ANU - Museum of the Jewish People

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ANU - Museum of the Jewish People building exterior
ANU - Museum of the Jewish People Culture and Identity Wing
ANU - Museum of the Jewish People Journeys Wing
ANU - Museum of the Jewish People Foundations Wing
ANU - Museum of the Jewish People Synagogue Wing
ANU - Museum of the Jewish People logo
ANU - Museum of the Jewish People - Let There Be Laughter: Jewish Humor Around the World exhibition

ANU - Museum of the Jewish People, formerly the Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora,[1] is located in Tel Aviv, Israel, at the center of the Tel Aviv University campus in Ramat Aviv.

ANU - Museum of the Jewish People is a global institution that tells the ongoing story of the Jewish people, intended for people of all faiths. Re-opened to the public on March 10, 2021, it is the world’s only museum dedicated to celebrating and exploring the experiences, accomplishments and spirit of the Jewish people from biblical times to the present. [2] Through its educational programming, the institution works to connect Jewish people to their roots and strengthen their personal and collective Jewish identity. The museum presents a pluralistic narrative of Jewish culture, faith, purpose and deed as seen through the lens of Jewish history and current experience today.[3]

The $100 million expanded museum, which replaces Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People (Hebrew: בית התפוצות, "The Diaspora House" or "Beit Hatfutsot"), was designed and built over the past 10 years. It was funded by both the State of Israel, the Nadav Foundation and private philanthropy. [4] As a first step in the renewal process, the museum added a new wing in 2016 with rotating temporary exhibitions, the Alfred H. Moses and Family Synagogue Hall featuring synagogue scale models, and Heroes - Trailblazers of the Jewish People, a children's interactive exhibition. [5]

The museum's new name and "its new brand identity adds “ANU” — Hebrew for “we”— to embrace inclusion and reflect the diversity and collective spirit of the Jewish people everywhere" said Museum Board Chair Irina Nevzlin. “It is a privilege to realize the transformation of this institution, which now becomes the largest and most comprehensive Jewish museum in the world. The museum will serve as a beacon of Jewish identity and culture, celebrating our unique history and future.”[6]


In 1959, the World Jewish Congress decided to build a museum that would serve both as an educational and cultural center for world Jewry.[7] The institute in Israel was named in honor of Dr. Nahum Goldmann, founder and president of the World Jewish Congress.

Abba Kovner, one of the founders of Beit Hatfutsot, proposed the original concept of the museum's permanent core exhibition.[8] It was based on a thematic principle, representing Jewish history and continuity, according to six themes, or "gates" that portray central aspects of Jewish life: family, community, faith, culture, existence and return.[9] Among the founders of the museum, Jeshajahu Weinberg served as the museum's first director from 1978 to 1984[8] and Dr. Meyer Weisgal was its first President.

Beit Hatfutsot opened on May 15, 1978. From the start, it was regarded as one of the most technologically advanced museums of its time.[7] Its exhibitions were based on reconstructions and sets, using modern audiovisual and state-of-the-art computer technology to explore topics and themes throughout the museum. This methodology provided that a museum could be an effective storyteller. Its designers broke with the universally accepted tradition that museums exist first in order to acquire, care for and display objects from the past.[10]

Government budget cuts and a decline in Israeli tourism triggered a budget crisis at the museum. A number of public representatives devoted themselves to saving the museum, among them Shlomo Lahat, former mayor of Tel Aviv, and Ariel Sharon, former prime minister.[11] In 2005, the Israeli Knesset passed the "Beit Hatfutsot Law" that defines Beit Hatfutsot as "the National Center for Jewish Communities in Israel and around the world".[12][13] A recovery plan was enacted with two partners: the Israeli Government and donor Leonid Nevzlin (NADAV Foundation), with a grant from the Claims Conference.[14]

Exhibitions, programs, education and research[edit]

ANU - Museum of the Jewish People allows visitors to learn more about the Jewish experience through a number of access points. Onsite, the museum offers four wings of exhibitions, including 3 floors of new exhibition galleries (opened March 10, 2021), a children's gallery, rotating schedule of temporary exhibitions and related programs, conferences and workshops. The museum's databases house searchable archives of photos, films, music, genealogy (family trees) and family names, all related to the Jews and Jewish history. Compiled over almost four decades, these databases are now fully digitized and available both onsite and online. The museum also offers formal and informal educational activities for teachers and students, at the museum and/or for use in classrooms around the world.[13]


The thematic center of ANU - Museum of the Jewish People is its exhibitions; the permanent and temporary exhibition galleries encompass 72,000 square feet of exhibition space. The galleries cover 3 floors and 4 wings, organized thematically by floor and wing.

The Mosaic - Modern Jewish Identity and Culture Wing (third floor, permanent)[edit]

This wing is dedicated to the life of the Jewish people today, the diverse forms of Jewish culture in modern times, and the myriad contribution Jews have made to global civilization and culture.

The Journey - The Jewish Story Through Time Wing (second floor, permanent)[edit]

This wing is devoted to the full narrative of global Jewry tracing the roots and history of the Jewish people from all corners of the world, from Biblical times through the establishment of the State of Israel to the present.

