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VIA ZOOM: Lunch & Learn - Dali "Aliyah" Series

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 25 Tishrei 5781

11:30 AM - 1:00 PMPlease register below and the Zoom link will be sent to you in an email

David Blumenthal, the former Jay and Leslie Cohen Professor of Judaic Studies at Emory University, will be speaking about the Dali "Aliyah" series, a controversial work commissioned in honor of the 20th anniversary of Israeli Independence. 

"The original "Aliyah" works took two years for Dali to complete. After its grand opening at the Huntington Hartford Museum's Gallery of Modern Art in New York on April 1, 1968, 250 sets of 25 lithographs each were produced and then the stones were destroyed, ensuring that there would be no more reprints.  A favorite section is the four iconic images of exile and hope: "A Voice is heard in Ramah," "The Wailing Wall," "For it is thy life and the length of thy days," and "Return, O virgin of Israel."

"The Hebrew word aliyah means ‘ascent'; in later Hebrew, it was broadened to mean ‘to ascend to the land of Israel,' " says Blumenthal. "After centuries of oppression in the exile, aliyah is a commitment to the rebirth of the Jewish people, to the renaissance of the Jewish spirit, in its own space."

Despite critics' contention that Dali was anti-semitic or driven solely by a desire for profit, Blumenthal sees a deeper understanding communicated through the thoughtfulness of the "Aliyah" series. "When he handled Catholicism, he was aggressively Dali," Blumenthal says. "But, in regard to Zionism, he is more respectfully Dali."


Professor Blumenthal took his B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. at Columbia University. He teaches and writes on constructive Jewish theology, medieval Judaism, Jewish mysticism, and holocaust studies. His previous published works include numerous scholarly articles, reviews, and eleven books including the two volume Understanding Jewish Mysticism (1978, 1982), God at the Center, (Harper and Row, 1988; reprinted Jason Aronson, 1994; translated as Dieu au coeur, 2002), Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest (Westminster / John Knox, 1993), and The Banality of Good and Evil: Moral Lessons from the Shoah and Jewish Tradition (Georgetown University Press: 1999). His most recent book is Philosophic Mysticism: Essays in Rational Religion, 2007. He is a member of the European Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Religion.

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Mon, October 26 2020 8 Cheshvan 5781