hears God’s command

to sound the trumpets around the city (Joshua 6:1–5).

3. Josué arrête le soleil

France, 1956 (after Bible series, No. 48, 1935–1939)
Hand-colored etching on paper, edition 53/100

Near Gibeon, Joshua commands the sun to stand still so

that the Israelite army could finish avenging themselves
of their enemies (Joshua 10:10–14).

Josué arrête le soleil, No. 3

2 3

Reckless Rites

The Jewish calendar includes festivals in which violence

against non-Jewish oppressors is ritually celebrated.
The objects displayed here focus on a few examples.

The demise of Pharaoh’s army, described in Exodus 15,

is incor­po­rated in daily liturgy. Simi­larly, the ten plagues
of Egypt are emphatically recited as part of the Passover
haggadah. Psalm 137, read in the synagogue at various
times throughout the Jewish year, is well known for its
incipit, “By the rivers of Babylon,” as well as the admo­
nition to not forget Jerusalem. Written about Jewish
captivity in Babylon (598–538 BCE), the concluding
verses describe the retribution awaiting the captors:
“Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little
ones against the rock” (v. 9). The Scroll of Esther, read on
Purim, also celebrates the deadly revenge taken against
the “wicked” Haman, his co-conspirators, and his entire
family. In recent decades, Purim has also become a time
to acknowledge the rebellious Queen Vashti, who, accord­
ing to early rabbinic sources, was executed by Ahasuerus
at the beginning of the story. And Judith’s courage in
slaying Nebuchadnezzar II’s army general, Holofernes, is
remembered in a Hebrew poem read during the festival
of Hanukkah, when the victory of the Maccabees over the
Greeks and the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem
(165 BCE) are also celebrated.

Rituals celebrating violence and revenge are referred to

here as “reckless rites,” in homage to the work of the late
Elliott Horowitz (1953–2017), an historian of Jews in the Vashti, No. 1
early-modern period.
4. Images from the Book of Esther
1. Issachar Ryback (1897–1935, Ukraine, Soviet Union,
Lithuania, Germany, and France)
Engraving on paper
Anonymous gift, LIB 88.1.6
Moscow, Soviet Union, 1920–1921
Gouache, conte crayon on ivory wove paper
Gift of Dr. Elliot Zaleznik, 83.48.2 5. Smith
Judith Chap. XIII Holofernes slain by Judith
Engraving from Laurence Clarke, A Compleat History of the
2. The Ceremonies of the Feast of Lots (Esther Chap. IX)
Holy Bible
1764 London, England, 1703
Engraving on laid paper Engraving on laid paper
Gift of Seymour Fromer, 76.44 Anonymous gift, LIB 77.6.3

3. Ori Sherman (1934–1988, Israel and United States) 6. Abraham Krol (1919–2001, Poland and France)
The Story of Hannukah haggadah shel pesach, Plate XXII: va-yolekh adonai
San Francisco, United States, 1985 et ha-yam (Passover Haggadah, after Exodus 14:21:
Gouache and metal leaf on paper “and the Lord drove back the sea”)
Gift of Robert Friend, 2011.2
Paris, France, n.d. [after 1957]
Etching on paper, edition 3/99
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Bernard Horn,
4 5
1. Souvenir tray decorated with biblical texts, including
Psalm 137
Damascus, Syria, circa 1925
Brass with silver and copper overlay, with silver niello
Gift of Mrs. Mary Schussheim, 85.35.47

2. Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts

Souvenir wooden desk set including a visual reference
to Psalm 137
Jerusalem, Palestine, circa 1925
Olive wood, leather, blotter paper, metal
Gift of Mrs. Mary Schussheim, 85.35.1b,e,f

3. Hanukkah lamp fragment depicting Judith brandishing

a sword and holding Holofernes’ severed head
Western Europe, 18th century
Brass, pigment on laid paper, glass
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss


is blessed among women:
a valiant woman without cowardice” (after Judges 4:4
and 5:24).
Souvenir tray, No. 1
4. The Central Committee of She’arit Hapletah
Hanukkah lamp honoring the American Jewish Joint
Distribution Committee, in the shape of a broken tree
sprouting a new sapling
Displaced Persons Camp, Foehrenwald, Bavaria, Germany,
circa 1947–1948
Glazed stoneware
Gift of Rabbi William Z. Dallin, 79.70.1

Made by displaced persons in a vocational workshop for

Holocaust survivors supported by the American Jewish
Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the Jewish Agency,
and the Central Committee of Bavarian Jewry at
Foehrenwald (southwest of Munich). The truncated tree
and a sprouting leaf refer to Holocaust survivors (then
termed she’arit hapletah, or “the surviving remnant,”
after Ezra 9:14 and I Chronicles 4:43), and to the
Eastern European survivors organization, the “Central
Committee of She’arit Hapleta,” which operated in the
Displaced Persons camps established in Germany from
1945 until December 1950.

