Museum of the Jewish Diaspora Opens

An IL 95 million ($5.9 million) Museum of the Jewish Diaspora where the push of a button will bring the viewer on instant audio or visual history of nearly 3000 Jewish communities throughout the world, was officially opened here.

The project, including the IL 40 million four story structure on the Tel Aviv University campus, designed by international experts including Carl Katz of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, was financed chiefly by funds raised by American Jewish organizations and landsman-schaften. The inaugural ceremonies were attended by a delegation from the U.S., and also by Dr. Nahum Congress, who chaired the fund-raising committee, and Philip M. Klutznick, president of the WJC, who shared with Goldmann the task of raising funds for the museum.

Unlike traditional museums that consist of static displays, the Diaspora Museum is built around computers in which are stored information on thousands of years of Jewish history. This information is flashed on screens in the form of printed text, still photographs and motion pictures, depending on which buttons are activated. The computers also deliver scholarly lectures on whichever subject is selected.

Plans call for the programming of family names and genealogies which will enable visitors to trace their family trees. The museum also has an exhibition of synagogue architecture over the past 2000 years. The Diaspora Museum, eight years in the planning and construction, is managed by Yeshayahu Weinberg.

Almost as big an attraction as the museum was the presence of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis who is on a private visit to Israel. Afterwards, she visited the John F. Kennedy Peace Memorial and Forest planted by the Jewish National Fund near Jerusalem where she planted a pine tree in honor of her late husband near those planted by other members of the Kennedy family. “I must bring my children to see this magnificant place,” she said.

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