In Memory of Dr. Yoram Sela
Dear friends and acquaintances of Dr. Yoram Sela,
This gallery was originally intended to be a project of the Sela family, where we wished to express our common fields of interest and passion. Unfortunately, the gallery opens after the painful loss of my guiding light, beloved husband and partner, with whom I had planned and built this project. The gallery will now be a memorial to Yoram.
To some Yoram was known as a professional businessman, blessed with extraordinary talent in pharmaceutics, but for me Yoram was first of all a modest man, a “Mensch”, and a true friend who helped everyone any way he could. Yoram was a man of literature and culture, an autodidact in the field of Jewish and general history, an art lover and an esthete.
The gallery was intended to be a place where Yoram could express his deep interest in Jewish history, particularly in the life of Jewish communities in Europe leading up and during World War II and the Holocaust. Unfortunately, Yoram did not live to realize his dream (apart from the stamps exhibition presented on this site). The gallery will therefore change its original purpose and will concentrate in the fields of Jewish Art and Literature. It will also be a platform for our daughter to present her works in jewelry, painting, and photography.
I will conclude with the last lines of Bialik’s poem quoted by Yoram’s friends a month after his death:
THERE WAS A MAN
There was a man – and look, he is no more.
The music of his life suddenly stopped.
There was another song in him.
Chaim Nachman Bialik Translated by Ruth Nevo
Your love will light our way. Your memory will forever be with us.
A painting by Moshe Bernstein hangs on our study wall, in memory of Yoram .
First Jewish stamp, Breslau 1897 and Rosh Hashanah
The first Jewish stamp was printed in 1897 in Breslau ( Wroclaw – Poland today), which belonged until World War II to Germany.
At the end of the nineteen century there was a local post office in Breslau, mostly sending mail inside the city. The service was called “Germany Private Mail 1873 – 1914 Breslau”.
In 1897, before the Jewish New Year, a special stamp was printed, which gave the 20,000 Jews living in Breslau at the time the opportunity to use a special stamp for their New Year greeting cards. This stamp is known as “The first Jewish stamp”.
At the upper part of the stamp you see an inscription in Hebrew “לשנה טובה”, meaning “For a good year”, At the center of the stamp you see the inscription “5658” , denoting the Hebrew calendar year (תרנ”ח).
The nominal value of the stamp was 1.50 Pfennig.
Hanukkah and Morris Rosenfeld
The link between “Lieder des Ghetto”, Morris Rosenfeld – and HANUKKAH
The book “Lieder des Ghetto” was written by Morris Rosenfeld and illustrated by Ephraim Moses Lilien.
Morris Rosenfeld, the famous Yiddish poet of the American sweatshops, known in Hebrew as Moshe Yaakov Alter, was born on December 28, 1862 in the Polish village Boksze.
Due to the dire situation in Poland, he immigrated like many others and settled in New York, where he found work in the tailoring workshops of the Lower East Side.
His hard life, which lasted for a few years, enriched him with the experience that enabled him to shed light in his poems on the poor living conditions of immigrants from Eastern Europe who worked in the New York’s sweatshop industry.
In 1888 he published his first poem -“The Bell” (DI Gloke די גלאקע) ,which was followed by many other poems on this subject.
His poems quickly became very popular, were set to music and sung in the shops, while Rosenfeld continued his meager life as a shop-worker. His poems were later translated to English, where they found a wider audience, and he became world-renowned as the “Poet of the Sweatshops.”
One of his famous volumes of poetry, is the book “Lieder des Ghetto” (Songs from the Ghetto), first published in Boston, 1899.
The link that lead between the book- “Lieder des Ghetto” and HANUKKAH is the beautiful song that Morris Rosenfeld wrote “Hanukkah Licht” ( די חנוכה ליכט Hanukkah lights נרותי הזעירים.
The song was probably first published in 1897.The song spread around the world and was sung since then in many versions – different lyrics and different melodies in Yiddish, English, and Hebrew.
There is a copy of “Lieder des Ghetto” in our gallery shop, translated from Yiddish to German by Berthold Feiwel, with a dedication in Yiddish in the author’s handwriting. The book is Illustrated by Ephraim Moses Lilian and was published by Calvary & Co, 1902, Berlin.