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American Jewish History

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ENTERTAINMENT
November 25, 2011
Perhaps the stickiest issue of all surrounding the opening of the National Museum of American Jewish History last November was whether it would be open on Saturdays. On the one hand, Saturday is potentially the best-attended day of the week for any such institution. But on the other hand, it is also the Sabbath day for observant Jews; operating Saturday could be perceived as a sign of disrespect. But in Solomon-like fashion, a compromise was conjured: The museum is open Saturday, but because Jewish law prohibits cash transactions on Sabbath, tickets must either be purchased in advance, or with credit cards at the museum (the transactions are posted electronically the next day)
NEWS
December 17, 2003 | By Douglas J. Keating INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
With a $5 million gift from Comcast-Spectacor chairman Edward M. Snider, the National Museum of American Jewish History announced yesterday that it had reached the halfway point of its $100 million campaign to construct a new museum building on Independence Mall. Snider's gift, combined with a $25 million campaign-opening donation from philanthropist Sidney Kimmel and two dozen smaller pledges from museum trustees and others, has enabled the fund drive to achieve half its goal in a little more than a year.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 25, 2011 | BY CHUCK DARROW, darrowc@phillynews.com 215-313-3134
THE CONFEDERATE States of America and Albert Einstein. The post-World War II migration to the suburbs and the Marx Brothers. Covered wagons and Sandy Koufax. These seemingly random things and names are inter-connected. For they - and countless other people, places and events - are part of the 350-year history of Jews in America. Until last Thanksgiving weekend, museums devoted to aspects of Jews and Judaism tended to be either Holocaust-based or devoted to historical artifacts.
NEWS
July 22, 2010 | By Tom Stoelker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Last month, New York media artist Ben Rubin got the go-ahead to produce an LED light sculpture to be placed atop the new National Museum of American Jewish History on Independence Mall, set to open in November. Conceived by architect James Polshek as an 8-foot-high flame emerging from an opening in the building's glass envelope, the sculpture uses a series of lights that will gently flicker five stories above the southeast corner of Fifth and Market Streets. Polshek, 80, of Ennead Architects (until recently Polshek Partnership Architects)
NEWS
November 15, 2010 | By Howard Shapiro, Inquirer Staff Writer
More than 1,000 donors and others looked on as the new National Museum of American Jewish History officially became a reality in an opening ceremony along a sun-splashed Independence Mall on Sunday. The ceremony, which lasted little more than an hour, featured Vice President Biden and others, plus 50 shofar blowers, members of the Philadelphia Singers, and a rabbi who affixed a mezuzah - a handwritten prayer sheathed in a decorative casing - to the side of the museum's front doorway.
NEWS
November 14, 2010 | By Melissa Dribben, Inquirer Staff Writer
In the 1960s, a popular national ad campaign showed miscellaneous people - a wizened American Indian, a Chinese elder, Buster Keaton, an Irish cop, an angel-faced African American boy - biting into a luscious deli sandwich, with the caption: "You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's real Jewish rye. " The gist of that message - that the integration of Jews in America has helped shape the culture - is a founding principle of the new National Museum...
ENTERTAINMENT
September 27, 1998 | By Julia M. Klein, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The postmodernist says: History is not one story, but many stories. And even a single tale can be told from many perspectives. But in a museum setting, where visitors may lack the time or patience to decode complex texts and displays, postmodernist narrative techniques raise obvious difficulties. How can such an approach to history be made clear and compelling? How can many stories be told as well as a single, overarching one? The National Museum of American Jewish History deserves credit for grappling with this dilemma in its newly installed core exhibition, "Creating American Jews" - even if, in the end, it doesn't succeed in resolving it. While it is meticulously researched and, in some ways, quite beautiful, the exhibition bogs down in a morass of textual detail, confusing displays and a nonlinear narrative that is a chore to follow.
NEWS
September 30, 2005 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
For most of his life, whenever Peter H. Schweitzer browsed flea markets and antique shops, he would pause lovingly over stuff others ignored. They were tchotchkes - Yiddish for bric-a-brac - nothing more. But to Schweitzer they were tiny milestones of Jewish American history, symbols of transformation from immigrants to citizens, players in U.S. society. And irresistible. Last night, Schweitzer, a 52-year-old New York social worker and rabbi, formally handed over his collection - 10,000 items accumulated over a quarter-century - to its new home: the National Museum of American Jewish History on Independence Mall.
