June

‘Between Two Worlds: Personal Memory and Immortal Souls in Jewish Culture’ – an exhibition organized by specialists of the Museum of Jewish History in Russia on the basis of its own collection and in cooperation with the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre

The unusual theme of this exhibition is linked to the special significance that the moment of burial has in Jewish culture. No museum of Jewish culture or ethnography can be complete without a collection related to ritual traditions and popular beliefs regarding the hereafter. In the five years since the opening of the museum, its collections have come to include a significant quantity of relevant ceremonial objects and artistic evidence. The exhibition is therefore able to paint a complete picture – not only of the rituals of farewell and parting from the deceased, but also of popular-religious perceptions of this moment of passing from one world to another.

May

The museum releases an album presenting the most outstanding objects from its collection, which has now undergone five years of development under the care of museum staff.

Despite this relatively short period of existence, the museum’s album is sizeable and ambitious. Detailed scholarly commentary accompanies the thematic material and images of the display items. The album incorporates explanations of terms, descriptions of the origin and purpose of presented items, and foundational historical background.

The publication consists of two volumes, corresponding to the two halves of the museum’s collection: ethnographic material or ‘Traditional Culture’, and historical material under the rubric of ‘Jews in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union’. The first volume, which presents the traditional culture of Russian Jewry, includes: works of Jewish folk art and handicrafts that served to adorn the interior of the home and the synagogue, objects of everyday life for both weekday and holiday use, and various documents and materials produced by community institutions.

The items showcased in the second volume serve as evidence of social and legal changes, economic transformations, cultural pursuits, political experiments, and the processes of modernization in which the Jews of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union were involved over the course of their history.

The catalogue is illustrated solely with representations of carefully selected objects sourced from the museum’s collections, 658 in number. The thematic sections of the catalogue are accompanied by explanatory texts and scholarly but accessible articles. These both help to orient the reader amidst the multitude of visual material and represent the results of the museum staff’s own research.

February

‘The Habima and Moscow State Yiddish Theatre (1919-1949)’ – an exhibition presenting the apex of Jewish theatre in Russia.

The A.A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum organizes this first exhibition on the history of Jewish theatre in Russia in cooperation with the Museum of Jewish History in Russia and other participants.

The Museum of Jewish History in Russia contributes a range of unique documents on the history of Jewish theatre from its own collections.

The exhibition reminds us once more that many avant-garde artists of world renown started and developed their careers as stage designers and decorators in Jewish theatres, sometimes becoming well known in those capacities.