The exhibit, A Distinctive Jewish Style: Early Bezalel Arts and Crafts from The Temple Museum Collection opened on September 7, 2012 in the Loggia of the Lilyan Mandel Sanctuary and Ellen Bonnie Mandel Auditorium in Beachwood.
After meeting Theodore Herzl, the artist Boris Schatz (1867-1932) became an ardent Zionist. In 1903, he presented a proposal to Herzl to establish an arts and crafts school in the Land of Israel, and in 1905 the Seventh Zionist Congress in Basel passed a resolution to establish the “Bezalel” school of art. The Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts located in Jerusalem was founded in 1906 and opened in 1908, with the mission “to train the people of Jerusalem in crafts, develop original Jewish art and support Jewish artists…” The school was known for teaching traditional metalwork, carpet weaving, woodcarving, the graphic arts and photography and strongly forbid modernism. In 1929, the school closed and Schatz died while fundraising in Colorado. The school reopened in 1935 and in 1955 became The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.
The exhibition features historic Bezalel metalwork including two menorot, a mezuzah, two Esther scroll cases, several plaques by Boris Schatz, and the graphic works of major leading artists from the Land of Israel, Ze’ev Raban, Ephraim Moses Lilien, Able Pann and Meir Gur Arie.