Spielberg to give $1 million to Philly Jewish museum

The Associated Press reports that Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation will give $1 million to the National Museum of American Jewish History to build a new building in Philadelphia.

The museum, which is set to open in 2010, has raised $111 million toward its $150 million goal for its capital campaign.

Here’s the press release:

SPIELBERG’S RIGHTEOUS PERSONS FOUNDATION MAKES $1 MILLION GIFT TO NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORY

Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation has awarded the National Museum of American Jewish History $1 million for its Capital Campaign. With the gift, the Capital Campaign has raised $111 million toward its goal of $150 million for the new Museum being built on the hallowed ground of Independence Mall. The Museum is constructing a 100,000–square-foot, five-story building, designed by Polshek Partnership Architects of New York.

In the heart of historic Philadelphia, the Museum will join Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center, the Liberty Bell and other landmarks at the site of America’s birth. The new building, which will serve as a cornerstone of the modern-day American Jewish community, and a source of national pride, will open in 2010. “We are pleased to be able to join a community of donors in making a grant to the Museum,” said Rachel Levin, the Foundation’s Associate Director. “As a Foundation committed to helping to build a vibrant American Jewish community, we were especially interested in the fact that the Museum tells the particular story of Jewish life in the United States and through that lens, the broader story of America.”

“The Board of Trustees is gratified to have the endorsement and imprimatur of the Righteous Persons Foundation,” said Gwen Goodman, the Museum’s Executive Director/CEO. “The Foundation has recognized that we are creating an institution that will embody the stories, dreams and visions of the entire American Jewish community.” The new National Museum of American Jewish History will be the first and only major museum dedicated to chronicling the American Jewish experience. Through intriguing exhibits, rare artifacts and interactive displays, the Museum will mark the trials and triumphs of American Jews through every phase of the country’s history. It will explore the challenges of identity and assimilation they faced and celebrate the contributions they have made to every facet of American life. And since other immigrant ethnic groups have faced similar challenges, the Museum will ultimately be a place for all Americans to explore, offering an experience that is thought-provoking and informative. Major contributions toward creating the new facility began with a lead gift in 2002 from philanthropist Sidney Kimmel. Subsequent gifts have included significant donations from Ed Snider, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Dr. Alexander and Lorraine Dell and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

The National Museum of American Jewish History is dedicated to telling the still unfolding story of Jews in America – who embraced freedom with its choices and challenges as they shaped, and were shaped by, our nation. The Museum envisions its new home as a place that welcomes all people, inviting them to discover what they have in common with the Jewish experience in America, and to explore the features that make this history distinctive. The Righteous Persons Foundation is dedicated to supporting efforts that build a diverse and vibrant Jewish community in the United States. Having been deeply moved by the experience of directing the film Schindler’s List, Steven Spielberg decided to donate his portion of the film’s profits to help support a flourishing and vibrant Jewish community. He consequently established the Righteous Persons Foundation in the fall of 1994 and continues to designate targeted film profits to the Foundation.

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