President Shimon Peres Lays the Cornerstone for the New Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot

Beit Hatfutsot welcomed Israel’s President Shimon Peres for a special event to lay the cornerstone for the new Museum of the Jewish People. The museum is currently undergoing a comprehensive renovation, and the laying of the cornerstone marked an important milestone in the process of its renewal.

Approximately 400 guests from Israel and abroad, including 100 students and young adults, arrived to mark the historic laying of the cornerstone for the new museum, scheduled to open in 2017. The evening was also an opportunity to thank the guest of honor, His Excellency President Shimon Peres, for his lifelong efforts and commitment in service of the Jewish People.

 

Irina Nevzlin Kogan, Chair of the Board of Directors of Beit Hatfutsot, said, “Throughout his life President Peres has dedicated himself to the entire Jewish People. His remarkable story makes him the natural choice to lay the cornerstone for the new Museum, which will inspire and connect the Jewish People in Israel and around the world.”

“The laying of the cornerstone for the new museum is a unique opportunity to thank President Peres for his enormous contribution and his lifelong efforts for the Jewish People,” said Dan Tadmor, CEO of Beit Hatfutsot.

During his remarks at the event, President Peres said: “The Museum of the Jewish People brings together Jews from across the world, allowing us to gather together and celebrate our history and culture. I’m proud to support this iconic institution and its important future”.

President Peres was presented with a unique gift – a leather parchment displaying his family tree, specially created by the artist Ira Obolski. Obolski was able to draw upon research that Beit Hatfutsot had undertaken into President Peres’ family, with the assistance of the President’s daughter, Dr. Zvia Valdan.

The audience had the opportunity to enjoy a short film produced exclusively for this event, showcasing the President’s life story and his contribution to Jewish communities around the world. The evening’s program also included performances by a children’s choir from Holon, the renowned Israeli singer Harel Skaat and leading choreographer and dancer Ido Tadmor.

Guests also enjoyed a first glimpse of Beit Hatfutsot’s new core exhibit, which was beamed on to the outside walls of the museum. The new core exhibit of The Museum of the Jewish People will take visitors on a fascinating journey of Jewish life from biblical times until today, with an increased emphasis on contemporary Jewish life and modern expressions of Jewish identity. The museum will inspire a sense of belonging and identification with the Jewish people and enable any Jew to find his or her own personal narrative within the shared Jewish story.

Following the cornerstone event, the next milestone in the museum’s multi-stage renewal project will take place at end of 2014, with the launch of Beit Hatfutsot Online. This interactive tool will make the use of Beit Hatfutsot’s extensive research databases, accessible to any user, anytime, anywhere. President Peres was the first person to enjoy the use of this system, by creating and uploading his own family tree from his residence via his own computer.

By the summer of 2015, the public will also be able to enjoy the renovated Synagogue Gallery, displaying models of various synagogues from around the world through the use of immersive multimedia technology

President Shimon Peres, Irina Nevzlin Kogan, the "Stage Center" children from Holon

President Shimon Peres, Irina Nevzlin Kogan, the “Stage Center” children from Holon

President Shimon Peres and Irina Nevzlin Kogan (Chair of the Board of Directors, Beit Hatfutsot)

President Shimon Peres and Irina Nevzlin Kogan (Chair of the Board of Directors, Beit Hatfutsot)

Amb. Al Moses, Dan Tadmor (CEO Beit Hatfutsot), President Shimon Peres

Amb. Al Moses, Dan Tadmor (CEO Beit Hatfutsot), President Shimon Peres

Amb. Al Moses and President Shimon Peres, holding the unique family tree made for President Peres at Beit Hatfutsot, created by the artist Ira Obolsky

Amb. Al Moses and President Shimon Peres, holding the unique family tree made for President Peres at Beit Hatfutsot, created by the artist Ira Obolsky

[FURTHER DETAILS ABOUT THE FAMILY TREE]
Dr. Zvia and Dr. Rafi Valdan

Leonid Nevzlin, Chemi Peres

Leonid Nevzlin, Chemi Peres

Sergio, Kuky and  Mariella Grosskopf (Businessman and contributor to Beit Hatfutsot's educational project "My Family Story")

Sergio, Kuky and Mariella Grosskopf (Businessman and contributor to Beit Hatfutsot’s educational project “My Family Story”)

Younes, Soraya and Dr. Sharon Nazarian

Younes, Soraya and Dr. Sharon Nazarian

Irina Nevzlin Kogan, Leonid Nevzlin

Irina Nevzlin Kogan, Leonid Nevzlin

Amb. Al Moses (Associate Chair of the International Board of Trustees of Beit Hatfutsot), Dan Tadmor (CEO Beit Hatfutsot)

Amb. Al Moses (Associate Chair of the International Board of Trustees of Beit Hatfutsot), Dan Tadmor (CEO Beit Hatfutsot)

General (Ret) Eitan Ben Eliyahu ( Associate Chair of the International Board of Trustees of Beit Hatfutsot), Major General Orna Barbivai (Head of the Manpower Directorate in the IDF)

General (Ret) Eitan Ben Eliyahu ( Associate Chair of the International Board of Trustees of Beit Hatfutsot), Major General Orna Barbivai (Head of the Manpower Directorate in the IDF)

Gad Zeevi, Sallai Meridor, Reuven Adler (Chair of the Israeli Friends of Beit Hatfutsot)

Gad Zeevi, Sallai Meridor, Reuven Adler (Chair of the Israeli Friends of Beit Hatfutsot)

Rabbi Avraham Skorka from Argentina, who accompanied Pope Francis l on his recent trip to Israel, and whom he knows personally for over 20 years

