Museum Monday: The Breman Museum

The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum is home to the permanent exhibition Absence of Humanity: The Holocaust Years, 1933-1945; the Blonder Family Gallery dedicated to Southern Jewish History; and the Schwartz Gallery, which hosts a variety of traveling and rotating exhibitions.

Recently, I went to the Museum and was fascinated by the newest exhibits:

The Guiding Hand, ICONS, and History with Chutzpah.

The Guiding Hand : An exhibition of Torah pointers

Known by their Hebrew name, yads, these ceremonial yet practical instruments are used to keep one’s place in the Torah scroll when reading from its densely hand-lettered Hebrew text. The Guiding Hand: The Barr Foundation Judaica Collection of Torah Pointers is on view in The Breman’s newly updated Discovery Gallery from October 11 through December 2023.


ICONS showcases a few selections from Robert Weingarten’s “The Portrait Unbound” These are innovative and ground breaking visual biographies of notable American ICONS including Hank Aaron, Colin Powell, and Alice Waters. In this series, Weingarten poses a simple question: “Can you express a person’s being and character photographically without showing them?” The challenge is devising a way of making a portrait that separates the subject from the specifics of time and place. In the construction of these images the spirit of Cubism is on display, with a model for illusionistic art of seemingly transparent planes superimposed so as to suggest that the eye can see into and through objects. Weingarten coined the term “translucent composite” as a new vocabulary that describes is digital practice and defines one of the primary characteristics of this work.


HISTORY WITH CHUTZPAH (pronounced huut-spa) gives voice to many people whose experiences, achievements and perceptions are reflected in The Breman Museum’s vast archival collections, initiated by a seed gift from Erwin Zaban in 1985. The exhibition is divided into six sections as follows:

• Courage & Conformity
• Hope & Survival
• Success & Loss
• Patriotism & Perseverance
• Benevolence & Community
• Murder & Mayhem

Together, these micro galleries will recount the stories of Jews in Georgia and Alabama through more than 250 objects, documents, photographs and oral histories. The interpretive themes of resilience, adaptation, courage and advocacy seem to mirror what the world is experiencing now through the pandemic and its rippling effects into every corner of society.

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