The Museum has a full calendar of public programs open to Members and non-members. For information on these public events, please visit http://www.nmajh.org/calendar.aspx. For a complete listing of private, Members-only events, please see below.
Upcoming Member Events
Throughout May and June, there are a number of excellent Public Programs taking place. From "Café Conversations" on Wednesday evenings on select summer nights to special programs in May for Holocaust Remembrance Day to Young Friends events for the 21 to 40 set, Members always get discounts. To see a full listing of upcoming programs, click on the link above.
Members’, Docents’, and Volunteers’ Book Club
Tuesday, May 3 from 1 pm to 3 pm
Join us for a discussion of the 2015-2016 Philadelphia One Book, One Jewish Community selection (link to http://jewishlearningventure.org/buildingcommunity/onebook/), A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka by Lev Golinkin.
The New York Times calls Golinkin, “A wonderful writer, witty and economical, he generally applies a light touch to emotionally heavy material. Adversity offers him rich comic material. He delights in absurdity.” (link “The New York Times” to http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/24/books/a-backpack-a-bear-and-eight-crates-of-vodka-a-memoir.html?_r=0).
Shirley Brown, Co-Director of the Philadelphia Writing Project will facilitate the discussion. Katerina Romanenko of the Museum’s Education Department will share additional background information on the book’s content. Light refreshments will be served.
RSVP to Vera DaVinci at email@example.com
The Museum Store has offered Book Clubbers 30% off of Golinkin’s book. Click here to purchase your copy. (link to http://www.judaicashop.net/default.aspx)
“The Inhabitants Thereof: Philadelphia Jewish History"
Adult Education Class
with Rabbi Lance J. Sussman PhD
May 4, May 18
Tickets for individual lectures are available. Call 215.923.3811 x164 to purchase.
The 4-week class (every other week), taught by Rabbi Lance Sussman, will explore the sweep of Philadelphia Jewish history. For much of its history, Philadelphia has functioned as the Jewish Capital of America. At other times, it has been paradigmatic of the American Jewish experience and, thus, in many ways is part of the "national" story the Museum is dedicated to exploring.
Past Member Events
Members' Curator Tour
Tuesday, April 12
Associate Curator Ivy Weingram led a tour of the second floor of the Museum’s core exhibition. This floor, Choices and Challenges of Freedom: 1945 – Today explores the contemporary American Jewish experience.
Members' Trip to Walnut Street Theatre: Red
Wednesday, March 16
Members enjoyed a night at the theater seeing the Tony Award winner for Best Play, Red. This show portrayed American Jewish artist, Mark Rothko. Following the show, members gathered with the actors for a private reception.
Members’ Trip to the Walnut Street Theatre: Becoming Dr. Ruth
Tuesday, December 15
At the Walnut Street Theatre
After meeting Dr. Ruth at Dreamers and Doers in November, join us for a night at the theater to see her life on stage.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and Friends Exhibition
Member Preview Day
Wednesday, August 26
The opening event included 11am activities ideal for kids and featured artist Jessica Eldredge, www.jessicaeldredge.com.
Through 90 original illustrations and preliminary sketches, dummy books, Waber’s art supplies, and other memorabilia, Lyle Lyle explores the sometimes silly, but always poignant characters and worlds Waber created in more than 30 picture books over the course of his nearly 50-year career.
*Water Ice was generously provided by Rita's
Rita's of South Street
239 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Members' Curator Tour
Members enjoyed an intimate tour of special exhibition Richard Avedon: Family Affairs with NMAJH Chief Curator Dr. Josh Perelman.
Members' Trip to the Walnut Street Theatre Irving Berlin's I Love a Piano
June, 2015 show and private reception
Join us for a night of theater. The Walnut Street Theatre’s I Love a Piano made us want to sing, dance, laugh, and more! This delightful musical follows the journey of a piano as it moves in and out of American lives from the turn of the century to the present. Irving Berlin’s classic songs include “Blue Skies,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” and others. Following the show, we gathered in a private space at the Theatre for a reception to which the cast joined.
Members’ Book Club
NMAJH Members joined for our Members’ book discussion. In June we met to talk about Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman. This book includes 18 stories covering themes as diverse as family, love, and betrayal in locations as close as Maine and Massachusetts, and as far flung as Central America and Hungary.
Shirley Brown, Co-Director of the Philadelphia Writing Project will lead the discussion.