5. The Central Committee of She’arit Hapletah

Ashtray inscribed with the Hebrew expression, lamrot
hakol yisrael chai (“In spite of it all, [the nation of]
Israel lives”)
Displaced Persons Camp, Foehrenwald, Bavaria, Germany,
circa 1947–1948
Glazed stoneware
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Vida, 91.15.5
Ashtray, No. 5

6. Purim noisemaker
Germany, 19th century
Wood, metal
Gift of Michael Laufer, 78.37

6 7
7. Purim noisemaker inscribed in Hebrew, arur haman
asher biqesh le-abdi (Cursed be Haman who asked to
destroy me)
Europe, 19th century
Ivory, silver
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, 76.270

8. Illustrated Esther scroll featuring the execution of

Haman’s children
Italy or The Netherlands, 17th century
Ink on parchment, wood staves
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss

9. Yehoash (Solomon) Bloomgarden (1872–1927) and Untitled. [Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam] (part), Paris, France, 1923, watercolor,
graphite, and gouache on paper, Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection,
Evlin Yehoash (1905–1973) The Magnes, UC Berkeley, 2017.5.1.17
megiles ester (Esther Scroll)
New York, United States, 1936
Ink on paper
Gift of Elsinore Culture Club, 76.53 CASE C

In the Eyes of Arthur Szyk:

Jewish Heroism

Arthur Szyk (1894–1951) was a Polish-Jewish artist whose

life was framed by the two world wars. His colorful
miniatures provide a meticulous modern commentary on
biblical and historical themes. While his early works were
created in a Medieval style, his best-known images were
caricatures formed as a response to political events taking
place during and immediately after World War II.

While Szyk was living and working in Paris in the 1920s,

he depicted biblical characters and ancient events. Later
works, created during the Second World War, showed
Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising (1945),
referencing Jewish might and resilience against the threat
of annihilation.

Notions of heroism in Judaism are often linked to biblical

and ancient events in which Jews acted courageously and
were willing to per­form acts of self-sacrifice. The Hebrew
word for heroism, gevurah, is derived from gavar, mean­
ing “to gain power” or “man,” thus attributing masculine
qualities to acts of bravery. These qualities were deployed
by Szyk in the portrayal of monumental figures in Jewish
history. In representing Jewish kings and leaders such
as Moses, King David, and Bar Kokhba, and brave indi­
viduals like Samson and the ghetto fighters, he made
use of masculinity to emphasize aspects of courage and

Sections of Esther scroll, No. 8

8 9
Arthur Szyk (1894–1951, Poland, France, UK, Canada, and
United States)
Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection, The Magnes Collection
of Jewish Art and Life, University of California, Berkeley

1. La Reine de Saba devant Salomon (The Queen of Sheba

before Solomon)
Paris, France, 1927
Watercolor and gouache on paper

2. Sulamith
Paris, France, 1925
Watercolor, graphite, and gouache on paper

3. David and Saul

Łódź, Poland, 1921
Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper

4. Untitled. [Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam]

Paris, France, 1923
Watercolor, graphite, and gouache on paper

This triptych, which depicts a sequence of anti-Jewish

violent acts throughout history (the destruction of the
Jerusalem Temple, the Spanish Inquisition, and pogroms
in Eastern Europe), is ironically titled after the motto of
the Societas Iesu (the Catholic Jesuit order): “for God’s
greater glory [and the salvation of humanity].”

5. The Haggadah
London, England, 1940
Ink on paper, leather and board bound

Szyk illustrated the Passover Haggadah while living in Sulamith, No. 2

Poland between 1934–1936. His controversial references
to contemporary Nazi policies and the comparison
between Nazi Germany and ancient Egypt made it diffi­
cult for local publishing houses to produce it. In 1937, 8. Studies for Le Livre d’Esther (The Book of Esther)
a London publishing house took on the project. The Paris, France, 1924
publication was edited by Cecil Roth and dedicated to Watercolor, ink, and graphite on paper
King George VI of England. 2017.5.1.22a–e

6. Untitled. [Moses the Prophet] 9. My People. Samson in the Ghetto (The Battle of the
Warsaw Ghetto)
Łódź, Poland, 1918
Ink and graphite on paper New York, United States, 1945
2017.5.1.10 Watercolor, gouache, graphite, and ink on board

7. Bar Kochba
10. The Repulsed Attack (from The Songs of the Ghetto)
Paris, France, 1927
Watercolor, colored pencil, and gouache on paper New York, United States, 1943
2017.5.1.30 Ink and graphite on board

10 11

Digging into the Past

The Israeli victory in the Six Day War (1967) and the ensu­
ing administration of Jerusalem under a single authority
allowed for a slew of archaeological discoveries in the
area surrounding the city. Grandiose archaeological
projects, rooted in a national narrative that had evolved
since the beginning of the twentieth century, developed
in the following decade. Contemporary Israeli posters
convey this moment in time and the interconnectedness
of politics, public relations, and archaeology. The posters
show ordinary people inviting viewers to participate in the
excavations. Archaeology in Jerusalem was celebrated
by the Israeli government with a series of new stamps,
cementing the findings with national identity and conflat­
ing the new State of Israel with the ancient Land of Israel.

