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Touro Synagogue Foundation Talk explores portraits of Jews from 17th & 18th Century Amsterdam
By Touro Synagogue Foundation

Touro Synagogue Foundation announces the third program of its Winter 2022-2023 Judah Touro Program Series, featuring Distinguished Professor of Art History, Dr. Samantha Baskind.  Dr. Baskind's presentation is titled, "Picturing Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews in 17th & 18th Century Amsterdam."

Baskind will present the work of Rembrandt, Bernard Picart, and several other artists who spent considerable time drawing and painting the Jewish residents of Amsterdam, both in the synagogue and as they went about their daily lives in Amsterdam. Picart was one of the first to distinguish in his etchings between the Ashkenazi Jews of Germany and Eastern Europe and the Sephardic Jews of Portugal. The images produced and published by these artists give us a remarkable insight into the life and practices of the Jews who came to Newport in the colonial period.

There is no fee to reserve, but reservations are required to receive the Zoom login information.

To reserve for the February 9 presentation, please visit the “Program& Events” page at, where recordings of past talks may be viewed, or use this link:

Samantha Baskind is a Distinguished Professor of Art History at Cleveland State University. She received her Ph.D. in Art History from the University of North Carolina. She has a wide range of expertise in topics ranging from how Jews were depicted in art as well as their role as artists in American culture and has written prolifically on most of them. She was Editor for U.S. art in the twenty-six-volume Encyclopaedia Judaica, and has lectured widely at universities, museums, and congregations throughout the United States and abroad, including Stanford University, Columbia University, Cornell University, and Oxford University, among many others.


This 1636 etching by Rembrandt is of Manoel Dias Soeiro, known by his Hebrew name, Menasseh ben Israel (1604-1657). Manasseh ben Israel was a Portuguese rabbi, Kabbalist, distinguished scholar, and founder of the first Hebrew printing press in Amsterdam in 1626. He played a significant role in the readmission of the Jews to England in 1655 and in shaping Jewish Sephardic culture in the Netherlands.
(Image courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London)

The fourth and final presentation in this Winter 2022-2023 virtual program series, March 30 at Noon via Zoom, will be a special collaborative presentation hosted by the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, “Local Collections in Conversations,featuring Touro Synagogue’s Ner Tamid (Eternal Light) and its Great Chandelier, and comparative objects from the collection of the RISD Museum. Presenters will include Howard Newman, a nationally respected Newport artist and conservator, who restored both these objects.