Tuesday, December 30, 2008

See you next year!

Since Betsy and I will both be out tomorrow, we wanted to wish all our readers a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2009!

Famous Holocaust Love Story Revealed to be a Hoax

Back in October, I posted about Herman and Roma Rosenblat, whose 60+ year romance that began in a German concentration camp was described by Oprah Winfrey as "the greatest love story" she had ever heard. Well, we are in good company: because Oprah was fooled and so were we.

As it turns out, Herman Rosenblat fabricated the story over 10 years ago. "Why did I do that and write the story with the girl and the apple," he said in a statement through his literary agent, "because I wanted to bring happiness to people, to remind them not to hate, but to love and tolerate all people. I brought good feelings to a lot of people, and I brought hope to many. My motivation was to make good in this world... In my dreams, Roma will always throw me an apple, but I now know it is only a dream." Berkley Books immediately canceled publication of Rosenblat's memoir, "Angel at the Fence," which was set to be released in February. A film version of the story is still in the works.

Our own Museum director, Dr. David Marwell was asked to comment on this story by CNN (story linked). "On the far extreme," he said, "something like this could give fuel to those who are in the business of denying that the Holocaust ever took place."

Monday, December 29, 2008

Testing Testing

I read a very interesting article in the New York Times today about replicating the famous Milgram study about the power of authority. Sadly, the results were very close to the original experiment, done in the 1960s, which proved that most people would obey authority figures. To get a bigger picture about what this means, I asked my favorite sociologist, (i.e. my husband) Marcus Aldredge, a PhD candidate in Sociology and a Sociology instructor at Iona College, to weigh in. I asked him to explain the cultural relevance, as he often talks about Milgram in his classes. This is what our guest blogger had to say:

Authority and the power of authority on human and group behavior is a recurring theme in the social sciences. This recent replication experiment by Jerry Berger, as stated in the New York Times article, was an attempt to test, by either replicating, revising or refuting the reliability of the results of this now legendary study conducted by Stanley Milgram in the early 1960s. Both validity and reliability of scientific results are important to any study's credence and continued relevance within the larger paradigm of scientific literature.

The rise of modern fascism, World War II, and the Holocaust ushered in a flurry of intellectual interest and social psychological research on these issues most notably: Kurt Lewin's studies on the power of different leadership styles, Solomon Ash's studies on conformity to group expectations, Philip Zimbardo's Stanford Prison experiment, and Milgram's experiments on the power of authority. Each was looking at similar issues of authority, conformity, and the power of the group and social setting on individual behaviors from slightly different angles, but they all shared a concern. This concern, for Americans, is sometimes difficult to reconcile given the cultural and political depth of our ideological individualism.

The United States since its inception has increasingly created a culture that paradoxically idealizes both conformity and individualism. Among many others, Alexis De Tocqueville in Democracy in America recognized the potentially problematic marriage of democracy (counter to a 'tyranny of the majority') and an ideology of individualism. Although we have to be careful not to induce social psychological findings to a culture en masse, these recent findings do provide a difficult reminder that social situations (and the roles assigned to different social positions) do have a power beyond and over the individual. This is especially germane and topical in light of recent events such as Abu Ghraib. With that in mind, I would recommend a mentor's recent book The Trials of Abu Ghraib. S.G Mestrovic provides a brilliant, but lamentably illuminating analysis of a pathological culture of 'anomie' (See Emile Durkheim) that was a far cry from a "few bad apples." In other words, authority played a significant role in fostering and maintaining an environment that became disastrous and dirranged for all involved.

With all this being said, the next possible step and research question may be to somehow discern how those who were screened out of Berger's study, with preexisting knowledge of Milgram's studies, would (re)act in such a situation with this 'knowledge' of the power of both authority and the situation. This should be our bigger concern.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Last Minute (and Bottom Dollar) Holiday Fun

With Hanukkah ending the begining of next week and 2008 ending on Friday, this is the last "holiday season" weekend we have until 2009. As we all know from the may reports of this being the worst retail year in decades, we're aware that everyone is still looking to save some money this season. With that in mind, Betsy and I have come up with some things one can do this holiday season for free!

Ice Skate in Bryant Park through January 25. The Pond features free admission ice skating, in addition to skate rentals, shows, special events, and activities. It's perfect for everything from a quick lunch-hour skate to a romantic date.

