News from North America
New York City
A vibrant group of young leaders gathered at the home of Judith Stern Peck, President of the American Friends of Beit Hatfutsot, for an engaging conversation with Shelley Kedar, Director of the International School of Jewish Peoplehood Studies at Beit Hatfutsot.
The informal meeting, which took place on February 20, provided an opportunity for the participants to learn about the new plans for The Museum of the Jewish People and to discuss the conceptual direction for the core exhibition.
Among the participants were AJC Board of Governors member and chair of Global Access Daniel Pincus; UJA Federation of New York’s Commission on the Former Soviet Union and RAJE board member Alina Fiskina; Israeli Leadership Council member and Bina facilitator Daniel Housman; AJC New York board member attorney Rachel Balaban; Dor Chadash Executive Director Jonathan Frenkel; 30 YEARS AFTER Co-President Josephine Mairzadeh; JDC Ambassador Program Director Rebecca Neuwirth; and Rebecca Lieberman of the Nadav Foundation.
Shelley Kedar provided the historical background on the creation of Beit Hatfutsot. During the ensuing conversation the group delved into the plans to provide both the content and space for addressing contemporary questions regarding Peoplehood and Jewish identity. A major focus was the challenge of creating a compelling environment for these conversations.
Daniel Pincus suggested that the museum be used as an icebreaker for dialogue – The group offered a number of concrete suggestions for the Beit Hatfutsot team to consider. Sam Bodenheimer agreed that it is a powerful way for people to connect and begin a conversation with one another.
Alina Fiskina underscored that focus must also be placed on the important work of Jewish organizations and what they do adding that this was another way to connect people. Rebecca Neuwirth stressed that Beit Hatfutsot should be a place with open questions and should strive to create a transformative experience.
It was clear by the end of the evening that the discussion was the preamble to many more conversations about the meaning of Jewish Identity and Jewish Peoplehood for these young leaders. Shula Bahat, CEO of Beit Hatfutsot of America, invited the group to visit the museum and promised to provide opportunities for ongoing discussion.
Dr. Ruth Shamir Popkin, Vice President of the AFBH Board, hosted two events highlighting the presence of Beit Hatfutsot on the West Coast. On February 26, 2012, an informal meeting of the West Coast members of the American Friends of Beit Hatfutsot board met with Judith Stern Peck, Avinoam Armoni, CEO of Beit Hatfutsot, and Shula Bahat. On February 27, 2012 guests gathered again at Ruth Shamir Popkin’s home for a cocktail reception to learn about future plans for Beit Hatfutsot.
Beit Hatfutsot presence in Los Angeles this year includes participation in the Israeli Leadership Council’s Independence Day Festival on April 29, 2012. Over 15,000 participants are expected.
Beit Hatfutsot’s visibility will be further augmented in the fall as the exhibit LIGHT AND SHADOWS: THE STORY OF IRAN AND THE JEWS will be opening on October 23, 2012 at the Fowler Museum at UCLA sponsored by the Y & S Nazarian Family Foundation.
Coming Soon-NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND
Beit Hatfutsot is partnering with The National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene, The Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Dor Chadash, NCSJ-The National Conference on Soviet Jewry and other organizations in NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND. The musical performance to be held May 14, 2012 in the evening will be featuring members of the electrifying Klezmer group Golem! It will be directed by Zalmen Mlotek and include special performances by the legendary Phyllis Berk and Cantor David Stepanovsky, with the soulful sounds of Elmore James and sultry tones of Svetlana Shmulyian!
Guests will be given an opportunity to view Beit Hatfutsot exhibition LET MY PEOPLE GO: THE SOVIET JEWRY MOVEMENT 1967-1989 which was adapted for American audiences by the Museum of Jewish Heritage and is sponsored by the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora affairs.