1. Moshe Pereg
Finds from the Archaeological Excavations Near the
Finds from the Archaeological Excavations, No. 1
Temple Mount
Israel, Israeli Government Advertising Bureau, circa 1970
Offset lithograph

2. Israel: Dig into the Past

Israel, circa 1970
Offset lithograph

3. Luchot: Grafor (Tel Aviv)

bule arkheologiyah bi-yerushalayim, Archaeology in
Jerusalem, Israel, Merkaz printing, 1976
Offset lithograph

Archaeology in Jerusalem, No. 3

12 13
Persian and Hellenistic Period
1000–200 BCE
Two Sides of a Coin: Conquest and
Resistance in Ancient Judea 587 BCE: Conquest of Jerusalem by Babylonians

538 BCE: Persians conquer Babylon, allowing Jews to

return to Jerusalem

332 BCE: Alexander the Great conquers Persia, takes

Ancient coins often look just like the coins we carry in
our own pockets: they are small, portray notable lead­
ers, include the date in which they were minted, and 301 BCE: Ptolemaic Kings, based in Egypt, establish
are made from metals with an inherent worth. These control
features, little changed for nearly three millennia, make
201 BCE: Seleucid Kingdom takeover
coins some of the most valuable resources for historians
and archaeologists studying the ancient world. Through Over the course of the first millennium BCE, the region
their iconography, coins provide valuable information
changed hands between many cultures and kingdoms,
about ancient governments, languages, and religions.
including the famous Kingdom of Israel, ruled by the
Then as now, the limited surface area of coins allowed the
Davidic Kings known from the Bible, as well as Assyrian,
designer to include only images that conveyed particular,
and often highly symbolic, meanings. Babylonian, and Persian rulers. In 332 BCE, after nearly
two hundred years of Persian control, the Macedonian
Coins were used by people from all levels of society, and King Alexander conquered Jerusalem, ushering in the
the messages and images they carried reached a broad Greek-influenced “Hellenistic Age.” Following his death
audience. Widely circulated and often traveling thou­ (323 BCE), the families of two of Alexander’s successors—
sands of miles at a faster rate than most forms of ancient the Ptolemies and the Seleucids—fought for control of
communication, coins were an important source of news.
the region.
Today, they also offer invaluable information about
chronology, telling us where and when rulers were in
power, and, when excavated with other artifacts, helping Coin 1.
to date archaeological sites. Hemidrachm of Ptolemy IV
Alexandria, Egypt, circa 221–205 BCE
The ancient area of Judea and its surroundings have a Bronze
special rela­­tionship with coinage. For hundreds of years, 2018.0.1.1
foreign rulers—from the Persians in the 6th century BCE
Coin 2.
to the Byzantines in 4th century CE—reinforced their con­
trol over the region. They con­­tin­u­ously adjusted its name Tetrobol of Ptolemy IV
Alexandria, Egypt, circa 221–205 BCE
and borders, and administered the use of their coinage as
a quotidian reminder of their power. Gift of Dr. Sylvan Gross, 80.57.41

Jews resisted imperial hegemony on multiple occasions

and minted coins of their own as a means of subverting
outsider control. Using their own iconography (absent of
ruler portraits), Jews asserted their tenuous but enduring
presence in the region. When images on coins from this
period are compared, they provide two sides of the same
story, of control and resistance in ancient Judea.

Hemidrachm of Ptolemy IV, Coin 1

14 15
Object 1: Hasmonean Period Client Kings
Maccabees Chap. XIII Simon builds a sepulchre for his
kindred 63 BCE–66 CE
London, England, 1703
Wood engraving on laid paper 65 BCE: Jerusalem invaded by the army of the Roman
LIB77.6.1 Republic, led by General Pompey

37 BCE: Herod is installed as king by Marc Antony,

making Judea a client kingdom to Rome
The Hasmonean Kings and a
41 CE: Herod Agrippa, the grandson of Herod, is named
Multicultural Mediterranean “King of the Jews” by the Emperor Claudius

