PJCC Art Gallery Presents
This program is part of Violins of Hope San Francisco Bay Area, presented in association with Music at Kohl Mansion, Burlingame, CA.
There are those rare places that have an energy about them. You feel it when you enter. Words cannot help to define such places. Amnon, Avshalom and Moshe Weinsteins’ luthier workshop in Tel Aviv is such a place.
What is the cause? It is not solely due to their mission to find and restore as many violins that survived the Holocaust as is possible, even as most of their owners did not. Nor, is it due solely to one’s senses becoming charged upon entry, from the scent of fresh wood shavings, open stain canisters or varnish.
Might the cause be the visual potpourri that surrounds, the workshop’s guest… the inhabited-like violins; dismantled on their felt and wood platens, waiting for their next stage of restoration, the many that are hanging to dry, or those suspended to simply be kept safe from the potentially damaging workshop equipment? Some may see the holocaust violins as being representations of loss. I prefer to see them as phoenix-like, being readied to become triumphant.
There are the photographic portraits of the workshop, looking downward from high on the walls or peeking out from archival binders, each collected by Amnon over the decades. Portraits of Bronisław Huberman, Jascha Heifetz, Zino Francescatti, and others. There are the rare concert medallions piled into a corner, commemorating great performances from Israel’s years of its musical youth, and the clippings of appreciative violin master performer clients. There are the signs… through random books, card de’visite portraits and even a Hollywood movie poster, of Amnon’s wife Assi’s remarkable Bielski family history, a history that is legend among Jews world-wide.
Almost two years prior to the largest of the celebrations of the Violins of Hope coming to America, I was curious about more than the violins as objects, or as the vessels of their indescribable histories. Their remaining scratches and nicks should not be seen as wounds, as invariably many represent moments from living room performances in places such as Łódź, Prague or Vilnius, or from public recitals in Berlin or Vienna. These marks of “index” have meaning. Amnon often lovingly lets these remain during restorations, for their role is as critical as their strings.
Yet I was not simply interested in who could have had the expertise to restore such fragile instruments of spruce and maple, or in the person(s) who have such
skills who, by chance, live within the nation of the attics and closets of many of the surviving violins of the Holocaust.
What drove me to make this documentary was my interest in discovering who it was who encompassed all of this, in addition to their profound vision to recognize that, within a few fleeting years there would be no remaining survivors of the Holocaust. Yet through their restoration of these violins, and through the miracle of music and the brain’s response to it, the next generation has a chance to understand the incomprehensible through the visceral.
Daniel Levin, MFA
levinphoto.com | email@example.com
In addition to the PJCC Art Gallery’s current exhibit The Weinsteins’ Workshop: The Luthiers Who Restored the Violins of Hope, Photography by Daniel Levin, the PJCC proudly offered the following experiences in partnership with Violins of Hope San Francisco Bay Area.
Bérénice 1934–44: An Actress in Occupied France
Monday, December 16 · Board Room· 2:00 pm
Violins of Hope: Strings of the Holocaust
Monday, December 30 · Board Room · 2:00 pm
2020 North Peninsula Jewish Community Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Michael Berenbaum
Not Your Father’s Antisemitism
Wednesday, January 8 · Wornick Jewish Day School Ulam Gadol · 7:30 pm
Violins of Hope Founders Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein
Thursday, January 16 · 7:30 pm · New Location: Wornick Ulam Gadol
TheatreWorks Presents: The Pianist of Willesden Lane
Sunday, January 26 · Mountain View Centre for Performing Arts
PJCC Jewish Book Club
Violins of Hope: Violins of the Holocaust—Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind’s Darkest Hour by James A. Grymes
Tuesday, January 28 · Classroom D · 10:30 am
Youth Enrichment Class
Music Makers Grades 1–3
Mondays at 5:00 pm
Up Close Concert
Ariel Quartet: Violins of Hope
Saturday, February 15 · PJCC Lobby · 8:00 pm
Day Trip—Art Exhibit
Violins of Hope: A Journey of Heroism, Healing, and Humanity
Thursday, February 20 · Veterans Building, San Francisco
The PJCC is proud to be a part of the Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood presenting educational and cultural programs that explore Jewish heritage, identity, and community. This initiative is co-funded by the Koret Foundation and the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture.
* This program is part of Violins of Hope San Francisco Bay Area presented in association with Music at Kohl Mansion, Burlingame, CA and is made possible by the Koret Taube Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood.
PJCC Art Gallery Presents
March 4 – May 25, 2020
Two men were having a dispute over a piece of land, that each claimed to own. They sought advice from a rabbi. After listening to each of their claims, the rabbi put an ear to the ground, and after a moment stood up. “My friends, the land says it belongs to neither of you but that you belong to it.”
—Source unknown, cited by Rabbi David E. Stein in A Garden of Choice Fruits, Shomrei Adamah, 1991
Climate of Concern is the unification of two projects, National Parks 2050 (2017) and 50 States of Change (2020). Each project reinvents a past aesthetic to make a point essential to our future: that we can no longer afford to ignore climate change.
Though the data behind climate change has been out there for years, it’s historically done little to incite action. It’s too sterile and unemotional for the average person. This is where Climate of Concern comes in. Its works give a visual voice to numbers, an emotional impact to research. To put a spin on the old adage, a picture is worth a thousand charts.
The imagery in this show draws you in with retro design that feels comfortably familiar. This inviting air is abruptly interrupted the second you look a little closer; you realize all is not as it seems in these faux-nostalgic scenes. Sunny snapshots of the past have been replaced with dark depictions of what climate change is doing to our country. Wonder has been replaced with warning. Climate of Concern leverages these juxtapositions to maximize impact. It’s at once approachable and arresting. And, it compels us to take action against climate change in order to preserve our future histories and present landscapes.
We have the ability to protect our planet and outsmart the issues caused by climate change, but we need to act now. From Franklin to Fuller, America has been made its greatest by embracing ingenuity and innovation. Climate of Concern makes the urgency of action apparent, breaks the silence we’ve bit sitting in, and impels us to act.
National Parks 2050
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” -Aldous Huxley
National Parks 2050 is a call to action. Drawing upon the classic National Parks posters, this series shows how climate change will affect seven of America’s most beloved landscapes. In doing so, it makes climate change feel close to home and hard to ignore.
Each image in this series was first created digitally. To make the paintings, Rothstein projected the digital image onto canvas, made a tracing of the image, and then, painted with the tracing as a guide.
The series, released in 2017, went viral and was highlighted in a wide array of media outlets including The New York Times, The PBS Newshour, CityLab, VICE, the NRDC, Fast Company, and more.
50 States of Change
A project in progress, 50 States of Change bridges art and activism. The series will be composed of 50 postcards that depict an effect of climate change in each state. Making use of a postcard style popular in mid-century America, the works prompt viewers to consider the difficulties that will visit us if we fail to act against climate change.
Once complete, the works are intended to be used in a letter-writing campaign to politicians urging them to act against climate change.
Hannah Rothstein is redefining art in the eyes of the Millennial Generation. Her internet-viral work spans many media, from watercolor to digital art, and has been published in The New York Times, TIME, The Guardian, Vogue Italia, and more. See more of Hannah’s work on her website www.hrothstein.com and Instagram (@HRothsteinArt).
The PJCC is immensely grateful to our visionary donors:
The PJCC is proud to be a part of the Koret Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood.
We are honored to present this program through the Taube Center for Jewish Peoplehood at the PJCC.
Programs at the PJCC are made possible in part through generous support from our donors. To learn more or make a contribution, visit pjcc.org/donate.