Looking at shop windows on 5th Avenue. I will admit: this year is the first I actual took the time to look, having dismissed it in years past as "tourist." I promise you I will be back next year. My personal favorites were those for Bergdorf Goodman (which has received mixed reviews for being "vague" or too high concept) while Betsy has preferred Henri Bendel in years past for their whimsy.

Free Saturdays at the Jewish Museum. Not to be confused with us, the Jewish Museum uptown is free to the public on Saturdays. If the windows at Bergdorf Goodman weren't trippy enough for you, you can gaze at the famously dream-like work of Chagall on display as part of their special exhibition Chagall and the Artists of the Russian-Jewish Theater, 1919-1949.
If you're a big Museum person, you can also attend free Wednesday nights at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Listen to church and temple choirs. New York church and temple choirs are unique--because the city is a cultural capital, many choirsters are far from amateurs. Professional singers, students who study at Julliard and other great music schools around the city, and retired singers join their local choruses, many of which give free performances, especially around the holidays. Check your neighborhood church and synagogue bulletins to see if there are any you can enjoy.

Grand Central Station Lights Show. Taking place every half hour in the main hall of Grand Central Terminal, this show is just fun and can even make surly commuters look up and smile for a couple minutes. When you're done, you can stick around for the Holiday Train Show to see model trains running through a beautiful holiday landscape that includes models of NYC landmarks.

Times Square on New Year's Eve. The ball drop in Times Square isn't just a New York tradition--it's a worldwide tradition. Now, according to my extensive scientific research, it is very, very cold in New York City in January. It is for this reason that I have abstained from this noble tradition in the past. However, we seem to be experiencing a bit of a warm snap, so, if you you don't mind the crowds, stop on by--it's the biggest free party you'll ever attend.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Never Again

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, humanity was faced with a terrible new word: genocide. Though the Shoah was not the first attempt to systematically and intentionally destroy a particular group, the atrocities committed in camps, ghettos, and victims' own homes prompted the world's political community to name it, define it, and prevent it from ever happening again. Unfortunately, as Darfur, the former Yugoslavia, and Rawanda show us, we still have some work to do.

A task force convened by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the American Academy of Diplomacy, and the U.S. Institute of Peace recommended in a 147-page report put out earlier this month that genocide prevention and response should be incorporated into U.S. military planning and training.

The report, penned by a committee co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, says the next U.S. president must “demonstrate at the outset that preventing genocide and mass atrocities is a national priority." In addition to the formation of a  Atrocities Prevention Committee, the report stresses that the U.S. must consider its military as a tool against genocide, particularly in regard to prevention.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage also believes that the leadership of the United States military is essential in preventing genocides in the future. The United States Service Academy Program is a dynamic three-week educational initiative in Poland created by the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation (AJCF) for a select group of cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Focusing on the Holocaust and related contemporary moral and ethical considerations, this  program provides an authentic learning experience for future military officers that extends beyond what they are taught in their Academy classrooms. These incredible men and women go on to become ambassadors of ethical behavior and responsibility to their peers.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Things to Do This Week

Growing up on the North Shore of Boston, there truly weren't many things to do on Christmas if you were Jewish. One of the other fabulous things about New York is that you have plenty of choices all week long.

While we are closing at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, I highly recommend JDub and Brooklyn Jews' 4th annual Jewltide Hanukkah Bash at Southpaw in Brooklyn. DeLeon and other indie bands will be playing to a post-Matzo Ball crowd. Donuts, gelt, and free CDs sweeten the deal.

More good news, unlike other previous years, we still have some tickets left for the Museum of Jewish Heritage's annual December 25 concerts featuring Joshua Nelson and his Kosher Gospel Choir, Frank London of the Klezmatics, and Gospel great Cissy Houston. Another bonus: these concerts are perfect for the whole family including the most persnickety grandparents and kids. Plus, they are in the afternoon, so you have plenty of time to recover from the previous evening's activities....

Happy Hanukkah to all!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Films Humbug?

Snowy days like today inspire many to go see a holiday flick. Sadly, they can't all be as good as It's a Wonderful Life. However, A.O. Scott's review of 7 Pounds in the New York Times today is almost as fun as going to the movies (it made Abby laugh out loud on the train this morning), but, buyer beware. He doesn't really recommend the film.

It might be worth Netflixing though, if you like things that are so terrible that they are actually amusing. Does anyone remember USA Up All Night? It was where B-grade films like Cannibal Women in the Avacado Jungle of Death and Return of the Killer Tomatoes ended up.