200–63 BCE The Hasmonean Kingdom was invaded by the Roman

Republic and ruled by Herod, a native Jewish ruler sym­­­
175 BCE: Death of Jewish High Priest Simon II creates a
pa­­thetic to Rome. Herod’s descendants, known as the
schism about Hellenization
“Herodian Dynasty,” continued to serve as “Client Kings”
167 BCE: Maccabean Revolt in Judea. Although they were granted some ­­inde­pen­
dence, the region remained under Roman control.
139 BCE: Jewish State recognized by Rome

110 BCE: Hasmonean rulers achieve full independence from Coin 6.

Prutah of Coponius or Marcus Ambivulus, Second
After changing hands seven times, the region fell under Prefect of Judea and Samaria
Jerusalem, Roman Province of Judea, 6 CE–12 CE
the control of the Seleucid Kingdom, which encouraged Bronze
the practice of Greek customs, sometimes called 2018.0.1.3
­“Hellen­i­zation.” In 167 BCE, a group of Jews called the
Coin 7.
Maccabees, who opposed the adoption of a Greek life­
style, led a successful revolt against the Seleucids and Prutah of Herod Agrippa
Jerusalem, Roman Province of Judea, 42–43 CE
were able to create a semi-autonomous kingdom. While
these conflicts took place, trade and movement around 2018.0.1.4
the Mediterranean flourished, as evidenced by coins from
locations like Praisos, a Minoan city in Crete, and Arados, Coins 8.
a Phoenician island to the north, which were excavated Prutah of Herod Agrippa or Agrippa I (ten copies)
Jerusalem, Roman Province of Judea, 42–43 CE
in Israel.
Coin 3.
Praisos, Crete, 148 BCE
Gift of Dr. Sylvan Gross, 80.57.42

Coin 4.
Phoenician Coin
Arados, Phoenicia, 135–112 BCE
Gift of Dr. Sylvan Gross, 80.57.43

Coin 5.
Prutah of Judah Aristobulus
Jerusalem, Hasmonean Kingdom of Judea, 104–103 BCE

Prutah of Herod Agrippa, Coin 7

16 17
The First Jewish-Roman War
66–73 CE

66 CE: Violence between Greeks and Jews erupts at

Caesarea. As retribution, Romans seize funds
from the Temple treasury, in the amount of
17 talents

67 CE: Emperor Nero appoints General Vespasian

and his son Titus to crush the Jewish rebellion.
Vespasian deploys the military operation,
“Conquest of Galilee,” setting up headquarters
at Caesarea Maritima

68 CE: Jews mint their own coinage

69–70 CE: Vespasian becomes Emperor; Roman siege of


73 CE: Romans break final Jewish stronghold at Masada

desert fortress

While Herodian “Client Kings” were complacent with the

Roman control over Judea, the relationship between Jews
living in the province and the Roman military authorities
The Holy Land. Jerusalem, became increasingly strained. As tensions rose, violence
Object 2 between the two groups erupted in 66 CE, growing
into what is now known as the “First Jewish Revolt.”
The revolt lasted until 73 CE and was eventually crushed
by the Roman General Vespasian after brutal sieges of
Jerusalem. During this period, Jews created their own
currency in order to subvert Roman economic control.

Coin 9.
Prutah from First Jewish Revolt
Jerusalem, Roman Province of Judea, 68 CE

Coin 10.
Jerusalem, Roman Province of Judea, 68 CE
Object 2. First Jewish-Roman War
The Holy Land. Jerusalem. Views and Pressed Wild
Flowers of the Holy Land Coin 11.
Jerusalem, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, T. Habesch—
Prutah with inscription, “Deliverance of Zion”
The Commercial Press, between 1948–1967
Jerusalem, Roman Province of Judea, 67–98 CE (reproduction)
Plant matter, ink on paper, olive wood covers, silk cord binding
Gift of Seymour and Rebecca Fromer, 99.11.1
Object 3. First Jewish-Roman War
Spice container depicting a landscape, with pyramid
and palm trees
North Africa, circa 20th century
Silver with niello
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, 79.47.2

18 19
Object 4. Judaea Capta
Lawson of Halifax
Siege of Jerusalem
Wood engraving on laid paper
LIB 77.6.2

Coins of the Bible, Coins 13

Collecting Jewish Coins

Copies of Coins from Circa 70 to 132 CE

For modern collectors, coins minted during the Jewish-

Roman Wars are highly desirable as they provide a
window into the ancient conflict, highlighting both
Jewish and Roman perspectives. Jewish collectors and
institutions view these artifacts as particularly significant
in celebrating ideals of might and heroism. This has
Siege of Jerusalem, Object 4 spurred the production of copies and facsimiles—like
Judaea Capta those collected by The Magnes and displayed here.
73–132 CE
Coins 13.
70 CE: Siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the Second Coins of the Bible: Era of the 1st and 2nd Jewish Revolt.
Temple Authentic reproduction
71 CE: Vespasian mints Judaea Capta coins in Rome Composite metal and offset lithograph sheet
96 CE: Minting of Judaea Capta coins ends after the
reign of Emperor Domitian

Titus responded to the Jewish siege of Jerusalem by

destroying the Second Temple and imposing a tax on all
Jews in the Empire. Vespasian, along with his sons Titus
and Domitian, minted a series of commemorative coins
with the inscription Judaea Capta (Captive Judea) as a way
to circulate the news of the failed revolt across the Empire.
These coins depict a female personification of Judea, or
Jerusalem, mourning below a palm tree. Palm trees, along
with vines, pomegranates, and cornucopias—featured on
these coins, following Deuteronomy 8:8—have remained
prominent in Jewish vernacular visual culture.

