Friday, May 08, 2009

Rachael Goldman on Synagogue Mosaics -- May 11th JCC

Did Jews Observe the Second Commandment?: The Archaeology of Mosaics
Date: May 11
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Jewish Community Center, Amsterdam and 76th Street, NYC

The synagogue mosaic floors of Upper and Lower Galilee in Ancient Israel have largely been examined in a social and religious context.

Yet, scholars have not been able to assess the meaning of the mosaics' exact placement in the synagogue buildings and their connection to liturgical process. Given that the second commandment in Judaism prohibits the depiction of graven images, the nature of patrons' wishes and the artisans raise questions about their reliance on Greco-Roman principles, while adhering to halakhah. Specific scenes of the Akeidah and abstract images of the zodiac and temple structures throughout the Galilee show a break with the past. In this paper I posit through an art historical approach that the mosaics were not simply decorative elements but reminders to the participants within the buildings of their heritage and past cultures, connecting them with the past, present and future.

Rachael Goldman holds degrees from Rutgers University, Sotheby's Institute of Art and City University of New York-Graduate Center in Classics and Art History. She is working on a manuscript dealing with the social and cultural constructions of color in the Rome Republican and Imperial periods. She has studied at the American Academy in Rome in 2007 and has won fellowships from the New York Classical Club, the College Art Association and the Archaeological Institute of American.

Prof. Goldman is published in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review and the Journal of Decorative Arts of the Bard Graduate Center.

Cost: $15.00. Please register through the JCC at

1 comment:

Rachael Goldman said...

Well, I think that you can spell my name correctly. My parents chose to spell my name in the British fashion. So, the extra "a" is not an error.
I'd appreciate it if you could make that correction.

Rachael Goldman
City University of New York- Graduate Center