No Sorry. This is NOT another program download (maybe someday it will be)!

If someone asked you to draw a ‘Jewish’ map of your city,
would you know what to do? Where to go? Who to ask? How to draw it?
You probably know that there are no rivers in that city,
but are there buildings? There are no buses, but is there a government
with leaders? There’s probably no ‘Jewish’ electrical power grid,
but are there budgets and money being spent?

Take a look at p.19 in r u rachel? The pictures are of models of synagogue
buildings, of a street scene in the city of Vilna (Vilnius), Lithuania,
about 250 years ago, and of a painting of a Polish Jew sitting with
a Jewish family in Iraq. These synagogue models, and many others,
are at Beth Hatefutsoth and they help people today see what Jewish communities
in the past looked like. The people who planned Beth Hatefutsoth wanted to
draw ‘Jewish’ maps of Jewish communities all over the world.

But not just communities in the past. Sure, there’s a model of the Touro
synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island (p. 19). At Beth Hatefutsoth we also
have a model of a synagogue in a suburb of Philadelphia (Elkins Park)
which was designed by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Right now there’s an exhibition of photographs about American Jewry
taken by the French photographer Frederick Brenner.

Beth Hatefutsoth sometimes sends professional photographers to really small,
out of the way, Jewish communities, asking them to take pictures of
buildings and people. When they come back, we show their photographs in
exhibitions at the museum. Ever hear of Jerba? It’s an island just off the
Tunisian coast with an ancient and colorful Jewish community.
A photographer got pictures of houses, of people, of the clothes they wear,
of the work they do.
We had an exhibition about Jerba at the museum a few years ago.

Let’s say that one day you receive a letter from Beth Hatefutsoth.
You open it up and start reading:

“We’re planning an exhibition about your Jewish community and we hope
you can help us. We need photographs of:
· people (the way they live, what they do);
· homes (inside and outside);
· buildings (and what’s in them).

It would be wonderful if you could take pictures of your family
(everybody!), your room (even if it’s a real mess!), your house, your friends,
your pets. Maybe take pictures of some of your friends’ family, rooms, etc.

Then go out and take pictures of your Rabbi, your teachers, synagogues,
Jewish community center, Senior Citizens Homes, Jewish Federation offices (?!)
and the people who work there. Look around your city, town, community for
places (stores, restaurants) that have signs containing ‘Jewish’
words or symbols: in the supermarket it might be “Kosher food section.”
On a building it might be Star of David or a menorah. Use your imagination!

Make sure your write down what each picture is about.
If you take a picture of people exercising in the health club at the
community center, write it down. If it’s a picture of a family preparing
for Shabbat meal, write it down.

Technical stuff:
1. At Beth Hatefutsoth we can only receive and use the pictures
you send us in digitized form! So you’ve got to do one of two things:
a. Get a digital camera, take your pictures and transfer the files
to your computer and then send them to us as attached graphic files, or
b. scan you hard-copy pictures into you computer and then send them
to us as attached graphic files.

2. Make sure you store the pictures permanently in a file with a title
like: “My Community” or “Pictures of [Estherville].”

3. Upload the pictures and descriptions to us at:
Beth Hatefutsoth

4. You’re going to want to show these pictures to other people on the
internet and, one of our future activities will be:
“How to build a Virtual Exhibit.”
Make sure you remember where you file your pictures!

We don’t promise that we’ll exhibit your pictures.
But the pictures and descriptions will become part of our data-base
of Jewish communities around the world so that anyone wanting to know
about your “Estherville” will be able to get a pretty good idea of what it
looked like.

Thanks for your help.”


Beth Hatfusoth Site