Coin 12.
Sestertius of Vespasian showing Judaea Capta
Rome, 71 CE (reproduction)
Composite metal Cups for the circumcision ceremony, Object 6

20 21
The Bar Kokhba Revolt
132–136 CE

132 CE: Hadrian begins building a Roman city on site of


136 CE: Jewish resistance crushed by Roman army

Despite their defeat, Jews continued to oppose Roman

rule. With Emperor Hadrian’s decision to build a Roman
colony on top the sacked city of Jerusalem and ongoing
Roman oppression of Jewish practices, tensions reached
a boiling point. Shimon Bar Kokhba led Jewish rebels in
a three-year campaign, creating an independent state
which issued its own coinage. The rebellion was crushed
with disastrous results: the province of Judea was incor­
porated into Syria Palaestina, Jews were banned from
Jerusalem and the city was renamed Aelia Capitolina,
and some ancient writers estimated that about 600,000
were killed.

Object 5. Judaea Capta

Spice container in the shape of a pomegranate
Israel, 20th century
Sterling silver
Peachy and Mark Levy Family Judaica Collection, 2015.6.68 Bar Kochba, Object 7

Object 6. Judaea Capta

Cups for the circumcision ceremony, decorated with The Roman Empire Expands
vine motifs, and inscribed in Hebrew kos berakhah
(“blessing cup”) 136–270 CE
France, 18th century
Silver repoussé 235 CE: Assassination of Severus Alexander
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, Siegfried S. Strauss
collection, a–b The Roman Empire reached its height in the second
century CE, with borders spreading from Britannia to
Coin 14.
Babylonia (modern day England to Iraq). As the Empire
Silver denarius or ‘zuz’ of 2nd Jewish revolt
expanded, it struggled to maintain control over its
132–135 CE (reproduction)
Composite metal terri­tories, succumb­ing to diseases, invasions, and civil
2018.0.1.8 wars. The assassination of Emperor Severus Alexander
in 235 CE lead to a fifty-year period of instability.
Coin 15.
During this time, Jewish slaves and refugees dispersed
Silver denarius or ‘zuz’ of 2nd Jewish revolt throughout the Roman Empire.
132–135 CE (reproduction)
Composite metal
2018.0.1.9 Coin 16.
Septimius Severus
Object 7. Bar Kokhba
Corcyra, Roman Province of Macedonia, 192–211 CE
Abraham Goldfaden (1840–1908, Russia, Romania, Bronze
United States) 2018.0.1.10
Bar Kochba
Brooklyn, United States, The Hebrew Publishing Co., 1897 Coin 17.
Cover: off-set lithography, score: rotary press printed Trajan Decius
MSMC 28 Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem), Syria Palaestina, 249–251 CE

22 23
The Last of the Pagan Emperors Byzantine and Muslim Judea
270–330 CE 330–1100 CE

235 CE: Imperial Crisis begins 330 CE: Capital of Roman Empire moved to Byzantium,
renamed Constantinople
303 CE: Diocletianic persecution of Christians begins
614 CE: Persians forces, assisted by Jewish rebels from
324 CE: Christianity becomes the dominant religion of mountain cities of Galilee and other areas, first
the Roman Empire take Caesarea Maritima, then Jerusalem
Emperor Aurelian succeeded in reuniting and stabilizing 634 CE: Muslim invasion of Jerusalem led by Omar ibn
the Empire. He was followed by Diocletian, who issued Khattab solidifies Arab control of area
sweeping reforms and reorganized the administration of
1099 CE: Christian crusaders conquer Jerusalem
the provinces. Diocletian actively persecuted Chris­tians
in a long and bloody campaign. Nevertheless, Christianity The Roman Empire was divided into East and West in
became the Empire’s preferred religion under Constantine. 285 CE, and under Constantine in 330 CE the capital
was moved to Byzantium (modern day Istanbul). The
Coin 18. Byzantine emperors who ruled the eastern part of the
Antoninianus Empire maintained control of Judea, persecuting Jews
Cyzicus, Mysia, 276–282 CE and crushing any attempts at uprising or rebellion. How­
Silvered bronze ever, in 614 CE, the Sasanian Persian Empire success­fully
Gift of Julian Stanford, 79.13.1
invaded Jerusalem, assisted by as many as 20,000 Jewish
Coin 19. rebel soldiers hoping to regain political and religious
Diocletian freedom. Persian rule did not last long—it was overturned
Roman Provincial Mint [possibly Cyzicus], 284–305 CE when an Arab invasion conquered the city in 634 CE.
Coin 20.
Bronze Follis, Justinian
Roman Provincial Mint [possibly Constantinople or Cyzicus],
527–565 CE