Richard Avedon: Family Affairs
Richard Avedon: Family Affairs, from the collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, features a massive mural of beat poet Allen Ginsberg and his family, a group portrait of Andy Warhol and The Factory, as well as a series of 69 portraits entitled “The Family,” commissioned by Rolling Stone and published on the eve of the 1976 presidential election. NMAJH is the only U.S. venue giving viewers a unique opportunity to reflect on the concepts of family, politics, and power, as expressed by one of the 20th century’s most prominent photographers.
Members' Book Club
In March 2015, we discussed Bella Abzug: How One Tough Broad from the Bronx Fought Jim Crow and Joe McCarthy, Pissed Off Jimmy Carter, Battled for the Rights of Women and Workers, Rallied Against War and for the Planet, and Shook Up Politics Along the Way an oral history by Suzanne Braun Levine and Mary Thom.
Shirley Brown, Co-Director of the Philadelphia Writing Project, facilitated the discussion.
Click here to purchase a copy of the book
Members' Curator Tour
Members joined for an intimate tour of our 2nd floor, Choices and Challenges of Freedom: 1945-Today. One of the members of our Curatorial Department lead this deep dive into our exhibition.
Opening Event for Liat Segal: Scattered Light
Museum Members met Liat Segal, a cutting-edge Israeli contemporary artist whose high-tech installation Scattered Light (on-view beginning January 27) was commissioned especially for the Museum and weaves together history and technology using historic text and visitor reflections.
During the opening event, members investigated this unique piece of art and gain firsthand insights from the artist herself about the intersections of Jewish history, art, and technology.
Members Quarterly Book Club
Members join us for our Quarterly Members Book Club. In December, we discussed author Alice Hoffman’s newest novel, The Museum of Extraordinary Things. This early twentieth century love story follows Coralie Sardie, the daughter of a sinister impresario behind a boardwalk freak show, and photographer Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father’s Lower East Side Orthodox community.
Shirley Brown, Co-Director of the Philadelphia Writing Project, facilitated the discussion.
Members Mural Arts Program Trolley Tour
Members joined for a Members-only trolley tour of selected murals from City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. The murals and themes explored on this tour deal with sports and athletic figures, all in the spirit of the Museum’s special exhibition, Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American.
Members Quarterly Book Club
Members joined for our Quarterly Members Book Club. In September, we discussed author Gary Shteyngart’s newest work, Little Failure. Shteyngart emigrated from Russia as a child. His Jewish identity informs his works, including this autobiographical piece. Shirley Brown, Co-Director of the Philadelphia Writing Project, facilitated the discussion.
Members Only Tour of Theresa Bernstein: A Century in Art
Members of NMAJH gathered at the Woodmere Art Museum for a guided tour of Theresa Bernstein: A Century in Art.
A Century in Art is the first retrospective dedicated to the work of Theresa Bernstein (1890-2002), an artist whose dramatic paintings chronicled twentieth-century American life. She was known for her expressive realism and penetrating depictions of immigrants and working class people in their everyday world. Bernstein and her family immigrated from Cracow, Poland to the United States and settled in Philadelphia until her family moved to New York City in 1912. Though assimilated to American culture, she maintained a close connection to her Jewish roots and was a passionate Zionist throughout her lifetime. Praised early on for “painting like a man,” Bernstein was at one time more famous than her friend and artist, Edward Hopper.
Members Only Quarterly Book Club
NMAJH Members joined to discuss The Natural by Bernard Malamud. Shirley Brown, Co-Director of the Philadelphia Writing Project, facilitated the discussion.
Rescue in the Philippines Film Screening
April 23, 2014
Members joined for this special documentary screening that chronicles the incredible, little-known story of a group of courageous friends who helped 1,200 Jews escape the Nazis and immigrate to the Philippines. Narrated by Liev Schreiber.
Mural Arts Trolley Tour
April 6, 2014
NMAJH Members joined for a special morning as we enjoyed the renowned, Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s exclusive “Immigration and Jewish Landmarks Tour.” This trolley tour explored several of Philadelphia’s neighborhood murals that discuss the early immigration of various ethnic groups. Along the way, we viewed many of Philadelphia’s – and particularly South Philadelphia’s – Jewish landmarks. The tour included a stop at The Little Shul, one of the oldest continuously used Orthodox synagogues.
Chasing Dreams Members' Opening
March 12, 2014
NMAJH Members joined for the opening of our groundbreaking exhibition, Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American. Members had exclusive access to the exhibition the day before it opened to the general public.
