The Museum Jewish Heritage in New York is very important to each of us, and, to the world.
It’s impossible to describe what it does to your soul when you enter the incredibly beautiful building so close to the East River you feel as if the building floats.
Many places to rest and reflect – Photo: Ellen Eichelbaum
Anchoring the southernmost tip of Manhattan, the Museum of Jewish Heritage completes the cultural and educational landscape it shares with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Across the water, Lady Liberty lifts her lamp and Ellis Island marks the gateway through which millions flowed into this country seeking refuge. The Museum’s meaningful location inspires its mission.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage is a public, American institution with strong Jewish roots. The Core building’s six-sided shape and six-tiered, louvered roof rising 85 feet in the air are reminders of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. They are also reminiscent of the six-pointed Star of David, symbolizing the Museum’s commitment to representing Jewish life and culture as it has endured and evolved.
To the north of the Museum, the buildings of the new World Trade Center gleam—reminders, etched into the New York City skyline, of a collective responsibility to remember and renew.
The Statue of Liberty Menorah – Photo: Ellen Eichelbaum
The Museum’s website is so beautifully designed and it is so informative that any review I can write could never cover what is currently on display at the Museum. The website will give you every program and exhibit that is currently on display.
Yet, what I can do is give our readers my personal perspective on my recent visit to this iconic building.
The moment you enter you are already prepared to spend most of the day reading stories of many survivors, viewing negatives that were taken over 60 years ago and were buried in the dirt and later found, and developed.
Many stories of survivors on display – Photo: Ellen Eichelbaum
It has recently been noted that 22% of all Millennials don’t know there was a Holocaust. This a shock. This cannot be. My grandparents and their entire families came from Russia and Poland. Is it the fault of our schools? Yes, in a great part our educational system needs to recognize the event that changed so much of our world. But, more importantly, this education needs to be embedded in the hearts and souls of today’s younger generation. If they put their electronic devices down, a whole world will open up to them. How sad that so much culture and history is missed.
While you are there take few precious moments to experience this HBO new documentary:
The Numbers on my Grandfather’s Arm
This short family film, presented with the Museum of Jewish Heritage, introduces Holocaust history to a new generation. When 10-year-old Elliott asks his 90-year-old great-grandfather, Jack, about the number tattooed on his arm, he sparks an intimate conversation about Jack’s life that spans happy memories of childhood in Poland, the loss of his family, surviving Auschwitz, and finding a new life in America. Their tender exchange is woven with historical footage and hand-painted animation to tell a heartbreaking story of Jewish life in Eastern Europe before and during the Holocaust.
With Ancestry.com and 23andme.com millions of us are finding out our ancestors didn’t come from where we originally had thought. All of a sudden, they might find out they have Polish heritage. And then, maybe going back far enough, one of their relatives could have been in a concentration camp. It would be good for them to know what a concentration camp was.
It pleased me to see several school-aged kids come into the museum, all from different backgrounds. Maybe they left with a different view of the Holocaust and how it has affected Jews and non-Jews all over the world.
In our world of interfaith marriages, my daughter being in one herself, I see so much of my religion slipping away. I talk to the kids about growing up Jewish and make sure they observe the holidays and know WHY we celebrate. Then I go to their school plays and the playbill has maybe two Jewish kids. I asked my grandson one day ‘how many of his classmates celebrate both Hanukkah and Passover and he said, “one, I think.’
I have a niece, Jessy Gross Dressin, who is a Rabbi at JCC in Baltimore. She concentrates on making sure our young adults learn about their heritage. She arranges ‘theme’ holidays which attracts many, many young people. We need more of that. I believe she is making real strides in her work.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage will move you in many ways; mostly to tears. I have been in other Holocaust Museums, such as the one in D.C. Each time I leave I feel proud to be who I am, yet I always cry.
Photo: Ellen Eichelbaum – courtesy Shoah Foundation Project
You will experience the incredible work of The Shoah Foundation, created by Steven Spielberg and a host of supporters working to make sure we keep the Holocaust alive.
Coming to life: Two survivors’ stories – Photo: Ellen Eichelbaum
It’s difficult to express how I felt when viewing the ‘live’ survivor display, which is the first of it’s kind in the world, premiering at the Holocaust Museum. It has 2 survivors (live-like), on 2 screens where you can ask them any questions you like and they will respond specifically to your questions.
All around you are trees and water and reflective pools and beautiful greenery with benches. There you can absorb everything you see, or if you wish, and you will, to take an emotional break, you can sit and just ‘think’ about what you have taken in. Maybe you might want to take a quick eating break and visit LOX, the in-museum restaurant .
Holocaust Museums should be on the list of ‘things you must see before you die.’ Because, without history, we have nothing.
Remember: NEVER FORGET….
Currently, Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish is playing for a limited time. It is a MUST SEE!
Please visit The Museum of Jewish Heritage: All information regarding hours and fees are below. For less than the price of a movie ticket you may just experience a life-changing day.
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
* Note that our hours change during these times:
From November 9, 2018 through March 15, 2019, we will be open from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Fridays.
Last admission to the Museum is 30 minutes prior to closing time.
Closed Saturdays, major Jewish holidays, and Thanksgiving
September 9, 2018, Erev Rosh Hashanah
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
September 10, 2018, Rosh Hashanah (1st Day)
September 11, 2018, Rosh Hashanah (2nd Day)
$10 Seniors (65 and older)
Free for: Museum members, children age 12 and younger, NYC public school students, and active duty military personnel
Admission is free for everyone with donations welcome on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 PM to 8 PM.
Admission is free for our nation’s active-duty military personnel and up to five family members from May 25 – September 3, 2018, as part of the Blue Star Museums program.
For more information about creating a meaningful experience for groups, young learners, and school visits, please check out Families & Group Visits.
Edmond J. Safra Plaza
36 Battery Place
New York, NY 10280