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Jewish History

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.
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
September 28, 2011 | By Anthony Campisi, Inquirer Staff Writer
Nearly a year after its celebrity-packed opening, the National Museum of American Jewish History has sharply reduced its attendance expectations and stepped up the call for donations to support its day-to-day operations. The slumping economy and a cold, snowy launch season combined to depress ticket sales at the $142 million gallery overlooking Independence Mall. In addition, officials say, the initial projection of 250,000 visitors annually was unrealistic. They have set a new benchmark of 125,000, which they anticipate reaching by the first anniversary on Nov. 26. The good news on the eve of the High Holidays - starting at sundown Wednesday with Rosh Hashanah - is that attendance has been trending up, according to museum chief executive officer and president Michael Rosenzweig.
NEWS
April 21, 2011 | By Daniel Rubin, Inquirer Columnist
When you told someone you were from Marshall and Porter, you were saying you grew up around the brown-brick building where Eddie Fisher sang in the chorus, where the elders played gin rummy, and young guns learned to arc two-handed set shots under impossibly low ceilings. Today this hub of the downtown universe is called the Jacob and Ethel Stiffel Senior Center, but it was born 83 years ago as the Jewish Education Center No. 2, a safe, comfortable haven for the vibrant community of immigrants from Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 13, 2011 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Culture Writer
Ivy L. Barsky, deputy director of New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, has been named museum director and chief operating officer of the National Museum of American Jewish History, in Philadelphia. Museum officials cited Barsky's "depth of experience and passion for her work" in announcing the appointment to the museum, which moved last fall to a new Market Street facility across from Independence Mall. "She will bring an important voice as we create new exhibitions and continue to develop our education programs," museum cochairs George M. Ross and Ronald Rubin and president and chief executive Michael Rosenzweig said in a joint statement.
TRAVEL
April 3, 2011 | Associated Press
SHANGHAI - Not far from the Bund district, with its hordes of tourists and view of the city's famous skyscrapers across the Huangpu River, is a quiet neighborhood called Hongkou. Walk here along Zhoushan Road and you'll stumble on a sign that designates an otherwise unremarkable building at No. 59 as a landmark. "During the World War II, a number of Jewish refugees lived in this house, among whom is Michael Blumenthal, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury of the Carter Government," the sign reads in imperfect English.
NEWS
November 15, 2010
" Deprived as we heretofore have been of the invaluable rights of free citizens, we now (with a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty disposer of all events) behold a Government, erected by the Majesty of the People - a Government, which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance. THE WORDS ARE mounted on the wall of the fourth floor of the National Museum of American Jewish History, the floor dedicated to "Foundation and Freedom, 1654-1880. " The museum is smartly organized with the earliest Colonial history on the top floor, allowing visitors to move forward in time as they descend translucent steps on blond wood staircases.
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...
NEWS
November 13, 2010 | By TOM ROWAN JR., rowant@phillynews.com 215-854-5926
Only in America could the Jewish people make something of themselves, said Sheila Newman, of Montgomery County. And now, only in Philadelphia, is there a museum to share the Jewish people's experiences with the country. "It's the history of Jews coming from everywhere in the world and coming to America," Newman said of the National Museum of American Jewish History, which celebrates its grand opening this weekend. "If you are Jewish like we are, this gives you such a feeling of pride to see this.
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