Book presentation

Book presentation: Lily Arad "Gifts from Jerusalem Jews to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchs. Identities, Otherness and Belonging"

Museum Dorotheergasse
© De Gruyter Oldenburg
Presentations of offerings to the emperor-king on anniversaries of his accession became an important imperial ritual in the court of Franz Joseph I. This book explores for the first time the identity constructions of Orthodox Jewish communities in Jerusalem as expressed in their gifts to the Austro-Hungarian Kaisers at the time of dramatic events. It reveals how the beautiful gifts, their dedications, and their narratives, were perceived by gift-givers and recipients as instruments capable of acting upon various social, cultural and political processes.

Lily Arad describes in a captivating manner the historical narratives of the creation and presentation of these gifts. She analyzes the iconography of these gifts as having transformative effect on the self-identification of the Jewish communities and examines their reception by the Kaisers and in the Austrian and the Palestinian Jewish press.This groundbreaking book unveils Jewish cultural and political strategies aimed to create local Eretz-Israel identities, demonstrating distinct positive communal identification which at times expressed national sentiments and at the same time preserved European identification.
Author Lily Arad, Z“l was a teacher and researcher of visual culture in the land of the bible, from early times to Israeli and Palestinian Art, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Focusing on the Holy Land and visual translations of Jerusalem to Europe, she is the author of The Crown of Jerusalem – Franz Joseph’s Dream of an Ideal Empire (Jerusalem, Spectrum 2012) and Santa María de Barberà del Vallès fe i poder darrere les imatges sacres (Barcelona: Tabelaria Edicions, 2011).

Lily Arad’s book will be introduced by curators Dr. Gabriele Kohlbauer-Fritz (Jewish Museum Vienna) and Dr. Eva B. Ottillinger (Furniture Museum Vienna) and presented by colleague Dr. Elana Shapira (University of Applied Arts Vienna).

The event will be in German as well in English.

Free admission as of 6:00 p.m.
Advance booking is essential: Tel.: +43 1 535 04 31-1510 or e-mail:

The event takes place in compliance with the currently valid Covid-19 regulations.