If you like your movies a little more highbrow, you'll want to check out our public program schedule for January and February. Our French film series consists of interesting films made by thoughtful directors. No jellyfish were harmed in the making of the films.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Big Birthday Year

It should be an interesting bicentennial year. On February 12, the country will celebrate the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. If you are in Washington, be sure to stop by the National Portrait Gallery's exhibition about the president. (Read the New York Times review).

While a ton has been written about Lincoln's administration and legacy, one bicentennial baby that has gotten short shrift, in our opinion, is Felix Mendelssohn. Why is this the case? Well, according to The Mendelssohn Project, a non-profit devoted to resurrecting the composer's music,"The brightly shining Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy firmament was almost totally eclipsed by the creeping nightmare of anti-Semitism, intolerance and ignorance shortly after the composer's death in the mid-19th century."

Intriguing, right? There is much more to the story. (Check out TMP website and Norman Lebrecht's article that came out yesterday). Better yet, the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Mendelssohn Project will be co-presenting a concert chock-full of world premieres. Mendelssohn: Lost Treasures and the Wagner Supression will be performed on January 28. Performers include the Shanghai Quartet and pianists Orion Weiss and Anna Polonsky. This is sure to be one of our hot tickets this season, so buy your ticket in advance.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Potato, Two Potatoes

While the winter is cold and dark, the season has a few silver linings. One is witnessing the first real snowfall, which the Communications gang did yesterday from the Museum of Jewish Heritage's board room. The board room is shaped like the bow of a ship, so we were surrounded by windows on three sides. It was just magical, like we were inside a snow globe. (Remind me of this in February when I ask if we can open a museum in the Bahamas).

The other lovely thing about winter is Hanukkah, and with Hanukkah comes the best excuse to eat fried carbs. A new book by Jayne Cohen called Jewish Holiday Cooking was recently written up in the New Jersey Jewish Standard. It had some good tips in it and some recipes for off-the-beaten-path latkes including Scallion Latkes and Chickpea Latkes. While I may have to try one of these soon, my personal favorite recipe is from Everyday Italian . To make them Parve, skip the parmesean.

If you are on South Beach or Atkins and are still reading, may I suggest celebrating the season with festive music. Joshua Nelson and his Kosher Gospel Choir will be joined by Cissy Houston and Frank London on December 25 for a joyous and fat-free concert.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Reasons to Love New York Part II

New York magazine (one of my very favorites) recently released their much anticipated 4th annual  Reasons to Love New York issue. This sparked a discussion in the Communications "pod" (of cubicles) and inspired us to ask around the Museum of Jewish Heritage and come up with our own reasons we love New York.

Public Transportation: Okay, we all complain about MTA. I have, in fact, complained about MTA on this very blog. However, where else in the world can you get anywhere you want 24 hours a day 7 days a week? From the Museum, I am within walking distance from the 1,2,3,4,5,A,E,R,W trains and several bus routes, which means that I can easily get pretty much anywhere.

"Everything comes to New York." -Joshua Kenney, Assistant Visitor Services Manager Art exhibitions, concerts, conferences, conventions, and pretty much anything else you can imagine eventually winds up in New York at some point. How many times have you seen a movie preview and gotten really excited for it only to hear at the end of the commercial "Showing in select cities!" Well, if you're not in New York or Los Angeles, you're probably out of luck. The Museum itself has recently been quite the hub for film premieres and screenings: Golden Globe nominee Defiance had several screenings in Edmond J. Safra Hall and, just last week Good premiered there as well.

Neighborhoods: I can think of few other places in the world that have as many sub cities as New York - Battery Park City, Alphabet City, Harlem, Washington Heights, Park Slope, The Village (East and West), Chelsea, Jackson Heights, Long Island City... the list goes on and on. Each street in each of these neighborhoods has its own energy, history, culture, and reputation. Exploring these neighborhoods and finding your favorite nooks ad crannies of each is a quintessential New York experience.

"There's a surprise around every corner" -Paula Mingo, Visitor Services It is perfectly possible to turn a corner and just stumble upon a huge street fair, a newly opened restaurant, or unique boutique. New York is a city of discovery: one is constantly finding new things to fall in love with. You put 8 million people in a small space, you're bound to find a bunch of them doing some interesting things...

"You can see a Broadway show on a Tuesday night." - Irene Resenly, Assistant Educator of Museum Internships A single street in New York has become synonamous with live entertainment around the world. Live theater in New York is an aspiration for millions: whether it be seeing a show or being in one. The best part about theater in the city, I think, is that it's not just limited to Broadway-- from the world-famous Apollo Theater uptown to Edmond J. Safra Hall, you can catch incredible performances all over New York.

