Temple Judea Museum
The Temple Judea Museum was founded in 1984 to contain the merged Judaica collections of two Philadelphia – area synagogues, Temple Judea, and Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel. The museum staff includes a director/curator and an active group of volunteers. The Friends of the Museum offers tours and special events.
The Temple Judea Museum has as its mission the presentation of Judaica, the visual objects that signify the observances of Judaism. The mandate of the museum begins with a collection of almost 1000 objects: its preservation, growth, exhibition, and use as an educational tool.
The museum's collection contains artifacts from countries around the world including: the United States, Italy, Germany, Poland, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, France, Hungary, Holland, England and Israel. Holdings include a fine assortment of antiquities from ancient Israel, a comprehensive textile collection, books, paintings, prints, photographs, and a variety of ephemera that complement the many precious and rare objects preserved in this collection.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS
A major collection of silver ceremonial objects.
The second oldest American ketubah (marriage contract) from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1778.
An embroidered Torah wimpel (binder), one of the oldest known to have survived the Holocaust, made from an infant's swaddling cloth, 1695
A unique, contemporary Elijah's Chair, used in covenant ceremonies, commissioned by the Friends of the Museum.
A religious commentary printed in Venice, Italy, 1574.
In addition to its collection and preservation activities the museum operates an annual schedule of three to four original exhibitions that are free and open to the community. These exhibitions vary widely in content and theme, but the educational content of an exhibition is always of paramount importance. Of each yearly cycle of exhibitions one is drawn exclusively from the collection. The other exhibitions extend the reach and scope of the museum beyond the limits of the collection. A recent exhibition about the Bezalel School, Israel’s first art school, included objects drawn from the Temple Judea Museum along with works borrowed from three private collections.
Some past exhibitions have focused on the Jews of Ethiopia, Jewish soldiers in the Civil War, Israel, Jewish rituals of the life cycle, the Holocaust, comic books as an expression of Jewish experience, hand-made books, and art of the bible. Every one of our exhibitions contains a separate set of labels written especially for children, so that families visiting independently can approach the exhibition material in an interactive way.
Lectures and tours, often drawing visitors from different religious and ethnic groups, deepen the educational value of the exhibitions. Senior, church, and school groups are among the many visitors the museum welcomes each year from our local community, Greater Philadelphia, many states of the union, and abroad. Museum volunteers conduct special tours of the synagogue’s famous suite of stained glass windows by noted artist, Jacob Landau.