This past Thursday evening, Israel’s President Shimon Peres laid the cornerstone for the new Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot. The museum is currently undergoing a comprehensive renovation, and the laying of the cornerstone marked an important milestone in the process of its renewal.
Approximately 400 guests from Israel and abroad, including 100 students and young adults, were on hand. The Museum is scheduled to open in 2017.
During his remarks at the event, President Peres said, “The Museum of the Jewish People brings together Jews from across the world, allowing us to gather together and celebrate our history and culture. I’m proud to support this iconic institution and its important future”
President Peres was presented with a leather parchment displaying his family tree, specially created by the artist Ira Obolski. Obolski was able to draw upon research that Beit Hatfutsot had undertaken into President Peres’ family, with the assistance of the President’s daughter, Dr. Tsvia Valden.
The audience had the opportunity to view a short film produced exclusively for this event, showcasing the President’s life story and his contribution to Jewish communities around the world. The evening’s program also included performances by a children’s choir from Holon, the renowned Israeli singer Harel Skaat and leading choreographer and dancer Ido Tadmor.
Guests also saw a first glimpse of Beit Hatfutsot’s new core exhibit, which was beamed on to the outside walls of the museum. The exhibit will take visitors on a journey of Jewish life from biblical times until today, with an emphasis on contemporary Jewish life and modern expressions of Jewish identity. The museum will inspire a sense of belonging and identification with the Jewish people and enable any Jew to find his or her own personal narrative within the shared Jewish story.
Following the cornerstone event, the next milestone in the museum’s multi-stage renewal project will take place at end of 2014, with the launch of Beit Hatfutsot Online. This interactive tool will make the use of the Museum’s extensive research databases, accessible to any user, anytime, anywhere. President Peres was the first person to make use of this system, by creating and uploading his own family tree.
By the summer of 2015, the public will also be able to visit the renovated Synagogue Gallery, displaying models of various synagogues from around the world through the use of immersive multimedia technology.