July 2, 2022

“The Eye Of The Collector: The Jewish Vision Of Sigmund R. Balka” Opens Oct. 10


Forty-one pieces from the collection,”The Eye Of The Collector:  The Jewish Vision of Sigmund R. Balka” will be exhibited Sunday, October 10, in Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek’s  Main Street Gallery, located at 55 Kings Highway in Chester.  The exhibit opens a 2:00 p.m. and will be accompanied by a wine and cheese reception.  Both the collector, Sigmund R. Balka, and Hebrew Union College Museum Curator, Laura Kruger will speak.  This free exhibit is open to the public.

One of the great strengths of this collection, which is being cosponsored by Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, is that it reflects and records jewish secular and religions experiences in Europe and America and provides a wonderfully informative visual record of Jewish life:  street scenes of Jewish urban  life; the practice of religious life;  expressions of nostalgia for the Old World and acculturation in the New World.

The complete collection, donated to the Hebrew Union College Museum, encompasses over 200 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs and five decades of Balks’s life.  “I don’t think I am anything but a custodian during my lifetime…the art speaks for itself,” says Balka.  “The more public the opportunity to have it speak for itself, the better society is.  Collecting art, curating exhibitions and serving on museum boards are for me as natural as breathing.  It is my link with man’s creative spirit which, in the end, must prevail or we will extinguish ourselves.”

A graduate of Williams College and Harvard Law School, Sigmund Balka is General Counsel and Vice President of Krasdale Foods, directs the Krasdale Galleries in White Plains and New York where he has curated over 100 exhibitions by artists around the world.  He has chaired and advised on art exhibitions and acquisitions for major cultural instituions including the Queens Art Museum, Rutgers University and The Judaica Museum.

“The Eye of the Collector” will remain on view at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek through mid January, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Balka returns to the Main Street Gallery, Sunday, November 14th to conduct two walking tours at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m..  Each tour will last 30-45 minutes and accommodate 20 people.  There is no charge and reservations can be made by calling the Temple office at 860-5268920.

Amy Bloom to Speak at Beth Shalom on September 26

Amy Bloom, nationally acclaimed author of the newly released collection, Where the God of Love Hangs Out, will speak at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester on Sunday, September 26 at 9:30 a.m. Bagels and coffee will be served.

Bloom is the author of two novels and three collections of short stories and is a nominee for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and numerous anthologies here and abroad. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, among many other publications and has won a National Magazine Award. The New York Times Book Review wrote about her novel Love Invents Us, “She writes lyrically and describes complicated emotional states with great sensitivity and tenderness.”

Bloom lives in Connecticut and taught at Yale University for the last decade. She will now be Wesleyan University’s Writer-in-Residence.

Where the God of Love Hangs Out, will be available for signing at the program. “Books & Bagels,” a free series, is produced by the CBSRZ Program Committee. Other authors and books to be presented in 2010 are: Roya Kakakian, Journey to the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran on October 17; Suzanne Levine, The Haberdasher’s Daughter on December 12; and Dorie Greenspan, Around My French Table on January 16.

The public is invited to attend. For and further information, call 860-526-8920.