Monday, May 7, 2012

The Jewish Museum of Natural History

I am thrilled to announce that plans are moving ahead for the development of "The Jewish Museum Of Natural History." The mission is outlined below, and you can download a full prospectus at this link.

Mission 

The Jewish Museum of Natural History will be a unique institution. Its primary goals are twofold: To enhance appreciation and understanding of Scripture, Talmud and Jewish tradition via the natural world, and to thereby also enhance appreciation and understanding of the natural world itself. Visitors will learn about Scriptural and Midrashic symbolism, Jewish law and history, and the natural history of the Land of Israel.

The museum will accomplish this mission via a combination of extraordinary live and inanimate exhibits, including taxidermy mounts and other intriguing biological artifacts. All exhibits, including live specimens, will be hands-on, since tactile experiences are the most powerful. Visits will be conducted exclusively via guided tours, in order to maximize the educational value. The Jewish Museum of Natural History will also serve as an invaluable educational resource, providing teacher training courses, extended lecture series, and trainee assistant curator programs for teens.

The nucleus of the collection has already been assembled and is licensed by the Nature Reserves Authority. Plans are currently underway for a temporary facility, under the auspices of a Foundation created for the museum and its associated publications. The long-term goal is to construct a building for the museum in the city of Bet Shemesh. Although housing a population of 80,000 which is projected to double in the next decade, and home to a large Anglo population which regularly receives visitors from abroad, Bet Shemesh lacks any kind of tourist attraction. The Jewish Museum of Natural History will fill that gap in a unique way.

22 comments:

  1. Kol ha'kavod Rav Slifkin!

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  2. In what ways would this differ from Rabbi Shaul Deutsch's Living Torah Museums?

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  3. The Living Torah museum is great. Mine differs in a few ways:

    1. No archeology
    2. Live animals
    3. A difference in approach regarding identifying animals
    4. Different structure to exhibits

    and the biggest difference:

    5. His is in the US, mine is in Israel.

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  4. May this be a success!

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  5. Anonymous for this oneMay 7, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    "Bet Shemesh lacks any kind of tourist attraction..."

    My understanding is that Beit Shemesh houses the unparalleled "Hareidim spitting on and/or shouting 'whore' and 'slut' at little school girls" exhibit in Beit Shemesh. We have put it on our family's June Israel touring schedule. We hear it is quite an attraction, and that sometimes, the species can do or say unexpected things, being that they are outside of their natural habitat.

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  6. Well, at least you can rest assured that the bans that will be issued against the Museum will have the unintended side effect of increasing traffic to it, as bans are wont to do.

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  7. Looks interesting - I hope this gets a positive from a wide range of Jewish communities.

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  8. So that is why you met with Peres?

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  9. כה לחי!!

    I guess this is the reason you met with Pres. Peres...

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  10. Sounds incredible, to say the least! Is there a projected opening date yet?

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  11. I was wondering why you met Shimon Peres

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  12. R' Slifkin, I spotted in your comment that you called this Jewish museum "mine". I didn't spot that kind of relationship in your main post. What exactly is your role in this museum?

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  13. kol hakovod. you are a true askan. one question though. in what way is this a natural "history" museum? aren't all species the same as when they were created six thousand years ago, with none having become extinct? oh right, i forgot, there are some creatures that used to spontaneously generate until suddenly "nishtaneh hatevah". are there going to be any mermaids (or maybe that's not tznius, only mermen allowed). how about that staple of natural history museums, the giant dinosaur skeleton? maybe if you point out that dinosaurs are mentioned in the sheshes yemei bereishis, as "taninim hagedolim", a la gerald schroeder, the chareidim won't get so upset at you.

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  14. So that is why you met with Peres?

    Actually, no.

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  15. R' Slifkin, I spotted in your comment that you called this Jewish museum "mine". I didn't spot that kind of relationship in your main post. What exactly is your role in this museum?

    So far, everything (except for the people on the board). But I hope that this will eventually change!

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  16. That's great to hear! I can't wait until it's done!

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  17. Wow, 4 people voted "kefirah"!

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  18. To "Anonymous" - I didn't post your comment because (a) I don't post anonymous comments, and (b) it reflected completely misreading what I wrote.

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  19. Wow! Hatzlacha rabba!

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  20. Interesting archaeological discoveries near Beit Shemesh today...

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  21. Much Hatzlacha. I am sure that you will encounter much resistence. I can already imagine the pashkevilim. I hope that will not deter you (as it has not in the past).
    Just remember, only people that have something interesting, thought provoking or new to say, get put in Cherem.

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