American

This portfolio of woodcut prints was created by a group of progressive Jewish artists from Chicago in support of Biro-Bidjan, an autonomous Jewish region in Siberia.

In 1934, a Jewish autonomous region was established in Biro-Bidjan (sometimes spelled Birobidzhan), Siberia.

This traveling wardrobe belonged to Yiddish theater star Dina Halpern, and is a relic of a time when plays by Sholem Aleichem, S. Ansky, as well as Yiddish translations of Chekhov, Tolstoy, and Wilder were performed on Chicago’s old West Side.

Dina Halpern was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1909. As a child, she performed as a dancer then joined the Warsaw Yiddish Art Theatre, headed by her great-aunt, Esther Rachel Kaminska.

In this series of prints, Chicago-born artist David Bennett depicts biblical subjects with a graphic energy and drama that brings biblical sagas to life.

Born in Chicago in 1941, Bennett went on to attend Harvard University, where he studied English literature and opera.

Chicago-based artist Nicole Gordon creates artwork that is beautiful and uncomfortable at the same time.

Chicago-based artist Nicole Gordon is known for anachronistic and whimsical paintings that often combine encaustic or “hot wax painting” with oil paints.

Chicago-based artist Nicole Gordon creates artwork that is both beautiful and uncomfortable at the same time.

Chicago-based artist Nicole Gordon is known for anachronistic and whimsical paintings that often combine encaustic or “hot wax painting” with oil paints.

(After Isidor Kaufmann, The Son of the Miracle-Working Rabbi of Belz) Artist Ken Aptekar overlays paintings from the past with auto-biographical text from the present to help contemporary viewers think about history in relation to their own lives.

A common theme woven into contemporary work in the Spertus Institute collection is the artist's struggle to understand his Jewish identity and its impact on him as an artist and world citizen.

Abraham Lincoln Marovitz rose from an impoverished immigrant background to become a noted jurist and Illinois’ first Jewish state senator. He was a beloved Chicago icon and a proud Jew.

Abraham Lincoln Marovitz was raised in Chicago’s

Maryan S. Maryan spent the majority of his artistic career painting solitary grotesque figures, many with hoods, animal ears, and explosions of innards. These “personnages,” as he called them, reflect the horror and trauma of his wartime experiences.

Maryan S. Maryan was born Pinchas Burstein in Nowy-Sącz, Poland, in 1927.

Spertus Institute preserves and protects materials from hundreds of local synagogues and organizations. This stained glass window once graced the sanctuary of Shaare Zedek, a Conservative synagogue in Logan Square that had a seating capacity of 1,400.

In Chicago, around 1915, upwardly mobile Eastern European Jews began moving to Logan Square from the congested

This cast plaque pays tribute to Isaac Mayer Wise, the acknowledged architect of American Reform Judaism. It is inscribed with a quote from Genesis 26:12, “Isaac sowed and he reaped one hundred-fold.”

Born in Moravia in 1819, Isaac Mayer Wise immigrated to the United States in 1846 and was appointed rabbi of Congregation Beth El (today Beth Emeth) of Albany, New York.