Jewish Art and Life Wing in the Israel Museum
Israel Museum‘s Jewish art and life wing exhibits in 5 galleries the material culture of Jewish communities from the last two centuries. The exhibit combines religious and secular artifacts, reflecting the Jewish communial cultural characteristics both in the diaspora and in Israel.
1. Rhythm of Life
The first gallery, The Rhythm of Life, presents objects used at significant stages of Jewish life: a circumcision kit, wedding dresses, and an 18th-century funeral carriage from Hungary, demonstrating the diversity of Jewish traditions and how different communities maintain them.
2. Illuminating the Script
This gallery showcases the world’s best rare illustrated Hebrew Manuscripts collection. The earliest, dating to the 14th century CE, is the “Birds Hagaddah”. It is famous for its unique repeated depiction of humans with a bird’s head. This collection sheds light on the artistic styles and capabilities of the rare occasions when Jewish religious books were illuminated.
3. The Synagogue Route
The third gallery exhibits original interiors of four synagogues from Italy, Germany, India, and Surinam. While its style characterizes each, all contain the same core components of a Jewish synagogue. The exhibit also presents Torah scroll ornaments and Torah arks from Jewish communities worldwide.
4. The Cycle of the Jewish Year
The fourth gallery presents objects and videos that reflect the observance of the Shabbath, the Jewish Holidays, and the new commemoration special days in the State of Israel. The extensive collection of candelabras (Hanukiot) lit during the Hannukah holiday is of exceptional value. \
5. Costume and Jewelry
The fifth gallery exhibits a selection of Jewish attire and jewelry from different Jewish communities. These dress codes reflect the customs and influences of each community and how they are used to express Jewish identity.
The Israel Museum’s Jewish art and life wing presents the Jewish diaspora’s local influences while preserving its Jewish identity and traditions. It is a unique anthropological journey through the mindset of the Jewish people in the last generations in the diaspora and the state of Israel.