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Opalka Gallery Director Elizabeth Greenberg to Lead “Synagogue Scholars” Talk on Jews in the Garment Industry

B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation continues its popular “Synagogue Scholars” series with a talk by Elizabeth Greenberg, director of the Opalka Gallery at the Sage Colleges in Albany, on the impact and influence of American Jewry on the fashion industry.

Greenberg will present her talk immediately following the congregation’s Friday, December 16, Shabbat service. The service and program, open to all who wish to worship and learn, begin at 8 p.m. B’nai Sholom is located at 420 Whitehall Road, Albany, New York.

To understand the schmatte business, or “rag trade” as it is playfully called, one must realize the role American Jews have played in designing, altering and literally stitching together the whole business. From the early 19th century immigrants seeking success in America, to tailors and peddlers, pressers and cutters, designers and manufacturers, models and moguls, it was an industry that helped propel the American economy as it launched the livelihood of tens of thousands of American Jews.

Greenberg will share her research from her prior experience as assistant curator at Yeshiva University Museum on the exhibition A Perfect Fit: The Garment Industry and American Jewry 1860-1960. Trained as a fashion historian at the Courtauld Institute of Art and the Fashion Institute of Technology, she was the curator of fine arts at Siena College before assuming her current role in September 2013. Greenberg holds a master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art, a master’s degree in museum studies from the Fashion Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in history from Dartmouth College.

Begun in 2004, the “Synagogue Scholars” series spotlights individuals in the Capital Region Jewish community who are recognized scholars in their fields.

For more information about the “Synagogue Scholars” series, visit or contact the B’nai Sholom office at or phone 518-482-5283.


Founded in 1971, B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany is a home for contemporary Reform Judaism in the Capital Region. Nearly 130 diverse households from eight counties seek religious, educational and social fulfillment at B’nai Sholom. For information about B’nai Sholom and the benefits of belonging, visit or contact the B’nai Sholom office at 518-482-5283 or


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