The National Museum of American Jewish History’s mission is to present educational programs and experiences that preserve, explore and celebrate the history of Jews in America. Our purpose is to connect Jews more closely to their heritage and to
In observance of Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for victims of war and in celebration of Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, we invite families to join The Clay Studio for a special "hands"-on project at the Museum. Create your own hamsa - a palm-shaped symbol embraced by many cultures, particularly throughout the Middle East and Africa, as a talisman against the evil eye.
The word hamsa comes from the word for “five” (as in, five fingers) in both Hebrew and Arabic. You often see this shape in jewelry and wall-hangings. It is believed to provide defense against evil by many religions, including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
Wet clay and Museums don’t mix! All hamsas must be kiln-fired before you can take them home. It’s ok: you’ll get them back.