Jewish History Museum celebrates with Centennial Exhibit

This dress, worn at the Arizona Statehood celebration on Feb. 4, 1912, is part of the Jewish History Museum’s Centennial Exhibit.

The Jewish History Museum’s Centennial Exhibit is on display now through Dec. 23, celebrating 100 years since the building — originally the Stone Avenue Temple, the first home of Temple Emanu-El — was built. Saved from the wrecking ball in 1998, the building has been restored and is now the home of the only Jewish history museum in Arizona.

The exhibit features the Legacy Project timeline, relocated from the Tucson Convention center, which depicts the history of the founding of Arizona and the Jewish community of Tucson. Also on display are photos taken by Jewish pioneer Leo Goldschmidt from 1870 to 1890; items from several Jewish pioneer

families, including the Zeckendorf, Drachman, Capin and Steinfeld families; historic photos and an early newsletter from Temple Emanu-El; and Rabbi Marcus Breger’s journal from the early days of Congregation Anshei Israel.

Of special interest are a Torah from Europe that survived the Holocaust and was donated to the museum in 2001; a shofar dug from the mud of a desecrated synagogue in France by a Tucson GI during World War II; and the Southern Arizona Holocaust Survivors Memorial Quilt.

“The Centennial Exhibit is a celebration for the entire community. It is the story of the building of a new city filled with promise, the stories of our ancestors who risked everything to come to this remote, barren land and the story of the pioneer women who built a Jewish place to pray,” says Eileen Warshaw, executive director of the museum, referring to the sisterhood that helped establish Temple Emanu-El.

On Oct. 24, the museum will hold a centennial celebration that will include a street festival with live music and the opening of a time capsule placed in the building’s cornerstone in 1910. The festival will begin at noon, with the time capsule opening at 2 p.m.

As part of the centennial celebration, the museum is offering local residents the opportunity to create time capsules that will be stored in a special vault, to be opened in 2110. Each time capsule costs $50; they are available at the museum, 564 St. Stone Ave., and at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, 3812 E. River Road. Capsules may be mailed to your home for an extra $15 per capsule. Specific instructions for filling a time capsule will be provided and are available at jewishhistorymuseum.org.

For more information, call 670-9073.