MembersMoshe Castel: The Crucified

Jesus in Contemporary Israeli Art

By Tsvi Sadan |

Moshe Elazar Castel comes from a Spanish family that settled in Israel in 1492, the same year Jews were expelled from Spain. Castel (1909-1991) was born in Jerusalem, and later founded religious schools for Sephardic boys throughout the city.


Castel first studied art at Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem. Later he moved to Paris (1927-1940), where he honed his skills by reproducing the works of Rembrandt and Courbet, among others.

Throughout his career, Castel depicted uniquely Jewish themes. His works can today be found in places such as the Knesset, Israel’s Supreme Court and at the Vatican. In 2010, The Castel Museum opened its doors in the town of Ma’aleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem, where Castel had made his home.


As a right-wing and devout Jew of rabbinical legacy, one is surprised to learn that Castel lived for a full year in a Christian monastery near Tiberias. The reason, his biographers explain, was the death of his first wife during childbirth,...

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