When it comes to museums, New York City has them in abundance. From the amazing Metropolitan Art Museum to the Museum of Natural History, New York has it all, even a few religious museum. One that is often overlooked is the Jewish Museum. It has a premier location on Fifth Avenue across from Central Park and is great combined with a visit to the Museum of New York City or the Met.
Security at the museum is high as should be expected. I found it to be on par with what we experienced when we visited the Houses of Parliament in London. You will go through a metal detector, empty you pockets and even open your purse. While it may be a small annoyance, it is worth it to feel safe while you visit.
Guided tours are offered at the museum Monday through Friday. We visited on a Sunday and took advantage of the offered audio guide. It will greatly enhance your appreciation of what you are seeing. The museum has an excellent website and it is always advisable to check what special exhibits are being offered.
The Jewish Museum is set on four floors with the temporary exhibits housed on floors one and two and the permanent collection Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey being located on floors three and four. This exhibit is fascination. The history of the Jewish people and their ability to survive the most amazing tragedies and adversity makes for a very interesting look at the history of our world. By the time you have walked through 4000 years of Jewish history you will be able to answer the questions that the exhibit addresses: “How has Judaism been able to thrive for thousands of years across the globe, often in difficult and even tragic circumstances? What constitutes the essence of Jewish identity?”
One of the narrators on the audio guide is Leonard Nimoy, which is interesting since for many people it is hard to disassociate him from his character Mr. Spock. He talks about the tradition of circumcision in the Jewish culture among other things. In case you weren’t aware, Mr. Nimoy was Jewish.
The exhibits are very interesting and well done with plenty of additional material to read. You can delve deeper if you have the interest or you can just let your audio guide direct you around. I was very interested, as a Christian, to see how the issue of Jesus would be addressed. He was after all first and foremost Jewish. He is a part of their exhibit on sects and conflict which from the Jewish perspective is the perfect place for such a controversial figure.
I found the section on the three Jewish traditions, Mizrahi, Sephardi and Ashkenazi very interesting. If you have always been drawn to the religious traditions of the world, this museum will be fascinating for you. They have a very nice kosher café where you can nosh before, during or after you visit. Allow several hours for your visit here.
Admission is $15 for adults and the museum is open every day though, some parts are closed on Saturday since it is the Sabbath including the shops and the children’s interactive a
I have been an Internet writer for more than 16 years. While I specialize in travel, I write on a variety of subjects. I love genealogy, food, and fashion. I have 10 grandchildren so family travel is something we often do.