One hundred years after S. An-sky’s Jewish ethnographic expeditions, what is left to “discover” about Eastern European Jewish culture? After so many years of assimilation and persecution, the Holocaust, and the birth of the state of Israel, what remains of the Jewish world of our grandparents and great-grandparents—and what can it possibly teach us?
Much as An-sky predicted, Jewish traditional objects, music, rituals, and even the Yiddish language itself have not only endured but have taken on new meaning. The mikvah reborn as a feminist symbol, Hasidic melodies transformed into secular anthems, Jewish mysticism used as a powerful point of departure in contemporary literature—these are only a few examples of the contemporary adaptation, resilience, and reinterpretation of Eastern European Jewish culture.
Through personal stories, photographs, and mementos, the Lee & Alfred Hutt Discovery Gallery celebrates the Yiddish Book Center’s commitment to Jewish cultural continuity by inviting visitors to encounter individuals whose lives exemplify the longevity and adaptability of our cultural heritage.
This exhibit is made possible through the support of Lee and Alfred Hutt.