Rebuild for diaspora museum

The Museum of the Diaspora in Tel Aviv, Beth Hatefutsot, will be rebuilt and renamed the Museum of the Jewish People.

Instead of telling the story of the diaspora, beginning with the destruction of the temple and ending with the establishment of the Jewish state, the emphasis will be on the story of the Jewish people as a whole, beginning with Abraham and Sarah, and with no end.

The new exhibition will cost £15 million and will open to visitors in 2012.

“This innovative museum will give expression to a new perception about the relationship between the Jewish people and the state of Israel — the perception of one Jewish people, incorporating Jews living in Israel or any other place in the world,” said Leonid Nevzlin, Chairman of Beth Hatefutsot’s international board of governors.

It will also be less focused than before on Ashkenazi Jewish life.

Themes will include the unity and diversity of the Jewish people; the Jewish world in modern times; the cultural influence of non-Jewish surroundings and the Jews’ interaction with it; the place of women in Jewish life; and the significance of the land of Israel and the state of Israel for the Jewish people.

The museum will be financed by the Israeli government, the Claims Conference, the Nadav Fund and other international donors.

Beth Hatefutsot, which is on the Tel Aviv University campus, will remain open during the building work.

Last updated: 4:36pm, July 2 2009