The Shmooze

Botticelli Fresco Lures Celebs to Israel Museum

By Masha Leon

  • Print
  • Share Share

“Imagine an Israeli museum receiving Botticelli’s (1481) ‘The Annunciation”— a monumental fresco, a great national treasure —on loan from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy,” James Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem announced at the American Friends of the Israel Museum October 28 Gala at Cipriani 42nd St.

“The day it arrived, it knocked politics, economics and Syria off the front page of Haaretz and filled the top of that front page — a first for art in Israel!” Exuberantly, Snyder added: “Last year we had 825,000 visitors — at the rate we are experiencing visitors we might just reach that magical number — 950,000 — which is reached by about 60 museums worldwide… For the first time directors from 16 countries — among them the Louvre, Pompidou [Center], the British Museum, The Met, Boston and Los Angeles all came to us. The museum was far more than they had imagined and their time in Jerusalem changed their view about [the city] and Israel.”

Karen Leon
James Snyder

As featured in the museum’s Summer Journal, visitors included U.S. Ambassador Abraham Sofaer and Mrs. Marian Sofaer, French Ambassador Christophe Bigot, president of the German Bundesrat Winfred Kretschmann, Lady Mayoress of the City of London Clare Gifford and Barbra Streisand who took in the extraordinary “Herod the Great” Exhibit–that categorical blockbuster about which Snyder defined as “the hubris for building for eternity. In a way Herod was a kind of Second Temple Judean Robert Moses [mid 20th century New York environs master builder] and has drawn 360,000 visitors “with ten more weeks to go.”

“But,” said Snyder, “The most prominent head of state to visit the past year was President Obama, who on his 46-hour visit to Israel, came to the museum with Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and spent two hours at the museum — one hour of which was at the Shrine of the Book.”

“You can imagine that for a museum director, it’s hard not to be moved by the symbolism of culture riding so high on a diplomatic agenda. As for me personally, receiving the president and telling him that in all of my time at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art] in New York, we never received a president, prompted Obama’s response that he was delighted to be at the museum and that he had not — as president — been to the National Gallery in Washington [laughter!].”

The event was launched by Ninah Lynne president of AFIM and chaired by Ruth Lloyds and William Ehrlich, Allison Lloyds O’Neill and Matthew O’Neill. Among the 450 guests who helped raise $2.2 million for the museum: Emily Blavatnik, Charles and Rita Bronfman, Stacey and Matthew Bronfman, Linda and Harry Macklowe, Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert, and Judy and Michael Steinhardt.

Following an elegantly served dinner, guests were invited to savor a staggering dessert buffet that included oversize chocolate-covered strawberries and other not-on-your diet goodies.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: james snyder, israel museum, gala, barack obama

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.