Jacques Lipchitz, Tuscany’s Great Jewish Sculptor

In the second and third decades of the 20th century, Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973) was considered one of the leading practitioners of Cubist sculpture; as his style evolved later on, and until his death, he continued to produce celebrated works. Dovid Margolin writes:

The [sculptor], born Chaim Yaakov Lipchitz in the resort town of Druskininkai, today in Lithuania [and then in Russia], spent the pre-World War II years in Paris, where he was friends with Pablo Picasso, posed for Amedeo Modigliani (whom he introduced to Chaim Soutine), and met Ernest Hemingway at one of the parties he regularly attended at the home of Gertrude Stein (although back then he didn’t know enough English, or Hemingway enough French, to communicate).

He escaped from Paris just before the Germans marched in, eventually making his way to New York. Lipchitz made his first visit to Tuscany in 1962, drawn by the millennia-old marble quarries of Carrara—“Michelangelo’s territory” he called it—and the foundry of Luigi Tommasi in Pietrasanta. He and his wife spent six weeks there, with almost all of the artist’s time consumed by work, going from the place he was staying to the foundry and back. “I didn’t see anything [of] Italy,” he said.

But he was smitten, with the work [and] with the place, and told his wife, Yulla, that they had to return. Unable to find [a workspace he could rent, he purchased what he described as] “a very beautiful house.” The renaissance structure, formally known as Villa Orsucci di Bozzio, sometimes spelled Villa Bosio, stands . . . overlooking the town of Camaiore and offering stunning views of the Tuscan countryside. Lipchitz set up shop there, working on smaller pieces in his indoor studio, and larger ones in the field outside.

Late in life, Lipchitz returned to Jewish religious observance, and in accordance with his wishes, his Tuscan estate is now used as an Orthodox summer camp.

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More about: Arts & Culture, East European Jewry, Italian Jewry

 

Precision Rockets Pose a Strategic Threat to Israel—by Targeting Civilians

Oct. 23 2018

In 1991, during the Persian Gulf War, Saddam Hussein began bombarding Israel with Scud missiles. The U.S., having prevailed upon Jerusalem not to retaliate or to destroy Iraqi missile launchers, provided its ally with Patriot anti-missile missiles—which proved entirely ineffective. Then the Israeli Ministry of Defense, overcoming longstanding objections from the IDF brass, decided to develop its own missile-defense system, and put Uzi Rubin in charge of it; his efforts led to the multilayered system that now protects the Jewish state from rockets of all kinds. In an interview with Yonah Jeremy Bob, Rubin assesses the current strategic threats to Israel from the precision rockets now used by Hizballah and Iran:

A simple rocket is a terror weapon. [Shooting one] is like blowing up a bus. Yes, it is a problem and it needs to be dealt with it, but precision-guided rockets cross over into being military weapons. [The threat from such weapons] changes the whole system of prioritizing what actions to take. You need first to guard your ability to keep fighting, which includes [defending] the home front—and not just for the sake of national morale. Food, gas, and other things come to the military from the civilian sector. . . .

[Currently Israel] doesn’t have enough Arrow missiles or Iron Dome batteries. Ask the IDF officers and they will say we have too many. To be objective, it’s necessary to address this question by first determining where the emphasis is in war today. The strategy [of Israel’s enemies] is not to overwhelm the IDF, it’s to overwhelm the civilian population. Until the 1973 [Yom Kippur] war, our adversaries’ wars were about trying to beat the IDF. Now our adversaries are not preparing themselves for war against the IDF. Fighting the IDF is at best a secondary goal; mainly they are going after civilians. . . .

Yet Rubin was optimistic about his country’s ability to rise to new challenges, crediting the “creative chaos” that characterizes the Israeli way of doing things:

We have a special atmosphere. We do not think about rules and decorum. You do what needs to be done. There is a unique social network and cross-fertilization between the military and the defense industry.

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More about: Hizballah, IDF, Iran, Iron Dome, Israel & Zionism, Israeli technology, Persian Gulf War