Coins 21.
Byzantine coins

Diocletian, Coin 19

Byzantine coin, Coin 21

24 25
CHARLES MICHAEL GALLERY 1. Tsentrizdat. Publishing House for the Central Committee
of the People’s Commissariat of Education with the
Central Council of National Minorities of the Russian
Politics of Jewish Resistance: Federation
di alte shul . . . di rotn shul [The Old School . . . The Red
Eastern Europe, ca. 1905–1930 School]
Yiddish and Russian
Moscow, Soviet Union, 1920–1921
Pogrom is a Russian word that describes concentrated Off-set lithograph on paper
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, 75.203
outbreaks of violence against minority groups. It is
commonly used in relation to anti-Jewish attacks that
occurred from 1881 in the Russian Empire, reaching a 2. Lazar Krestin (1868–1938, Lithuania, Germany, Austria,
crescendo of violence in the 1903 “Kishinev Pogrom,” USSR, and Palestine)
and continuing across the region until after the end [Birth of] Jewish Resistance
of the First World War. These events, portrayed in the Vienna, Austria, 1905
international and Jewish press, were immortalized by Oil on canvas
Gift of Alan Sternberg, 84.55
poets, playwrights, and artists worldwide.
Lazar Krestin studied art in Vilnius and Vienna. Among
According to Steven Zipperstein, the meticulous
his teachers was the Austro-Hungarian Jewish painter
documentation of the Kishinev riots would later “inspire
Isidor Kaufman (1853–1921). Jewish Resistance (or Birth
a veritable thicket of myths extending well beyond the
of Jewish Resistance, as the title of the work has also
confines of Jewish communal life, its impact—surprisingly been recorded), was painted in 1905 as a reaction to
enough—felt on endeavors as varied as the prestate the wave of anti-Jewish riots that took place in Eastern
Haganah, or nascent Israeli army, the NAACP, and The Europe following the Kishinev Pogrom in 1903. It stands
Protocols of the Elders of Zion […], the most widely cited out in Krestin’s oeuvre, which is comprised primarily of
antisemitic tract in the world” (Pogrom: Kishinev and portraits and genre scenes of Eastern European Jewish
the Tilt of History, 2018). Pogroms also gave rise to new life. Its two-layered composition conveys a complex
political movements among East European Jews, including narrative, juxtaposing old and young characters. While
socialism, proto-Zionism, and the embrace of the ideals of the young figures in the front are depicted in modern
garb and holding weapons, the men rendered in the
the Soviet revolution.
background represent a passive group of bystanders
from a bygone era. The painter’s use of facial hair
represents the contrast further: the young men in front
of the crowd are clean-shaven, while the older men
cowering in the back have long beards symbolizing
adherence to tradition. Krestin forefronts the Jewish
“new garde,” youthful, modern, politically conscious,
and eager to fight, leaving the past, quite literally, to
disappear behind them.

3. A Soviet Jewish Anti-Passover Campaign

Gezkult (a compound of the Yiddish words,
gezelshaftlekh and kultur), a “Society Promoting the
Development of Jewish Culture,” was an independent
Jewish communist organization. It was founded in
Kiev, Ukraine in 1926 and remained active until the
early 1930s, operating mainly in Yiddish. The materials
displayed here refer to an “anti-Passover” campaign
mounted by the organization in Odessa. The leaflets
produced were printed according to the Soviet spelling
of Yiddish.

The Old School . . . The Red School, No. 1

26 27
3.1 Gezkult (Odessa Section)
di matseh kampanye / dos is a khutspedike spekulyatsye
. . . (The matzah campaign / This is a shameless
speculation . . .)
Yiddish and Russian
Odessa, Soviet Union, Poligraf, n.d. [ca. 1930]
Ink on newsprint paper
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, 75.319a

di matseh kampanye, No. 3.1

3.2 Gezkult (Odessa Section)
pyonern un shiler—in marsh far sovetisher kultur!
(Pioneer and scholars—March for Soviet culture!)
Yiddish and Russian
Odessa, Soviet Union, Poligraf, n.d. [ca. 1930]
Ink on newsprint paper
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, 75.319b

