The Jewish Museum's Discomfort with Religion

The museum’s latest core exhibition reveals a distance from Judaism indistinguishable from disregard, embarrassment, and disdain.

May 13, 2019 | Tom L. Freudenheim
About the author: Tom L. Freudenheim is an art historian who has served as the director of several museums, as Assistant Secretary for museums at the Smithsonian Institutions, and as director of the museum program at the National Endowment for the Arts.
This is a response to The Wreck of the Jewish Museum, originally published in Mosaic in May 2019

An 1877 Ukrainian mizraḥ, Kehinde Wiley’s painting of Alios Itzhak, and an ark from Iowa. Jewish Museum.

Menachem Wecker’s essay on Scenes from the Collection, the latest permanent exhibition at the Jewish Museum of New York, is so wide-ranging in its erudition, and so on-target in its insights, that although I’m a partial insider (having worked at the museum a half-century ago), I found it very impressive indeed.

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