Members Only Quarterly Book Club
March 2, 2014
NMAJH Members joined to discuss The Catcher was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg by Nicholas Dawidoff.
Shirley Brown, Co-Director of the Philadelphia Writing Project will facilitate the discussion. Coffee, tea, and snacks will be provided.
Philadelphia Film Premiere: American Jerusalem
Exclusively for NMAJH Members
This film was provided by The National Center for Jewish Film, www.jewishfilm.org
Executive Producer Jackie Krentzman joined for a talk-back following the screening American Jerusalem: Jews and the Making of San Francisco is the epic story of the pioneering Jews of San Francisco, their rise to prominence, and how, freed from discrimination, they reinvented themselves as a distinctly new kind of Jew: they weren't just American Jews—they were San Francisco Jews.
Members-only Book Club Discussion of Overweight Sensation
Members came together for another intimate and thought-provoking discussion facilitated by Shirley Brown, Co-Director of the Philadelphia Writing Project.
The group discussed Mark Cohen's brand new book, Overweight Sensation: The Life and Comedy of Allan Sherman, about the late parodist and comedian, Allan Sherman.
Sophie Tucker: The Last of the Red Hot Mamas
Walnut Street Theatre
Members and friends came together for a wonderful evening of song and comedy at the Walnut Street Theatre to see Sophie Tucker: The Last of the Red Hot Mamas. Tucker, an American Jewish actress and comedienne delighted generations.
Following the performance, the group enjoyed a reception with Kathy Halenda, the actress who portrayed Tucker.
Red Star Line: A Portrait of European Migration
Bram Beelaert, curator of the recently opened Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, Belgium gave Members an exclusive look at the stories of immigration, hope, hardship, and much more that are told both at NMAJH and the Red Star Line Museum. We learned that of the more than two million European migrants on the Red Star Line from Antwerp to the New World, one in four was Jewish, including two of NMAJH’s Only in America inductees, Irving Berlin and Albert Einstein. Members stayed for a light reception where they were able to mingle with Mr. Beelaert to learn more.
Members Only Orchestra Trip
Members joined together at the Philadelphia Orchestra as they present “Perlman Returns”, featuring legendary musician Itzhak Perlman as both conductor and violinist. The Museum has purchased a block of tickets in Tier 2 Center of Verizon Hall, and everyone enjoyed a wonderful afternoon with famed vionlinist Itzhak Perlman.
Members Mural Arts Program Bus Tour
Members joined for a special morning as we enjoy the renowned, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s exclusive “Immigration and Jewish Landmarks Tour.” We took a trolley tour through several of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods to explore murals that discuss the early immigration of various ethnic groups. Along the way, we viewed many of Philadelphia’s – and particularly South Philadelphia’s – Jewish landmarks. The tour included a stop at The Little Shul, one of the oldest continuously used Orthodox synagogues.
Click here to learn more about this mural
Film Premiere plus Exhibition Opening
Members joined us for an opening reception of NMAJH’s new exhibition installation, Now Showing: “Pop” Lubin’s Silent Film Empire followed by a Philadelphia premiere screening of the 1922 film, Breaking Home Ties. This film was the last produced by Philadelphia’s – and Lubin’s – Betzwood Motion Picture Studio. The film was accompanied by an original score performed live.
A Taste of Opera: Nabucco
At the Museum in the Dell Theater
Presented by Opera Philadelphia and NMAJH, this free one-hour program included selections from Verdi's first great opera, Nabucco, which opens Opera Philadelphia’s 2013-2014 Season. Recounting the biblical story of Nebuchadnezzar, Verdi’s rousing melodies, like the famous “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves (Va, pensiero),” moved the Italian states to unify as a nation.
Several cast members from Opera Philadelphia’s production of Nabucco performed, including two Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Winners, mezzo-soprano Margaret Mezzacappa and bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana.
Members-only Book Club Discussion of Day of the Locust
Members came together to discuss Nathanael West’s 1939 novel, The Day of the Locust. Shirley Brown, Co-Director of the Philadelphia Writing Project will facilitate a sure-to-be-lively discussion.
West was born Nathan Wallenstein Weinstein in New York in 1903. He moved to Hollywood in 1933, where The Day of the Locust takes place.
For questions about the Book Club, contact Julie Howard Taylor at (215) 923-3811 x 104 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exclusive Preview of The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats
Members saw the exhibition before it opened to the public, enjoyed the reception, and heard remarks from Museum leadership.