LIVING
March 31, 1996 | By Lini S. Kadaba, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
At age 17, Eva Baen left behind all she knew for a dream. It was not just any dream she intended to capture. It was the American Dream. She came to Philadelphia about 1913, leaving behind a comfortable home and her parents in Russia. She settled on North Fifth Street in her uncle's home and worked in a shirtwaist factory, spending hard, long hours stitching blouses. "She never groaned or complained about it. She . . . loved life. She had come from a family that was rather well to do. [But]
NEWS
March 12, 2014
A story Tuesday about the National Museum of American Jewish History misstated the job title of Josh Perelman. He is the museum's chief curator and director of exhibitions and collections.
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NEWS
March 12, 2014
A story Tuesday about the National Museum of American Jewish History misstated the job title of Josh Perelman. He is the museum's chief curator and director of exhibitions and collections.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 7, 2013 | By Terri Akman, For The Inquirer
What did the turkey say to the Maccabee? You think YOU got problems?     Happy Thanksgivukkah! Nope, it's not yet another way to misspell Hanukkah. This holiday card greeting, written by Karen Coleman and sold at the National Museum of American Jewish History gift shop, was created for the once-in-a-lifetime (or, 700 lifetimes) phenomenon that has Thanksgiving and Hanukkah sharing the same table this month. Not only has the collision of menorahs and turkeys given rise to many a marketing opportunity - menurkeys, liberty & latke T-shirts, salutations ( Gobble tov!
NEWS
August 23, 2013 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
Even now, 20 years after she left Ukraine as a refugee for religious freedom as a Jew in America, Yana Chernov's Russian accent ripples. At "Stories Worth Sharing," the first in a planned series of neighborhood conversations on immigration, held Wednesday at the National Museum of American Jewish History, Chernov described the crib sheet she carried at first to make herself understood: "My name is Yana," she would say. "How can I get a bus?"...
ENTERTAINMENT
June 25, 2013
"WITNESS: The Art of Jerry Pinkney" headlines Art Splash, a new, multishow, integrated, family-centric summertime exhibit at the Perelman Building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Pinkney's work joins "Candy Coated Wonderland," an environment of textiles from the museum's costume collection, alongside playful ceramics and geometric decals by ever-fun Philadelphia artist Candy Depew. "Family Portrait" offers a photographic view of families, while "All Dressed Up" is a side-by-side comparison of adult and children's fashion.
NEWS
February 24, 2013 | By Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
Phyllis Foster Yusem, 87, of Center City, a founding member of the pioneering YM-YWHA Arts Council in Philadelphia, died Thursday, Feb. 21, after being hospitalized for pneumonia. Mrs. Yusem was an adventurous world traveler, visiting more than 75 countries, including Cambodia and Yemen. She was born in Cape May and moved to Merion in the 1930s. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's College for Women in 1947 with a bachelor's degree in English literature. While at Penn, she met her future husband, Howard R. Yusem.
NEWS
January 27, 2013
Museumgoers will have the opportunity to brush up on a lot of dramatic American history around town this spring, with major exhibitions and events covering the Civil War, U.S. spycraft, the countercultural epicenter of 1968, the antilynching writer Ida B. Wells, and the black presence on the Delaware River - as both cargo and seafarers. In addition, the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, which originally blasted through town two years ago, is back for a month from the end of March to the end of April.
NEWS
December 3, 2012 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Culture Writer
The National Museum of American Jewish History, whose enormous new facility on Independence Mall opened with much optimism and fanfare two years ago, is struggling to find its voice and its audience. With 126,000 visitors in 2011 and declines in this year's first quarter, attendance has not come close to original expectations of 250,000 annually. The flurry of grand-opening hoopla in late 2010 and early 2011 has faded, taking the attention of visitors and their dollars elsewhere.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 29, 2012 | By Stephan Salisbury and INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
One of the most significant documents in the history of Jews in the New World will go on display Friday at the National Museum of American Jewish History as part of the museum's first special exhibition, To Bigotry No Sanction: George Washington and Religious Freedom.   "What was at the forefront of 18th-century debate," said Josh Perelman, the museum's chief curator and director of exhibitions, "is still relevant today, a time when religion is a topic of wide civic discussion, a time when there is a Mormon presidential candidate.
NEWS
June 13, 2012 | Inquirer Editorial
The years-long campaign to launch a museum in Philadelphia honoring the soldiers of "America's original ‘greatest generation' " reaches another milestone Tuesday. Having secured a prime location two years ago at Third and Chestnut Streets in the city's historic district, the museum planned by the American Revolution Center now has a dignified, red-brick design by renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern that should offer visitors an inviting setting both day and night, given its distinctive, lighted cupola.
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