The Unique and Ongoing Story of the Jewish People

*The old core exhibition is being renovated in stages – please follow updates in this site*

*The old core exhibition is closed on Saturdays*
Special Note: On Thursday, May 25, the exhibition will be closed

The Core Exhibition takes visitors on a journey throughout the eras and lands of Jewish life, exploring the unique story of Jewish continuity, creativity and unity in diversity. The exhibition uses murals, reconstructions, dioramas, audio-visual displays, documentary films and interactive multimedia presentations to convey the panorama of the Jewish people.

The exhibition is divided into six thematic sections:

The Family Section

The Family section welcomes visitors with a colorful slide show of hundreds of photographs of contemporary Jews from all parts of the world, and depicts profound elements of Jewish life such as Jewish lifecycle events, holidays, festivals and fasts.

The Family section welcomes visitors with a colorful slide show of hundreds of photographs of contemporary Jews from all parts of the world, and depicts profound elements of Jewish life such as Jewish lifecycle events, holidays, festivals and fasts.


The Community Section

The Community section offers an intriguing exploration of the infrastructure Jewish communal life over the generations, including a 13th century model of Jewish Community model.

Model Artist: Derek Frieborne, England

Model Artist: Derek Frieborne, England

The Memorial Column

The Memorial Column, a commanding artistic depiction of Jewish martyrdom suspended from the ceiling in the central area of the building, reflects the complexity of translating abstract concepts into tangible form and symbolizes the theme of Jewish survival amid  persecution and death. Scrolls of Fire symbolizes persecution in Jewish History.


The Faith Section (currently off display)

Beit Hatfutsot world-renowned display of eighteen miniature synagogue reproductions is now on display in the new Synagogue Hall – CLICK HERE

The Culture Section

The Culture section portrays a riveting panoply of Jewish thought and creativity, with a central wall illustrating the evolution of Jewish intellectual life from the period of the Second Temple to the present, and depictions of Jewish art, Jewish languages and contributions of renowned Jews to world civilization.


Sculpture of the Torah scribe (“Sofer Stam”), hunched over his workbench where he prepares Torah scrolls, phylacteries, and parchments for the Mezzuzah


Among the Nations

“Among the Nations” section features a collection of 13 stations reflecting the interaction between Jews and their host environments, retracing the path of the Jewish people from Eretz Israel back to the State of Israel, and highlighting the reciprocal relationship between Jews and their environment, such as in the struggle for civil rights and in their relations with their hosting society.


Wall of the “Golden Age” in Spain.

Return to Zion

The “Return to Zion” section presents a series of visual images that demonstrate the yearning of the Jews for the land of their forefathers throughout centuries until the founding of modern political Zionism and highlight the waves of immigration leading up to the creation of the State of Israel.

"Wherever I go, I am going to Eretz Israel" (Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav)

“Wherever I go, I am going to Eretz Israel” (Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav)

On the Ground, in the Air and at Sea 1948 - Volunteers from Abroad in Israel's War of Independence

גקי כהן מדרום אפריקה טייס ומתנדב לצבא הישראלי 1948 אוסף הצילומים של ארגון המחל העולמי - BIG

(Photo of Jacky Cohen, a volunteer pilot from South Africa, 1948. Courtesy of World Machal)

This is the story of the visionary, brave and determined men of valor, who responded to the immediate need and came from the ends of the earth to the aid of the fledgling State of Israel.

The exhibition pays tribute to MACHAL (the Hebrew acronym for overseas volunteers), who came when they were most needed during Israel’s struggle for survival and independence, and highlights their outstanding, but little known, heroic and inspiring story.

MACHAL comprised over 4,500 volunteers, Jews and non-Jews, men and women, who put their lives on hold and came from 58 countries, under the most dangerous circumstances. Among other heroic exploits, they smuggled into the nascent state airplanes, arms, ammunition, and thousands of Holocaust survivors. Most Machalniks were World War II veterans, whose invaluable military experience and expertise were urgently required by the newly formed Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Machalniks served with distinction in every branch of the IDF, often in key positions of command, and helped lay the foundation for the future IDF. They came with a high sense of purpose and a shared feeling of pride and privilege in knowing they were helping to create and defend a Jewish homeland.

One hundred and twenty-three overseas volunteers lost their lives, including four women and eight non-Jews [click for the complete list of fallen volunteers].

After the war, most Machalniks returned to their home countries but a significant number remained and settled in Israel. Currently, the spirit and tradition of Machal lives on with the arrival every year of hundreds of young volunteers from all over the world to do military service for 14 months in Machal units in the IDF.

On display at the exhibition are fascinating artifacts and original works by artists Nachum Guttman, Ludwig Blum and Ardyn Halter, and aircraft models created by Asher Roth, as well as clips from documentary films about Machal.

The exhibition is located inside the “Return” section at the core exhibition of Beit Hatfutsot on the third floor. Placing the story of the MACHAL inside the ongoing story of the Jewish people and the return to Zion stresses the significant contribution of the MACHAL to the founding of the State of Israel.

The exhibition is presented in cooperation with World MACHAL.

Curator: Shira Friedman

Desigr: Design Mill

Opened: June 2012

On display in the Core Exhibition, 3rd floor