The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats* is the first major exhibition in this country to pay tribute to award-winning author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916-1983), whose beloved children's books include Whistle for Willie, The Snowy Day, and many others.
*The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats is organized by The Jewish Museum, New York, from the collection of the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, The University of Southern Mississippi. The exhibition was funded at The Jewish Museum through a generous grant from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. Additional support was provided by the Joseph Alexander Foundation, the Alfred J. Grunebaum Memorial Fund, and the Winnick Family Foundation.
Members-only preview screening of Hannah Arendt
This brilliant new biopic of influential German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt before the film’s June 28th opening at Philadelphia theaters.
Arendt’s reporting on the 1961 trial of ex-Nazi Adolf Eichmann in The New Yorker—controversial both for her portrayal of Eichmannand the Jewish councils—introduced her now-famous concept of the “Banality of Evil.” Using footage from the actual Eichmann trial and weaving a narrative that spans three countries, von Trotta beautifully turns the often invisible passion for thought into immersive, dramatic cinema.
Dreamers and Doers: Stuart Weitzman
Entrepreneur and shoe designer, Stuart Weitzman kicked off NMAJH’s Dreamers and Doers speaker series on entrepreneurship. Weitzman told the story of the Stuart Weitzman company – a story of passion, vision, aspiration, and hard work to an audience of 250 people. Members took advantage of deeply discounted event tickets.
Members-only Book Club Discussion of The Finkler Question
We had a full house to discuss Howard Jacobson’s Man Booker-Prize winning work, The Finkler Question. This controversial book made for thought-provoking discussion among our group.
Shirley Brown, Co-Director of the Philadelphia Writing Project facilitated a lively discussion.
Join us in September for the next of our Quarterly Members-only Book Club Discussions! We will announce the book selection shortly.
Members at the Sponsor level and above joined us for intimate guided tours of our exhibition with members of our Curatorial staff. Stay tuned for additional Curator’s Tours this Fall.
Please note that the Museum’s docents offer public, guided tours nearly every day. Please visit http://www.nmajh.org/infoandfaq/ under “Guided Tours” for more information.
Teddy Bear of Helga Weiss
National Museum of American Jewish History, 2005.2.1
Gift of Helga E. Milberg in memory of Rosa and Emil Weiss
Complimentary Members-Only Screening of Koch, the documentary
A full house of Members joined us for a private screening of Koch before the documentary opened to the public at area movie theatres!
Controversial figure and former Mayor Ed Koch was the quintessential New Yorker. Ferocious, charismatic, and hilariously blunt, Koch, who died in February at the age of 88, ruled New York from 1978 to 1989 - a down-and-dirty decade of grit, graffiti, near-bankruptcy and rampant crime. First-time filmmaker (and former Wall Street Journal reporter) Neil Barsky has crafted an intimate and revealing portrait of this intensely private man, his legacy as a political titan, and the town he helped transform.
Exclusive Members-Only Book Discussion
We were pleased to host a Members-only Book Discussion of the 2013 Free Library of Philadelphia One Book, One Philadelphia* selection, Julie Otsuka's The Buddha in the Attic.
Otsuka's work is a compelling account of Japanese "picture brides" and their experience in the United States.
Shirley Brown, Co-Director of the Philadelphia Writing Project facilitated the discussion. Brown's professional teaching life has largely focused on gender issues like those discussed in Otsuka's book, and those elucidated in parts of NMAJH's core exhibition
Opening Reception for Jewish Artists in America 1925 - 1945:
Selections from the Collection of Steven and Stephanie Wasser
Join us for an invitation-only reception for our newest special exhibition, Jewish Artists in America 1925 -1945: Selections from the Collection of Steven and Stephanie Wasser.
Enjoy light refreshments and a special program featuring collector Steven Wasser and Sharon Ann Musher, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History and Director of M.A. in American Studies at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
Members-only Preview of Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges
Members were invited to a preview of our special exhibition, Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow, at which Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions and Collections, Dr. Josh Perelman revealed how NMAJH came to host an incredible exhibition that tells a little-known, extraordinarily moving, and entirely universal story.
World Premiere Screening of Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy
Members at the Supporter Level ($180) and up attended a sneak peek screening of a new documentary film, an intimate conversation with the film’s producers and a festive reception. Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy, traces the unique role of Jewish composers and lyricists in the creation of the modern American musical. The film aired nationally on PBS’s Great Performances in January 2013.