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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Holocaust History Center reopens after a year of renovations

    Jesus Barrera
    A look at the Rose and Maurice Silverman Holocaust museum on Tuesday evening. The museum reopened its doors on Feb 21 in a ceremony celebrating the new renovations.

    The Jewish History Museum officially reopened Sunday after a year of renovations. These renovations expanded the Gould Family Holocaust History Center and added a new exhibition to the Friedman Family Jewish History Building.

    The Jewish History Museum is a synagogue that was first built in 1910. It was one of the first synagogues in the Arizona territory. The mission of the museum is “the preservation of the first synagogue building in the Arizona Territory and the collection, preservation, exhibition and teaching of the Jewish heritage of Southern Arizona,” according to its website.

    During the opening ceremony, President of the Board of Directors of the Jewish History Center, Barbara Brumer, gave her remarks on the reopening of the museum. 

    “What we’ve done in the synagogue is built an exhibit that celebrates the accomplishments that the Jewish people have made,” Brumer said. “In the Holocaust History Center, you’re going to see a backdrop on what genocide is like and what the stages are.” 

    Brumer concluded her speech by commenting on the importance of the museum as a whole. 

    “This campus shows the depth and complexities of who Jews are, the strength and generosity that we give and the things that we’ve had to go through and come out as different people,” Brumer said.

    Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Rabbi Israel Becker also commented on the museum’s reopening.

    “What this community has done here is going to stand for many, many decades to come,” Rothschild said. “The combination of the Jewish History Museum and the Holocaust History Center is going to be a remarkable addition to the revitalization of downtown.”

    Stuart Mellan, president and CEO of the Jewish Foundation of Southern Arizona, was a leader in the renovation of the museum. 

    “As I stand here today on this momentous occasion, there’s little I can add to the words offered but permit me to express my supreme gratitude for reaching this day,” Mellan said. “It was exactly one year ago today that I found myself in Berlin, Germany. That was thesite of the heinous crimes there and today this is the site of the most ambitious Holocaust education project on the planet.”

    Another leader in the expansion of the Jewish History Museum was Bryan Davis, who served as the executive director for the project. Davis is also an adjunct professor at UA, where he teaches Judaic Studies.

    “The realization of a Holocaust history center in our community is a 50-year-long aspiration so this is a momentous occasion … We now have an educational institution here to teach the community about this history and all the various ways Jews in Southern Arizona have contributed to the development of our community,” Davis said.

    Admission to the museum costs $7, but members of the museum and students with ID get free admission. During Shabbat, admission is free to the general public. 

    The Jewish History Museum is located at 564 S. Stone Ave.

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