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Neil Folberg: And I Shall Dwell Among Them Hardcover – June 15, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This volume offers exquisite reproductions of excellent photographs of little-known synagogues around the world. In his images taken in India, Italy, the Caribbean, and the Middle East, among other places, Folberg (In a Desert Land, LJ 2/1/88) shows the immense diversity of Jewish houses of worship. Well-chosen location and detail shots demonstrate the relationship of synagogues to the cultures in which Jews found themselves, highlighting the adaptability of a people on the move. Indeed, the photographs are a visual record of the wanderings and adaptations of the Diaspora. Each building has been photographed in detail, and many of the synagogues in the book have been photographed for the first time. The essay "The Synagogue Through the Ages" complements the photographs, discussing the buildings in their cultural and social contexts. This beautiful book is recommended for lay readers and specialists alike.?Martin Chasin, Adult Inst., Bridgeport, Ct.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Renowned photographer Folberg has been, primarily a landscape photographer so it was quite a challenge for him to adapt his vision and techniques to the interiors of historic synagogues. His success in capturing the beauty and grace of these cherished houses of worship is testimony as much to his talent and sensitivity as to the powerful spiritual aura of the synagogues themselves. Folberg traveled far and wide to find old, intact synagogues, and the array of architectural styles he discovered is awe inspiring. Folberg photographed synagogues in Italy, Turkey, Uzbekistan, the Caribbean, the U.S., Israel, and, most poignantly, all over Europe. Each synagogue reflects the indigenous architecture of its location, from the elaborate patterning of Turkish tile work to the clean cool stucco of the desert, to the carved wood, stained-glass windows, frescoes, and crystal chandeliers of Europe. The atmospheres range from earthy and homey to grand and showy, but every variation expresses devotion, pride, and gratitude. Although the seeds of Judaism have been forcibly dispersed all over the world, they have flourished wherever they've landed. This handsome and illuminating volume documents and celebrates that resilience and fortitude. Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Aperture (June 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0893819387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0893819385
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 9.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,591,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in San Francisco in 1950, but spent most of my childhood in the Midwestern United States, becoming interested in photography around 1966. In 1967 I began studies with Ansel Adams and then enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley to study with William Garnett. Those were tumultuous years at Berkeley but I was oblivious to politics and pursued my photographic and art studies with passion.

I was married in 1975 and in 1976 with my wife, Anna, set out for Jerusalem. We intended to remain in Israel for a year but we ended up staying. There I continued to pursue mostly landscape photography, resulting in the book "In a Desert Land". My first major exhibition was at the Musée Nicéphore Niépce in Chalon-sur-Saone, France in 1990/91.

In 1992, the Aperture Foundation commissioned me to photograph synagogues all over the world. The resulting book, "And I Shall Dwell Among Them: Historic Synagogues of the World" took some four years to complete. It was the most difficult project that I have ever undertaken, involving interesting but grueling travel to all parts of the world with a ton of equipment on a shoestring budget.

I returned to black-and-white work with the series of photographs of starry night landscapes set in ancient ruins and scenes of the Middle East. This work has been collected together in the book, "Celestial Nights: Visions of an Ancient Land" (Aperture Press, New York 2001). The traveling exhibition, circulated by Aperture, was shown in a dozen museums throughout the world, including venues, in France, the U.S. and more recently, the Museum of Photographic Arts in Japan.

"Travels with Van Gogh and the Impressionists" (with author Lin Arison) includes works done in France during the years 2001-2003. These photographs comprise a look at the places where the French Impressionists lived and worked, but they are also a contemporary photographic treatment of the themes that interested them, in a style inspired by each of the individual artists.

My most recent book is "Serpent's Chronicle", published by Abbeville Press in 2013. "Serpent's Chronicle" constitutes the visual and textual record of what the Serpent observed in the Garden of Eden, in a series of staged photographs using modern dancers set in a wild Mediterranean valley. The story has been rewritten based on an ancient oral tradition, but in a contemporary mode. This is a total departure from previous work in many ways but like "Travels with Van Gogh and the Impressionists" it tells a story and uses much staged imagery. This is also the first of my books published in an electronic format.

I am currently concentrating on new work and running my gallery, Vision Neil Folberg Gallery, in Jerusalem.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Wow, can you imagine traveling to so many cultures and time periods... and not leave your living room. It's a real eye-opener, in more ways than one. I am quite surprised how the synagogue -the "original" place of monotheistic worship- can have so many faces: beautiful, even exquisite, faces. Anyone interested in architecture or religious expression will enjoy this book immensely. [p.s. My favorite shot? pgs 120-121]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on September 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book was given to me as an anniversary gift by my wife. I do not think I have ever had a better one.
In his introduction Neil Folberg talks about his having tried to photograph the synagogues presented in this album as he himself has 'seen ' them. This thought made a great deal of sense to me when I looked and compared some of the photos here with my memories of the same synagogues. I had seen the Altneushuel in Prague in a depth of darkness and sadness , a grief which obscured completely its other side- the holy light and transforming beauty Folberg's photographs reveal in it.
There are so many treasures in this work. I knew nothing for instance about Uzbekhi family-synagogues. Their intimacy and skill in decoration moved me. Folberg traveled through many different parts of the world, to reach some very well- known and some little - known and little- visited synagogues. He and his assistant Max Richardson brought with them an enormous amount of lighting equipment. Folger's description of how they might labor for days to achieve one perfect picture , deepened my appreciation for their enterprise.
Folberg knows the world of the synagogue well, and his introductions before each major area of the world's synagogues visited add a great deal to the book. The afterword by Yom Tov Assis teaches a much about the development of the synagogue over time.
I have always had a special love for synagogues.
I was raised in a small but for me, especially beautiful synagogue, Shaarah Tefillah in Troy, New York. I kept wishing that Folberg had somehow years before gotten to it, and photographed before its unfortunate demolition.
Part of the poignance of this work is that Folberg does arrive at many synagogues which no longer have congregations, or which only a few people left.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Mulberg on September 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yes, the photographs and printing are superb, of synagogues around the world. Folberg is a master of the large format camera and lighting. It is not a scholar's book, but one for the pure visual pleasure of hows Jews throughout time have worshipped the Creator, all in their inimitable individual ways,but yet offering prayer to the same divinity. Please see my review of The Venetian Ghetto for a further bibliography for synagogue architectural buffs

Max Mulberg, PhD
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Leopold on December 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An amazing collection of Shuls and Synagogues from around the world! It is interesting to see the different styles found in different countries. The are intricate and beautiful designs. A wonderful coffee table book or for one who loves ethic photography.
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