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MFA Debuts First Judaica Gallery in New England

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Gold (left) and silver (right) Torah Shield tablets.

Earlier this month, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opened the first gallery in New England dedicated to Judaica: “Intentional Beauty: Jewish Ritual Art from the Collection.” The intimate but comprehensive exhibition space features 27 works from Asia, North Africa, Europe, and the U.S. that reflect Jewish religious traditions in formal synagogue spaces and at home.

Many of these works are on view for the first time, and most are new acquisitions. The exhibition is split into three thematic groupings, “Dressing the Torah,” “A Judaica Revolution,” and “Dressing the Body: Ritual and Modesty.”

“I’m delighted to be able to shed light on the diversity of Jewish cultures around the world—doing so through art is especially important and meaningful,” said Simona Di Nepi, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Curator of Judaica, who curated the gallery. “While several of the Jewish communities represented in the gallery no longer survive, these objects are tangible testimony of their history. They tell stories of exile, discrimination, even persecution—but also of resilience, reinvention and integration.”

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