07 May 2007

Los Angeles: Old Jewish postcards, May 15

Among today's genealogy collectibles are vintage Eastern European Jewish postcards.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles, in association with the Skirball Center, will host Hebrew University Professor Shalom Sabar, who will speak on how Jewish illustrated postcards from Central and Eastern Europe in the late 1800s inspired those later produced in the U.S.

"Past Perfect: The Jewish Experience in Early 20th-Century Postcards" will begin at 7.30 p.m., Tuesday, May 15, at the Skirball Cultural Center.

The colorful images provide a nostalgic view into a lost world representing many facets of daily life.

Contemporary dress, household interiors, family rituals, religious celebrations and special customs were recreated in studios. There are shtetls and Jewish streets, synagogues, Jewish writers, Zionist leaders, views of Eretz Israel, war and pogroms. The Holocaust destroyed many European synagogues; these may be the only known images of some.

Sabar, a professor of Art History and Jewish and Comparative Folklore at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is chair of its unique Jewish and Comparative Folklore department. He specializes in the art and folklore of Jewish communities in Christian Europe and Islamic East. He was the last Jewish baby born in the ancient Iraqi Kurdistan Jewish community of Zakho.

One of his books, Ketubbah: Jewish Marriage Contracts of the Hebrew Union College received the American National Jewish Book Award.

Primo Levy Fellow at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Sabar is UCLA's Amado Distinguished Visiting Professor in Sephardic Studies.

No charge for Skirball/JGSLA members; others, $5

Try to arrive early to see the vintage Israeli travel poster exhibit in the Ruby and Hurd Galleries, with more than 30 posters (1950s-60s) by government tourism agencies, national and private transportation companies, along with continuous video screenings of Israel's landscapes.

The JGSLA's Spiszman Traveling Library, a genealogical reference collection, will be available on the Magnin Auditorium mezzanine from 7 p.m.

For more information, click here.

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