THE JACOB LANDAU ARCHIVE
Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel (KI)
Korn Memorial Sanctuary
When Congregation Keneseth Israel (KI) moved to its new, Elkins Park campus in 1957 its ten massive sanctuary windows were ordinary glass. While stained glass was planned from the very beginning, the project was not realized until 1974. The following index of 27 separate entries details the story of that project as preserved in the collections of the Temple Judea Museum and the KI Archives. In particular, letters, meeting minutes and contracts allow us to witness the years long struggle of rabbinic leadership, dedicated volunteers, visionary artists and skilled craftsmen to complete this massive project. Also included are materials collected after 1974, including published articles, essays and lectures. What becomes clear upon studying these materials is the dedication of all involved to bring this important and stunningly beautiful work of religious art to fruition, as well as the recognition from far and wide of the importance of this great work.
We welcome researchers and requests for more detailed information. TJMuseum@kenesethisrael.org (215) 887-8700, ext. 416
NOTE: Each heading represents a separate collection in the Archive
Anniversary Exhibitions: 1995, 2014, 2015
Comic Book References
Exhibitions and Catalogues (related)
Hebrew Text in the Prophetic Quest
History of the Project
Insurance Valuations (original)
Jacob Landau Institute and Partners
Local Stained Glass Windows: Planned Program 1995
Meeting Minutes: Planning Committee
Photographs, Transparencies, and DVD’s
Prophets Portrayed in the Prophetic Quest
Published Articles, Essays, & Lectures about the Prophetic Quest and the Artists
Quizzes for Young Students
Related Artwork in the Temple Judea Museum Collection
Viewers’ Guides to the Prophetic Quest
A NOTE FROM THE PROJECT CHAIR, Susan Lowenstein Chace
I remember the day I met with Rita Poley to find out if there would be an opportunity for me to volunteer for the Temple Judea Museum at Keneseth Israel (KI). Rita asked if I would be interested in organizing an archive from all the years of accumulated materials that contained the history of the congregation’s Prophetic Quest stained glass windows, created by the artist, Jacob Landau.
The purpose of the work would be to add this new archive to the KI web site. I jumped at the chance. My family had donated the Second Isaiah window, so this project would be near and dear to my heart. Over the years, generations of caring and thoughtful KI members had amassed quite a comprehensive collection of material. For months, I poured through letters, synagogue minutes, biblical references, biographic information about Jacob Landau, public relations articles, information about Willet Studios, photographs, and more. It was utterly fascinating work.
I felt privileged to do my part to help make the Prophetic Quest story accessible to the public. SLC
A NOTE FROM RABBI LANCE J. SUSSMAN
From the moment I arrived at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel (KI) in the summer of 2001, I heard about “The Windows.” “Rabbi,” I was told, “the windows are gorgeous.” “Wait for the end of Yom Kippur,” I was assured, “the sun light pouring in through the windows is magnificent.”
I soon reached the same conclusion. It was true. I too was inspired by the magnificent colors, images, words and feeling of The Prophetic Quest. But then I began to ask myself, is the “prophetic quest” a quest for art for art’s sake? I knew enough about the prophets of Ancient Israel to know that their quest was not about the visual arts, but about the art of living a good life as individuals and as a society. The prophets believed that the transcendent source of justice, love, forgiveness and righteousness quested after them to be its messenger to the people of Israel.
Eventually, I found myself searching for answers about the windows. Who was Jacob Landau? Why did KI choose him? What did the congregation and Rabbi Bertram Korn think about prophetic Judaism and Landau’s proposed visual interpretations? Just as others have looked at, questioned and studied Landau’s Quest, I embarked on my own prophetic quest, a journey which has been engaging, inspiring and sometimes surprising. Hopefully, this new archival project will help those who access it to “open the windows” of Jacob Landau and appreciate them as art and as a moral and religious challenge! Rabbi Lance J. Sussman, Ph.D