Preserving Jewish History In Tel Aviv and Venice

  • Overseas
  • 2014

In Tel Aviv and Venice
Beit Hatfutsot, the museum of Jewish history and culture located at Tel Aviv University, first opened in 1978. It needed an overhaul to bring its story up to date, so in 2014 two American donors pledged $5 million each to create a new wing and freshen the exhibits. The gifts came from Alfred Moses and from Milton and Tamar Maltz. The Maltzs are serial progenitors of museums, having been involved in creating the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Cleveland, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the International Spy Museum in D.C. This joint $10 million donation will allow creation of a new Great Hall of Synagogues and a new core exhibition to open in 2017.

At about the same time, a group of U.S. philanthropists led by designer Diane von Furstenberg and real-estate investor Joseph Sitt announced they were donating $12 million to restore the Jewish Museum in Venice and the five remarkable small synagogues in the surrounding Jewish neighborhood. The project was planned so it would be complete in 2016—the 500th anniversary of the declaration by the Republic of Venice that the city’s Jews must live in the one-block enclosed area that remains home to much of the Venetian Jewish community, as well as the museum and synagogues.