Ludwig Yehuda Wolpert was a sculptor and designer of Jewish ritual objects and was regarded as the first artist to integrate Hebrew lettering with silver ceremonial objects. He worked in a variety of materials in addition to silver—aluminum and other metals, glass, plastic, wood, and textiles. Originally from Hildesheim, Germany, Wolpert at an early age, developed an interest in art. From 1916 until 1920, he studied sculpture in Frankfurt-am-Main’s Kunstgewerbeschule, School for Arts and Crafts. After several years of independent work as a sculptor, he returned to the School of Arts and Crafts to study metalwork under a silversmith who had previously taught at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Leo Horowitz. It was then that Wolpert decided to devote himself to Jewish ceremonial art, applying the new trends of that time.
In 1935, he became a professor at the New Bezalel Academy for Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem. His teaching stressed simplicity and functional purity of design, and influenced generations of Israeli artists and craftsmen.
Ludwig Yehuda Wolpert was recognized in his time by the many commissions he received to create Judaica for synagogues, museums, and other public places, as well as from individuals to commemorate important personal events. Yesterday at the Center for Jewish History the Harry G. Friedman Society, an organization of Judaica collectors, met for a lecture and tour of Yeshiva University Museum’s exhibition Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews (closing April 27, 2014). During the meeting, one of the members, Sandy Lepelstat, mentioned that she and her husband Joe had commissioned a portrait bust of their son, David, from Ludwig Wolpert. Wolpert made two, one for himself. Lepelstat asked how she might go about finding out who has the bust Wolpert kept. Bonni-Dara Michaels, Collections Curator for Yeshiva University Museum, told the Lepelstats that the Museum owns the bust, and brought it down from storage for members to examine. In just one moment, the connection was made. There it was in front of her eyes, the bust of her thirteen year old son.