"You can hear five languages before 9 a.m." -Me This is something I adore about New York: it is truly a world city. The Museum's Core Exhibition talks a lot about the immigrant experience and how Jews brought their languages and cultures with them wherever they went. The hundreds upon hundreds of cultures that make an appearance in New York have left their mark on its art, culture, industry, and...
"Food!" -Keika Shimmyo, Marketing Coordinator It's true. This was the most common answer I received when I asked staff members for a reason to love New York. And who can blame them? There are few other places where you can walk down a single street and have your choice of sushi, falafel, pasta, barbeque, or pad thai. Even the Museums have great food!

And, finally...
"Once you've lived in New York, everything else is just camping out." -Betsy (quoting her mom's neighbor)

Monday, December 15, 2008

In Defense of Pigeons...

Many people, including a great number of New Yorkers, hate pigeons. They are called "rats with wings," "diseased," and "dirty." Perhaps I am in the minority when I say I love these little birds: they have a silly way of walking and are shaped kind of like footballs, which amuses me; they are completely fearless; and they seem to have a real sense of purpose. One person who agreed with me was Richard Topus, who died last week at the age of 84. His obituary in the New York Times inspired this blog.
The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Richard was born in Brooklyn in 1924.Growing up, he fell in love with the local sport of choice--pigeon racing. Though his parents would not allow him to keep pigeons of his own, Topus learned how to handle the birds from some neighborhood men, two of whom had been pigeoneers in World War I. With technological advances such as the telephone and telegraphs, many thought the day of the carrier pigeon relating important messages over enemy lines was over: not so (I'll bet those naysayers were in the "We hate pigeons" camp, too.) While technology has its benefits, it has its drawbacks as well: phonelines can be taped, radio signals can be intercepted or even triangulated to determine the sender's location. Flying up to a mile a minute, pigeons were able to go places human messengers could not, and quickly.
Because of his training on Brooklyn rooftops, Richard was able to serve his country by teaching others how to use pigeons to relay messages in Europe and in the Pacific theater. After the war, Richard got his Masters in Marketing and worked for Friendship Food Products. Their mascot? You guessed it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pod People

This week the Museum of Jewish Heritage presented a really interesting program entitled Irène Némirovsky and The Jewish question.

Ruth Franklin, an editor at The New Republic; Susan Suleiman, professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University; and Maurice Samuels, professor of French at Yale University left no stone unturned as they tackled some really tough questions posed by Gabriel Sanders from Nextbook.

Normally, we would say that "you had to be there." But in this case, we invite you to listen to the podcast of the program, and, of course, to come see Woman of Letters: Irène Némirovsky and Suite Française, the exhibition that inspired this and many of our other programs.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Your Second Chance for Inheritance

On December 1, the Museum held a screening of the powerful new documentary Inheritance, which tells the story of Monika Hertwig, the daughter of mass murderer Amon Goeth, and her emotional meeting with Helen Jonas, who was enslaved by Goeth and who is one of the few living eyewitnesses to his unspeakable brutality. This screening, which was followed by a conversation with director James Moll, Hertwig, and Jonas, was a sold-out event. The film, produced by PBS's P.O.V. series, premiered last night at 9 p.m.

If you missed the screening and were unable to catch the premiere, or if you just want to see it again, Inheritance is available online from now until January 4. I know what you're thinking "That's great, but I also really wanted to see the post-screening interview." P.O.V. has got you covered.

The whole site is definitely worth exploring, including special gallery featuring haunting images of the Plazow forced labor camp. Museum director David Mawell will be providing commentary to accompany these images in the future, so be sure to check back.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Meet the Neighbors

This post is from Abby, our guest blogger. The image is of the future plans for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

On February 4 we will be co-sponsoring a program with the National September 11 Memorial and Museum . The program, called Regarding the Pain of Others, will look at representations of atrocity and how people react or fail to react to them. It promises to be a powerful program and another opportunity to explore the relationship between tragedy, memory, and contemporary society.

We met with colleagues from the 9/11 Museum yesterday at their offices. We discussed outreach for the program, how to generate an audience, what resources could be shared, and we talked about the state of culture downtown. I am pleased to have them as neighbors and colleagues. Creating a memorial and museum to commemorate such acts of unadulterated evil when so little time has passed since those events is a monumental undertaking that by its nature has to be fluid.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage opened in 1997, the USHMM opened in 1993, 50 years after the end of the war, but the idea of a memorial in Israel was under consideration when World War II was still being fought. According to the Yad Vashem website, it was first proposed in September 1942 at a board meeting of the Jewish National Fund by Mordecai Shenhavi, a member of Kibbutz Mishmar ha-Emek. He proposed creating a memorial to the Holocaust and to Jews who fought in the allied armies. The first buildings at Yad Vashem opened to the public in 1957.