3.3 Gezkult (Odessa Section)

peysekh iz nit undser yontef! (Passover is not our
holiday!) peysekh iz nit undser yontef!, No. 3.3

Yiddish and Russian

Odessa, Soviet Union, Poligraf, n.d. [ca. 1930]
Ink on newsprint paper
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, 75.319c

3.4 Gezkult (Odessa Section)

mir darfn nit keyn matse! (We do not have to have
Yiddish and Russian
Odessa, Soviet Union, Poligraf, n.d. [ca. 1930]
Ink on newsprint paper mir darfn nit keyn matse!, No. 3.4
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, 75.319d

3.5 Gezkult (Odessa Section)

yeder arbeter, yeder harepashnik / darf zikh anshlisn
on dem marsh— / far sotsialistisher kultur (Every single
worker must join the march for socialist culture)
Yiddish and Russian
Odessa, Soviet Union, Poligraf, n.d. [ca. 1930]
Ink on newsprint paper
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, 75.319e

yeder arbeter, yeder harepashnik, No. 3.5

3.6 Gezkult (Odessa Section)
kegen relygyozn sam—far sovetysher kultur (Against
religious drug [opiate of the masses] —For Soviet
Yiddish and Russian
Odessa, Soviet Union, Poligraf, n.d. [ca. 1930]
Ink on newsprint paper
Judah L. Magnes Museum purchase, 75.319f

kegen relygyozn sam, No. 3.6

28 29
Soviet Yiddish

Upon its inception in 1918, the USSR strove to create a

new, secular culture for a “new” kind of Jew, who would
espouse the communist ideals and way of life. Language
played a central role in Soviet cultural politics: it was
mainly language that defined a nation. Ethnic minorities
were encouraged to continue using their own languages
in education, publications, and other aspects of culture.
The ­lan­guage of most Soviet Jews was Yiddish. Echoing
the ideology that considered Communism and religion
totally incompatible, the Soviet preference for Yiddish
incorporated the populist connections of the language,
as opposed to Hebrew, which was considered the elitist
language of rabbinical discourse.
das revolutsyonere rusland, No. 4
Following the 1917 revolution, Jewish cultural activ­
ists established government-backed Yiddish-language
schools, newspapers, and theaters, as well as writing 4. A. Litvak, Y. B. Salutsky
groups, publishing houses, and other venues for Yiddish das revolutsyonere rusland (Revolutionary Russia)
culture and helped shape official policy towards the
large Jewish population of the USSR. Yiddish became a New York, United States, Pinski-Massel Press and The Jewish
basic component of the new Communist education. The Socialist Federation of America, 1917
language needed to be decoupled from its historic rela­ Ink on wood pulp paper; linen and cardboard hard bound
tionship with Hebrew yet keep its defining orthographic LIB 89.21
character, namely, Hebrew script. Accordingly, the special
status of Hebrew root words was eliminated (those words 5. komunystysh vort (The Communist Word)
were instead written phonetically), and the five final Yiddish
letters in the Yiddish alphabet, adopted from Hebrew Kiev, Ukraine, Organ of the rekhtev-egykn Bureau and the Kiev
usage, were replaced by regular Hebrew letters. Municipal Committee of the Jewish Communist Party (Po’alei
Zion), 1920
In the 1930s, Soviet Jews were granted the territory of Ink on newsprint paper
Birobidzhan, close to the border with China, as a Jewish Simon Belkin papers and photographs, Gift of the
Belkin Family, 2009.0.78 No. 33
autonomous region, with Yiddish as an official language.
Yet Yiddish culture in the Soviet Union was dwindling and
later brutally repressed during 1948–1953. In August 1952 6. evreiskaia proletarskaia mysl ʹ (Jewish Proletarian
the major Yiddish cultural figures were executed (“The Thought)
Night of the Murdered Poets”). The demise of the jour­ Russian
nal Sovietish Heymland in 1991 spelled the end of Soviet Kiev, Ukraine, Organ of the Central Committee of the Jewish
Social Democratic Party (Po’alei Zion), 1920
Yiddish culture.
Ink on newsprint paper
~Yael Chaver, Ph.D., German and Jewish Studies, UC Berkeley Simon Belkin papers and photographs, Gift of the
Belkin Family, 2009.0.78 No. 34

7. arbayter-vort. arbajterwort (The Worker’s Word)

Krakow, Poland, Organ of the Independent Jewish Social
Democratic Workers’ Party Po’alei Zion in Poland, 1921
Ink on newsprint paper
Simon Belkin papers and photographs, Gift of the
Belkin Family, 2009.0.78 No. 35

30 31
12. yidishn folks-bank (Jewish People’s Bank)
yeder yid dorf vern a mitglid yidishn folks-bank
(Every Jew Must Become a Member of the Jewish
People’s Bank)
Kaunas, Lithuania, Bock and Mankes, circa 1925
Ink on newsprint paper

