Meet Irina Nevzlin Kogan, the elected Chair of the Board of Directors of Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People. She came to the Board in July, 2012 following five years as president of the NADAV Foundation where she was responsible for overall strategic management of the foundation, which focuses on Jewish Peoplehood programs and grants.
Irina Nevzlin Kogan: I had the luxury of having a very positive attitude to the fact that I am Jewish, because of my education and life experience. The value of a museum like Beit Hatfutsot is that it can engage and tell the story of the Jewish People in a way that will attract the younger generation to rediscover their Jewish identity and benefit from it, as I did.
The new Museum of the Jewish People will tell the story of our people, and in that story there is a place for challenges and hardships, but it is also a story about thriving, innovation and creativity, and that is the story we want to tell. We believe that the way to connect the younger Jewish generation to its roots is by portraying a positive Jewish narrative that is, ultimately, a story about prosperity and success.
It was important for us to change the exhibition’s basic concept so as to create a place that discusses the meaning of ‘Jewish Peoplehood’ – the sense of belonging of all Jews, of all ages and backgrounds, to one people. It is particularly important when it comes to the younger generation, who is in need of tools to explore and rediscover its Jewish identity
We tend to focus so much on what divides us. The new Museum of the Jewish People is an extensive project which focuses on what brings us together. It is both a symbol of Jewish Peoplehood and a hub, where the numerous strands of Jewish life meet and converse. It is a home for our collective heritage, where Jewish pluralism and a multitude of identities create a rainbow of harmonious colors.