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Jewish Historical Society and Skirball Museum Forge Relationship

AASLH Member Since 1990
and 2014 Leadership in History Award Winner

© Ori Resheff

As part of an historic agreement between the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington (JHSGW) and Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), artifacts in the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum Collection will be on long-term loan to JHSGW for display in its new museum of D.C.-area Jewish history (opening 2020-2022).

 

Artifacts include:

  • Typewriter used by longtime D.C. sports reporter Shirley Povich, and a sculpture of Povich created by Philip Ratner;
  • Seder plate by silversmith Richard Fishman, gift of Joseph H. and Olga Hirshhorn, who donated their collection of modern art to form the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden;
  • Sculpture by Sy Gresser of Martin Buber’s famed philosophic work I and Thou;
  • Monumental sculpture of a Jewish spice box by Works Progress Administration artist Leon Bibel, which JHSGW will feature in the family gallery of its new museum;
  • Ancient incantation bowls and 15th-century BCE Hittite fertility figure unearthed in Israel, gift of Lloyd & Jeanne Raport;
  • Torah ark carving from the former Lemberger Shul in the Lower East Side, which has since been repurposed as a church.

The remainder of the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum Collection has been transferred to the Skirball Museum in Cincinnati housed at HUC-JIR. The Skirball, one of the oldest repositories of Jewish cultural artifacts in America, is on the same campus as The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, which holds the archival records of B’nai B’rith International.

“This agreement is historic for American Jewish museums,” said JHSGW Executive Director Laura Apelbaum. “It sets a foundation for future collaboration with the Skirball Museum and B’nai B’rith International that we hope will be a model for how Jewish organizations and museums can, together, provide opportunities for communities to learn from their shared cultural legacy.”

Through the years, community members throughout the Washington area donated time, energy, and artifacts to enhance the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum Collection. “This agreement honors that relationship by allowing us to showcase artifacts in the collection related to our community,” added Apelbaum.

About JHSGW: The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington explores the unique Jewish heritage of Washington as a hometown and as the nation’s capital. For more information, please contact JHSGW Director of Collections, Wendy Turman at (202) 789-0090 or visit www.jhsgw.org.

 

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