By: Value News | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: May 2008
Arthur Feldman, CEO of the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa, is delighted that the museum has been recognized as one of the top Jewish museums in North America.
“Jewish Living Magazine” has named Tulsa's Sherwin Miller Museum as one of the top Jewish museums in North America, behind only the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the Beth Tzedec Reuben & Helene Dennis Museum in Toronto.
The Sherwin Miller Museum was ranked higher than other important facilities that preserve and study Judaica in much larger metropolitan areas, such as the Spertus Museum in Chicago, the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles and the Jewish Museum of Florida in Miami.
"We're pleased with the recognition," said Arthur Feldman, CEO of the Sherwin Miller Museum.
"We also agree with the premise of the writers, that Jewish museums – in general – are 'a lot more approachable than you might remember,' as we are in the process of making sure that our collections here are presented in just that way."
“Opus 1,” an intaglio vitreograph on Arches, will be on display at “Kristallnacht: The Night of Crystal Death” May 4 through August 10 in the Mezzanine Gallery at Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art.
Feldman said he often compares the Sherwin Miller Museum to a successful and popular campaign for Levy's Rye Bread in the 1960s. “You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's," went the slogan. "That's us. That's the Sherwin Miller Museum," said Feldman. "We want everyone in Tulsa, Oklahoma and around the world to know that there's something for everyone at the Sherwin Miller Museum – regardless of your ethnic background or religious faith."
“Jewish Living Magazine” selected ten of the best Jewish museums from 80 across North America. The Sherwin Miller Museum was ranked number three on the list.
To see why Sherwin Miller was ranked so highly, view the museum’s latest exhibit, “Kristallnacht: The Night of Crystal Death.” It is a portfolio of intaglio vitreographs on paper, which confront the horror of a nationwide pogrom against German Jews that took place on the night of November 9, 1938. This important and challenging group of works provided artist Erwin Eisch with an opportunity to face a vile era in his homeland's past.
Eisch, who has childhood memories of Kristallnacht, hails from the Eastern Bavarian village of Frauneau, famed for its glass blowing and cutting. Eisch's medium is also glass, and he has created his Kristallnacht portfolio as a means to "relieve some of the clinging shame that weighs down upon us Germans, and to bring courage to all those who oppose hate and violence and the destruction of the environment, today and forever."
Kristallnacht, which was orchestrated by the German government to seem a spontaneous uprising of the German people, portended the Holocaust. Nearly all German synagogues, and many cemeteries and Jewish businesses, were destroyed within a few hours. Up to an estimated 2,500 deaths are attributed to the event, either from direct riot violence or the resulting 30,000 arrests and concentration camp internments of German Jews. The name Kristallnacht itself is a source of some controversy, because the term connotes the original sardonic intent of Nazi propagandists to associate the events which, for most Germans, comprise a repulsive piece of history, with a glamorous metaphor.
Two special events are happening at the Charles Schusterman Jewish Community Center in May. Yom Hazikaron, an Israeli National Memorial Day service and program, occurs May 6. The event is free of charge, but reservations are required.
Yom Ha’atzmaut is May 7 and will include a reception, dinner prepared by Israeli chefs, and guest speakers Mayor Kathy Taylor and Tamara Podemski. Podemski is a Jewish Native American who won the best actress award at the Sundance Film Festival for the film “Four Sheets to the Wind.”
The Yom HaShoah interfaith Holocaust commemoration will take place Thurday, May 1 at 7 p.m. at Temple Israel.