Rabbi Avraham Skorka from Argentina, who accompanied Pope Francis l on his recent trip to Israel, and whom he knows personally for over 20 years

Yossi and Daniela Beilin

Yossi and Daniela Beilin

 

Miri and Sami Azury

Miri and Sami Azury

 

Irina Nevzlin Kogan, Amb. Al Moses, Ofra Strauss

Irina Nevzlin Kogan, Amb. Al Moses, Ofra Strauss

 

Dan and Ronit Lahat

Dan and Ronit Lahat

 

Harel Skaat

Harel Skaat

 

The "Stage Center" children from Holon

The “Stage Center” children from Holon

 

 

PERES TREE

Details regarding the artwork created by the artist Ira Obolsky:
An illustrated family tree, cut on parchment, size 75 X 50 cm.
The card is processed manually, a tradition preserved for 2000 years, produced uniquely in Israel, on skins of kosher animals only.
The work utilizes the “parchment cut” technique and illustrations in ink.
It incorporates Jewish symbols: Pomegranates (tree fruit), symbolizing the fertility of the Jewish people:
Pomegranate: One of the seven species mentioned in the bible, adorned with a crown and 613 seeds (according to the sages), corresponding to the number of mitzvoth (commandments).
The pomegranate fruit unites its different seeds under one peel, symbolizing the Jewish people who observe their traditions and customs despite multiple ethnic groups in Jerusalem (Illustrations on tree trunk):
Man creates his life, as a stonemason whose work is preserved for future generations.
The tree is supported by lions
Lion: King of the beasts, a symbol of power and glory, as well as a symbol of Jerusalem (and the sign under which Shimon Peres was born.
A winged lion: King not only on land, but also in the heavens.
The Soul Bird:
An image found in all persons, who desire to understand its meaning. [BACK]

 

Irina Nevzlin Kogan condemned the brutal attack on the Jewish Museum of Belgium

Irina Nevzlin Kogan, Chair of the Board of Directors of Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People, in Tel Aviv, condemned Saturday’s brutal attack on the Jewish Museum of Belgium, which left four dead. Nevzlin Kogan wrote to the museum’s President, Philippe Blondin, to “offer her sympathies and support at this difficult time.” Observing that two of the deceased were Israeli tourists, Emmanuel and Miriam Riva from Tel Aviv, Nevzlin Kogan stressed that “this attack was aimed at the entire Jewish people, which needed to respond to such incidents with unity and solidarity.”

“Museums, by their very nature serve as symbols of tolerance, openness and dialogue in the face of violent extremists who wish to see these values eradicated”, said Nevzlin Kogan.  “While we wish to celebrate the historic contribution of the Jewish people to humanity, we are also reminded at times like these of the challenge our people face in expressing their identity in safety and security.” Nevzlin Kogan called on all members of the European Association of Jewish Museums to increase their collaboration on security matters.

Congregation Shearith Israel – Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue 360th Anniversary


Congregation Shearith Israel in New York, with which Beit Hatfutsot is enjoying profound partnership, celebrated its 360th anniversary.

Beit Hatfutsot’s cooperation with the oldest Jewish congregation in America, will be reinforced with the renewal of The Museum of the Jewish People Core Exhibition at Beit Hatfutsot, to which the congregation has contributed artifacts and knowledge.

“We are proud to bring you our special program, made possible through our partnership with Beit Hatfutsot. In conversation with Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, our honorees David and Rebbeca Nathan are going to talk about their family’s history in our congregation. Thanks to generous donation from the American Friends of Beit Hatfutsot”.

 

Chaja Gravina – A Surprising Discovery in the “My Family Story” Project

When Franco Anza, a pupil attending the “Tarbut” school in Mexico, began preparation of his roots project this year, in the framework of “My Family Story” at Beit Hatfutsot, he already had a family tree. His sister, Valentina, had prepared it two years ago using My Heritage software, which Beit Hatfutsot recommends to participants of “My Family Story.”

Franco wanted to update the tree and expand upon it, as well as to rewrite and design the work as his own.

In the course of his research, an Argentinian boy, who he never before met, told him of his Great Grandmother, Chaja Gravina , who he said was also Franco’s Great Grandmother.

The story did not end there. Franco’s family knew of Chaja Gravina and always recounted that she died in the Holocaust. However, thanks to the family link in Argentina it became apparent that she survived, immigrated to Argentina and established a new family!

Chaja never knew that her mother survived and that subsequently after WWII immigrated to Israel. In fact, she never knew that any of her family had survived.

How sad that these two women, who lived a long and full life, never knew one of the fate of the other!

If it wasn’t for the “My Family Story” project and the My Heritage software, the Anza family would never have discovered this new and exciting information.

The two families today maintain warm and friendly relations.

 

 

“The Success of the Storytellers” by Mordechai (Max) Shatner

shatnerIn his new book Mordechai (Max) Shatner, Israeli philosopher and artificial intelligence expert, suggests a fresh explanation of the famous Jewish success secret. Apparently, the ancient Jewish art of creating stories is the main source of Jews’ phenomenal success.

The diversity of Jewish success led the author to the conclusion that it depends on some basic intellectual skill, which characterizes the Jewish culture and shared by all Jews wherever or whenever they lived. Although all the people in the world are quite the storytellers, Jews are different: our stories are more like movie scripts. For example, most of the Jewish holidays have a fascinating “Hollywood” story behind them.

Shatner insists that telling a convincing and engaging story is the foundational key to success. So this national narration ability was extremely useful to many Jews in various fields: from sience to busyness. As we always say at Beit Hatfutsot: Never underestimate a good Jewish story!

Mordechai (Max) Shatner, “The Success of the Storytellers”, published (in Hebrew) by Yedioth Books.