Foundations - A Common Core, A Universal Message Wing (first floor, permanent)[edit]

This wing explores the conceptual foundations of Jewish existence, whether uniquely Jewish or commonly universal. This includes Jewish practice, beliefs and traditions, and the Bible and its influence on world culture, especially as it relates to concepts of justice and liberty.

The Synagogue Wing[edit]

This wing includes The Alfred H. Moses and Family Synagogue Hall and the Heroes children's gallery. There are also three temporary, rotating exhibition galleries in this wing. The exhibitions all focus on issues of Jewish identity and pluralism.[15]

The Alfred H. Moses and Family Synagogue Hall (permanent)

The Synagogue Hall features the exhibition Hallelujah! Assemble, Pray, Study – Synagogues Past and Present. This exhibition presents 21 scale synagogue models representing various communities and Jewish ritual relating to the synagogue: social gatherings, study, creativity and prayer, as well as weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, fundraising, charity, etc. Alongside each model is an original ritual artifact, either from the synagogue or its respective community.

Heroes – Trailblazers of the Jewish People (permanent)

This is an interactive exhibition experience designed for children ages 6–12 and their families. Visitors will meet different types of Jewish heroes from throughout history including scientists, intellectuals, leaders, revolutionaries, cultural figures, athletes and more – men and women with unique talents.

Let There Be Laughter – Jewish Humor Around the World (temporary)

This exhibition looks at the origins of Jewish humor and the contributions of Jews to the rise of this global industry.

Workshops and lectures[edit]

Programming for the general public includes programs related to the exhibitions and also lectures featuring specialists in Jewish history and culture, workshops, film screenings and more.


The Koret International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies (ISJPS) develops the discipline of Jewish Peoplehood studies and disseminates formal educational curricula and teaching guides for use in Israel and abroad. The school also creates workshops geared towards educational groups visiting Israel on short and long-term programs.[13]

Open databases[edit]

The Oster Visual Documentation Center houses collections of ~500,000 photos of Jewish life, as well as over 1,000 films. This collection includes rare documentary films and amateur video footage dating back to the 1920s, as well as contemporary films produced in Israel and abroad.

The Douglas E. Goldman Jewish Genealogy Center contains thousands of Jewish family trees with more than 5,000,000 individuals currently registered. This database enables users to trace family roots and build family trees for future generations.

The Feher Jewish Music Center is a collection of thousands of recordings of Jewish music from various communities including traditional songs, prayers, complete albums and information about Jewish musicians, composers and poets.

The Memi De-Shalit Database of Jewish Family Names is a database containing over 20,000 short interpretations of Jewish family names including their linguistic origin, history and derivations.

The Jewish Communities Database contains the history, demography and geography of thousands of Jewish communities worldwide.

Personalities is a database containing thousands of biographies of renowned and noteworthy Jews.[13]


Irina Nevzlin serves as the current Chair of the Board of Directors and is the President of the NADAV Foundation. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (Honorary Chair), Ambassador Alfred H. Moses (Co-Chair) and Major-General (Ret.) Eitan Ben Eliyahu (Co-Chair) serve on the Board of Governors.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Museum of the Diaspora Changing its Name and Focus/". J. The Jewish News of Northern California. March 5, 2010.
  2. ^ Klein Leichman, Abigail. "Tel Aviv's Museum of the Jewish People gets $100m Makeover". Retrieved April 12, 2021.
  3. ^ "Koret Foundation Gives $10 million to Tel Aviv's Museum of the Jewish People". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. January 18, 2017.
  4. ^ Gradstein, Linda. "ANU: New Museum of the Jewish People Opens in Tel Aviv". Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  5. ^ Raider, edited by Mark A. (2010). Nahum Goldmann: Statesman without a State. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press. ISBN 978-1-4384-2500-9.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Klein Leichman, Abigail. "Tel Aviv's Museum of the Jewish People gets $100m Makeover". Retrieved April 12, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Scrieberg, David (June 15, 1979). "Beth Hadtefutsoth:2500 Years of Jewish History Under One Roof". Israel Digest.
  8. ^ a b Wigoder, Geoffrey (1988). Beth Hatefutsoth - The First Ten Years - The Nathan Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora. Nahum Goldmann Museum.
  9. ^ Raider, edited by Mark A. (2010). Nahum Goldmann : Statesman without a State. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press. ISBN 978-1-4384-2500-9.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Hudson, Kenneth (1987). Museums of influence (Reprint. ed.). Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521305341.
  11. ^ "Second Life for Beit Hatfutsot Museum of the Jewish People".[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Anath Hartmann (November 12, 2009). "Bringing the Story of Jewish Life Back to Life". Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
  13. ^ a b c d "Beit Hatfutsot - The Museum of The Jewish People in Tel Aviv".
  14. ^ Herb Keinon (September 4, 2011). "Cabinet Approves NIS 24m Beit Hatfutsot Development Plan". The Jerusalem Post.
  15. ^ Leni Reiss (February 24, 2017). "Recently Renovated Museum of the Jewish People Strengthens Cultural Ties". Arizona Jewish Life.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°06′49.72″N 34°48′18.94″E / 32.1138111°N 34.8052611°E / 32.1138111; 34.8052611