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Jerusalem gets interactive museum on Jewish life

JERUSALEM, Nov.1 (JTA) — An interactive museum under construction here will offer information on Judaism around the world.

Delegates to the World Jewish Congress’ annual meeting got a preview of the planned “Museum of Jewish Life” when an initial exhibit, on “the way of life of synagogues,” opened Tuesday.

Glass cases hold such items as yarmulkes, Torah covers, menorahs and prayer shawls, representing hundreds of years of Jewish life.

Curator and director Yehuda Levy-Almeda described the project as a “storytelling museum.”

“Unlike other museums, this will be constantly evolving,” Levy-Almeda said. “In Israel, the Jewish state, there is no one place where someone can understand what Judaism is, why ‘these crazy people’ are doing what they are doing.”

The museum will open in stages overt the next several years.

A project of the Jerusalem Foundation, the museum is to be located at Heichal Shlomo, the former seat of Israel’s chief rabbinate in Jerusalem. Architect Arthur Rosenblatt of New York is redesigning the building’s interior.

The renovations are expected to cost $30 million, and the exhibit and programs another $10 million, according to foundation spokesman Amnon Be’eri.

The Jerusalem Foundation is a nonpolitical organization created in 1966 by the city’s former mayor, Teddy Kollek. Its mandate is to promote a free and pluralistic society in Jerusalem and to respond to the city’s cultural, educational and social needs.

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