13. yevreyskaya sotzial-domkraticheskaya rabochaya partiya

(Poaley-Tsion) (Jewish Social-Democratic Worker’s Party
noveye dekret VTsIK’a. ke yevreyskim rabochim i
rabotnitsam (New Decree of the ARCEC [All Russian
Central Executive Committee] to Jewish Workmen and
Work Women)
Moscow, Soviet Union, 1921
Ink on newsprint paper, wax crayon
Simon Belkin papers and photographs, Gift of the
evreskie pogromy 1918–1921, No. 9
Belkin Family, 2009.0.78 No. 39

8. unzer bevegung (Our Movement) 14. Shakne Epshtein

Yiddish lenin: ilustrirt zamlbukh (Lenin: Illustrated Collection)
Berlin, Germany, News from the Jewish Social-democratic
Workers’ Organization Po’alei Zion in Germany, 1921
New York, United States, Freiheit and The Jewish Daily
Ink on newsprint paper
Freiheit, 1925
Simon Belkin papers and photographs, Gift of the
Ink on wood pulp paper; linen and cardboard hardbound
Belkin Family, 2009.0.78 No. 36
Magnes Yiddish Book collection

9. Z. (Zalman Solomonovich) Ostrovskiĭ

evreskie pogromy 1918–1921 (Jewish Massacres 1918–
Moscow, Soviet Union, Jewish Relief Committee for Pogrom
Victims, 1926
Lithograph on paper, and ink on paper, softbound with metal
Simon Belkin papers and photographs, Gift of the
Belkin family, 2009.0.78 No. 30a

10. jüdische arbeiterstimme (Jewish Worker’s Voice)

Berlin, Germany, Organ of the Jewish Social-democratic
Workers’ Organization Po’alei Zion in Germany, 1921
Ink on newsprint paper
Simon Belkin papers and photographs, Gift of the Belkin
Family, 2009.0.78 No. 37

11. yedies fun tsentral-buro fun di yidishe sektsye bayym

tsentral-komitet fun der ruslender (News from the
Central Bureau of the Jewish Section of the Central
Committee of the Russian Communist Party)
1920, komunistisher partey (Communist Party)
Ink on newsprint paper
Simon Belkin papers and photographs, Gift of the Belkin
Family, 2009.0.78 No. 45

yedies fun tsentral-buro fun di yidishe sektsye, No. 11

32 33

1. Palphot
Mt. Zion—Jerusalem Entrance to the Tomb of
King David
Israel, n.d. (circa 1955)
Silver gelatin print on cardstock
Gift of Aida and Alvin Hunter, 84.3.9

2. Palphot
Mt. Zion—Jerusalem. Tomb of King David
Ruins of Herodium, Drawer No. 1, No. 1 Herzliya, Israel, n.d. (circa 1955)
Silver gelatin print on cardstock
Gift of Aida and Alvin Hunter, 84.3.4

3. Palphot
Beth She’arim Sarcophagus with Reliefs and a
Human Face
Israel, n.d.
Offset lithograph on cardstock
Gift of Mrs. Mary Schussheim,

4. Palphot
Beth She’arim
Israel, n.d.
Offset lithograph on cardstock
Caesarea, Drawer No. 1, No. 3 Gift of Mrs. Mary Schussheim,

“Palphot” (in Hebrew and Arabic) is an acronym for the

Palestine Photo Rotation Company. Based in Herzliya,
the company was established in 1934 by two Jewish
German immigrants to the British Mandate of Palestine.
1. Palphot It controlled nearly ninety-five percent of the postcard
Ruins of Herodium market in Palestine and then Israel for more than fifty
Herzliya, Israel, n.d. years.
Offset (color) lithograph on cardstock
Gift of Mrs. Mary Schussheim,

2. Palphot
Israel, n.d.
Offset (color) lithograph on cardstock
Gift of Mrs. Mary Schussheim,

3. Palphot
Caesarea: Little folder series
Israel, n.d. (circa 1970)
Offset lithograph on cardstock
Anonymous Gift, 77.67

4. Palphot
Beit She’arim: General View of Hill Showing Excavated
Sites Beth She’arim, Drawer No. 2, No. 4

Israel, n.d. (circa 1955)

Offset lithograph on cardstock
Gift of Aida and Alvin Hunter, 84.3.5

34 35

1. Das Heilige Land zur Zeit Jesu (The Holy Land in the
time of Jesus)
Germany, n.d.
Engraving on paper

Das Heilige Land, Drawer No. 3


1. Alexark & Norsim, Inc

Palestine in the time of the Maccabees [reproduction of
Los Angeles, California, United States, 1951
Giclee digital reproduction of lithograph on paper

Palestine, Drawer No. 4