Museum of Jewish Heritage Opens in Manhattan

The Museum of Jewish Heritage, in lower Manhattan, was created as a living memorial to the Holocaust.

The hexagonal shape and tiered roof of the building are symbolic of the six points of the Star of David and the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. It opened September 15, 1997. Director is David Marwell.

In addition to a large permanent exhibit on the Holocaust entitled The War Against the Jews, it also contains two other permanent exhibits on Jewish culture: Jewish Life a Century Ago, and Jewish Renewal. The three permanent exhibits are arranged chronologically, with Jewish Life A Century Ago on the first floor, The War Against the Jews on the second floor, and Jewish Renewal (focusing on contemporary Jewish culture, especially Israel) on the third floor.

Temporary exhibits and Safra Hall, a theater, are to be found in the Robert M. Morgenthau wing. The current temporary exhibits are A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People and From the Heart: The Photojournalism of Ruth Gruber. There is also a memorial garden, "Garden of Stones" designed by Andy Goldsworthy, in this wing. The garden consists of 18 boulders, each with a dwarf oak sapling growing from inside the hollowed-out stone. They symbolize resiliency. The number 18 was chosen specifically because the Hebrew word for life, chai, has a numerological value of 18.

Monitors, speakers, and projectors playing interviews of relevant persons punctuate the exhibits. 800 artifacts (many of them personal belongings) and 2,000 photographs are on display.

In 2005, the museum was among 406 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

As of 2005, Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau is the chairman of the Museum.

The Museum is affiliated with the Auschwitz Synagogue in Oświęcim Poland; and with JewishGen, the premier online site for researching Jewish roots.

Since its doors opened in September 1997, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children from around the world have visited the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Battery Park City, and have left with a better understanding of what it means to be Jewish in the 20th century.

The 112,000-square-foot Museum on the waterfront at 36 Battery Place in Manhattan's Battery Park City, with its six-sided shape and tiered roof symbolic of the six points of the Star of David and the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, has proved a powerful attraction as one of New York City's newest cultural destinations. The Museum goes beyond recounting the horrors of the Holocaust. Its mission is to educate people of all ages and backgrounds about the broad tapestry of Jewish life over the past century - before, during, and after the Holocaust.