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Bezalel brass plate designed by Raban
This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
22 cm. diam. brass inscription on verso.
Generally regarded as the national institution for studies in these fields, it was formerly designated the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts and was under the supervision of the Ministry of Education. It achieved its present status as an academy in November 1969 and is now under the aegis of the National Council for Higher Education. Its diploma, awarded after four years of study, is officially recognized as equivalent to a B.A. Bezalel, named after the biblical artisan Bezalel, son of Uri, who constructed and decorated the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 36:2), was founded in 1906 by the sculptor Boris Schatz, court sculptor to King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, who brought six of the first students from that country. It was installed in a romantic crenellated stone structure built as an orphanage at the turn of the century. Schatz's aim was to establish a center that would affect the cultural life of the yishuv and create craft industries; each fine arts student was also required to learn a craft and, if possible, to play an instrument. At the same time he founded the Bezalel Museum as part of the school for the benefit of both students and public. Initial financial support came principally from Otto Warburg and a group of German Zionists who also helped to find outlets for the weaving, needlework, metalwork, and wood and ivory carvings produced at the school. Schatz imposed what he intended to be both a Jewish and an economically viable style on the students. In 1911, when there were 460 students and craftsmen at the school and its workshops, an abortive attempt was made to settle some of them in a workers' colony at Ben Shemen, where the families of 14 Yemenite silversmiths were to work on the land. The school fell on hard times when support from Germany failed during World War I and the school was destroyed and Schatz, together with other Jewish public figures, was held as a hostage by the Turks. After the war, Schatz left on a fund-raising mission, and succeeded in reconstructing the school. He died abroad, and the school was closed (1932), but reopened the following year when a new wave of immigrants, refugees from Hitler's Europe, provided not only a new need for such an institution, but also a new impetus and a new staff. Arthur Ruppin headed a committee which obtained funds from the Jewish National Fund, the Jewish Agency and the Mandatory government, and the "New Bezalel" was reopened in 1935 under Joseph Budko as an institution separate from the adjoining museum. Among the teachers were Ze'ev Ben Zvi, Mordecai Ardon, Jakob Steinhardt, Yerahmiel Schechter, and Isidor Aschheim, who succeeded each other as directors of the school, followed by Felix Darnell and Dan Hoffner, a Bezalel graduate, who became director in 1963. Hoffner modernized the academy, putting the accent on design. The student body grew from 26 in 1936 to 1,000 in 1996. Financial support comes from interested ministries (education, industry, labor) and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. Bezalel has schools for architecture, photography, fine metalwork, industrial design, graphic design, art, and ceramic design. It offers bachelors degrees in art, architecture, and design.
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Kind of Judaica