At the Beit Hatfutsot-Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, Israel, visitors can see a display of miniature synagogues. These tiny models, complete with miniature chandeliers and pews, showcase the diversity among Jewish houses of worship from all over the world. And just recently, a generous donation to this exhibit will bring three more models to the collection.
“I’m an observant Jew, and I visited many of those synagogues over the years,” Moses, 86, told JTA in a phone interview. “I have some sense of what life was like, particularly in Eastern Europe for Jews, so I decided to make a pledge.”
Not just any pledge — a gift of $6 million, of which $5 million has been specifically earmarked for the refurbishment of the synagogue gallery.
“Jewish life has both diversity and permanence,” Moses said. “My hope for this exhibition is that it will give visitors a sense of the durability of the Jewish message, and an appreciation of earlier generations and how they expressed their Judaism within the confines of a synagogue.”
The new Synagogue Gallery will include the same 18 beloved structures that it opened with, as well as three new models. Each display has been altered to showcase the way in which the structure reflects three specific roles that sit at the heart of a synagogue: social gatherings, studying, and work and prayer.