Regardless of whether or not distance from an event is necessary or even preferable before plunging into the memorialization process is not my argument to make. As a person who viewed much of 2001 through 2006 through the prism of 9/11 I absolutely see the necessity to create a memorial and a museum now. And as a professional who works at a Holocaust memorial and museum I see the wisdom of allowing intervening years to inform the process. Of course the world is a different place and no one would allow 50 years to pass before honoring a tragedy of such dimension.

The offices of the 9/11 Museum are across the street from the World Trade Center site. They are perched, along with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, on the 20th floor of a skyscraper and when our meeting concluded we were invited to walk over to the floor to ceiling windows and look down on the site. I had been to many meetings at LMDC in the months and years just after 2001 and at that time the area was a giant grave site. It could not be confused for anything else. But yesterday, seeing the steel for the museum in place, the outline of the Freedom Tower, and of course the bustling movement of construction equipment and materials being moved down the ramp, it was a transformed space. One does not see all of this progress from ground level, the true expanse of the work can only be seen from the offices of the LMDC and the 9/11 Museum. And that is probably fine – the work happening on the site is daily evidence of what the future will bring, and hope for the future is certainly what inspires both organizations to do our work each and every day.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday Shopping: Museum Style

And it is upon us: the one time of year when shopping is completely guilt-free. Hanukkah starts December 21 this year-- so you all have about two weeks...

I will be accomplishing some of my holiday shopping at the Pickman Museum Shop, conveniantly located four floors down from my desk in the Museum lobby. The Shop offers a wide variety of Judaica, jewelry, books and music, and toys for children, as well as gifts related to the Museum’s educational mission.

Not to be outdone by the marvels of big internet shopping boutiques, you can make your Shop purchases online. Remember, Members receive a 15% discount on Museum publications and other items and Patron members receive 20%. If you are ordering online, just be sure to email Warren to have this discount applied.

Even though I am supposed to be shopping for other people, rest assured I will linger in my favorite section of the store, because, really, who doesn't like sparkly things designed by Michal Negrin? Should I fall prey to said sparklies, selfishly buying for myself, I shall soothe my guilt with the knowledge that proceeds from merchandise sold through the shop benefit the Museum and its educational programs. So, really, it's still a mitzvah, right?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Black Dogs in Mississippi

Happy Monday, readers!

And speaking of reading, the Museum is holding its staff book club this Thursday. The December pick is a personal favorite of mine: Ian McEwan's Black Dogs. I first encountered this gem in a college course called "Art of the Novella" and thought its themes of memory and WWII Europe would be perfect for discussion. It is among the lesser known of McEwan's works (Atonement is probably his most famous) and among his shortest-- it's only 149 pages.

Film club will not be held until January, but we recently chose Ghosts of Mississippi. Based on a true story, the film follows the murder trial of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Whoopi Goldberg plays Evers' widow, who allies with District Attorney Bobby DeLaughters (Alec Baldwin) to bring Bryon De La Beckwith (James Woods) to justice after 30 years and two hung juries.

Read Black Dogs? Seen Ghosts of Mississippi? Have an opinion? Let us know what you think via blog comments.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Back to Science Class

Okay, so usually I avoid the science section of the newspaper. It just reminds me of my worst subject in high school--chemistry. However, "Gene Test Shows Spain's Jewish and Muslim Mix," in today's science section of the New York Times is fascinating. Apparently, researchers now believe that 20 percent of the population of the Iberian Peninsula has Sephardic Jewish genes (and 11 percent has Muslim DNA). This is new evidence of the mass conversion of Jews and Muslims in 15th and 16th century Spain. We will probably never know how many more Jews chose to leave.
Read the article for all the scientific details and for more evidence visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage. On display in our Core Exhibition is an original letter from Ferdinand and Isabella ordering the expulsion of the Jews.
It will be interesting to see what else scientists and historians can figure out about this period by working together.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This One's On Us...

