From the beginning of the Jewish diaspora, when Jews were forced from their ancestral homeland in the Middle East, their art and ritual objects were shaped and reshaped by the cultures where they resettled. The conflict between assimilating into the mainstream society, wherever they found themselves, and their faithful observance of religious traditions often sparked unique and unexpected artistic solutions.
In turn, Jewish artists influenced the cultures they encountered, and objects identified with Jewish society came to be created by non-Jewish artists and craftspeople. Forged in the collision of diverse cultures from virtually the world over, these works epitomize a rich creative exchange, a melding of influences and inspiration into something extraordinary and new.
The Harold and Mickey Smith Gallery of Jewish Arts and Culture