Breaking News: the United States is in a recession. You heard it here first.
Okay, so you probably (definitely) didn't hear it here first, but still, the economy, and in many cases, our wallets, have seen happier days. Holiday shopping and end of year expenses make this a particularly tight season for a lot of people, so, understandably, spending money on our own entertainment and outings takes a back seat.
But, as it has been for about five years now, every Wednesday, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m., the Museum and all its exhibitions are free to the public with suggested donation. That includes the Core Exhibition, Woman of Letters, Andy Goldsworthy's Garden of Stones, the Pickman Museum Shop, the Heritage Café (until 7 p.m.), and our latest exhibition The Shooting of Jews in Ukraine: Holocaust by Bullets.
Oh no, thank you for coming...
The real winners, though, are the Museum members, for whom admission is free every day. Members also receive invitations to exclusive events, guided tour opportunities, discounts in the Museum shop and Heritage café, a subscription to the Museum’s newsletter, discounted or free admission to programs in Edmond J. Safra Hall, guest passes for friends and family, and much more. It's a really great, cost-effective, tax-deductible investment and, of course, allows the Museum to continue its mission of remembrance. To learn more about becoming a Museum member, call our good friend Joe at 646.437.4334 or email membership@mjhnyc.org.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Not Quite Kermit...

When I first heard about Fabrik: The Legend of M. Rabinowitz, the puppet drama that will be performed at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on Sunday, December 7th, I had never heard anything like it. I grew up on Muppets and though these endearing Henson creations can certainly touch upon serious issues (Sesame Street has tackled everything from death, to pregnancy and childbirth, to AIDS) they are still, like most puppets, aimed primarily at children. While Fabrik is a "puppet show" in the strictest sense, it's not what comes to mind; it's serious theater aimed at ages 12 and up and exmaines the life of a man who faced oppression, anti-Semitism, and death. Not exactly Fraggle Rock material. I did not think I would hear of such a performance any time soon.
So when I saw Monday's New York Times, I was very surprised to read about another drama that utilizes puppets: The Very Sad Story of Ethel & Julius, Lovers and Spyes, and About Their Untymelie End While Sitting in a Small Room at the Correctional Facility in Ossining New York (say that three times fast). A cast of 10 live actors, several teddy bears who are manipulated to depict the Rosenbergs’ two young sons and Ethel’s brothers, and two Rosenberg look-alike marionettes in twin electric chairs bring the infamous and still controversial trial and execution to the stage. The show, to quote the Times "is fundamentally about manipulation. Someone is always pulling the strings, whether the actors are real people or puppets."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

New Podcast of Sold Out Program

If you were one of the many people who were not able to obtain tickets to Father Patrick Desbois' sold-out discussion of his investigations and discoveries related to the fate of Jews in Ukraine, be sure to check out the podcast of the program on the Museum of Jewish Heritage's website.

While we will try to add more and more podcasts in the future, the best way to experience one of our public programs is to attend them in person. Our best advice is to buy tickets as soon as you hear about a program that interests you. The early bird gets the tickets, unlike the several people who called me yesterday afternoon looking for tickets to last night's film screening. We hate disappointing potential audience members, so please keep in mind that many of our programs sell out well in advance. If you have any questions about how many tickets we have left for a certain program, call the box office at 646.437.4202.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Online Collection Cometh

This post is from our guest blogger, Allison, who handles new media for our Education Department. I apologize for not crediting her yesterday.

More than 1,000 visitors from around the world have visited the Museum’s Online Collection since it launched on our website last month. The idea for the Online Collection began about a decade ago when Trustee Judah Gribetz suggested that we post the Museum’s collection online allowing anyone anywhere to experience our artifacts, which include objects that have been on constant rotation in the Museum and the treasures that we have never had the opportunity to display. Over time the idea of the Online Collection has expanded. For example, we know that visitors to the Museum want to know more about the people who have donated artifacts to the Museum. To meet this need, we made it easy to see other objects donated by the same family as well as other objects that reflect similar themes. This capability is only one part of the online viewing experience. Visitors to the online collection can also zoom into the images of our artifacts which makes it easier to read the fine print on a Ketubbah (marriage contract) or see the embroidery on a Chuppah (wedding canopy) used in countless wedding ceremonies at Displaced Persons camps after the war.

The Online Collection is an ongoing work-in-progress. We are continuously adding new artifact descriptions written by Museum staff, new artifacts, and new images. As the website continues to grow we hope that you will contribute feedback on how you use the website, what new features you want to see us implement and what changes would make it even easier for you to use the website. In the future we would like to add new functionality which may include the ability for visitors to send e-cards to friends or the opportunity for teachers to make a slideshow of artifacts to show their class. Click here to browse the Collection.