“You’ve discovered the only Jewish thing in America you didn’t know about,” my husband, Mr. B, congratulated me after we’d stumbled upon the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco last week as part of our vacation. (chow chow not included with the museum, sadly.)

If you haven’t been, it’s  it’s interesting to see the exhibits of modern reinterpretations of Judaism.  They focus a lot on “remaking traditions” , some of which are really hipster-y and tacky, and some of which make you think.  One of the museum’s current projects is writing a Torah with the help of one of the only soferets(iot?) in the U.S., Julie Seltzer, to which you can contribute letters by digitally creating a handprint.

Another interesting current exhibit is Reinventing Jewish Ritual where holiday and everyday objects are reinvented by artists, like an exhibit of havdala spices in test tube beakers or the rolling up of Torah fragments in pill capsules, giving a new meaning to internalizing verses.

Anyway, if you’re feeling free-wheeling and fancy-free are in San Fran, you should check it out.   Has anyone else been?

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  • Did you see the mein kampf exhibit? Or Jews on Vinyl? I was there a couple months ago, so maybe the exhibits have changed…

  • Middle-thanks! I thought that the break would give you a much-needed reprieve from my writing.

    Tiff-I saw both and I thought Mein Kampf was a little cliched but definitely interesting and the Vinyl book is a great segue into the exhibit, which is pretty sparse IMO.

  • rolling up of Torah fragments in pill capsules, giving a new meaning to internalizing verses
    – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … uh, not so new.

    The prophet Ezekiel has a vision in which he eats a Torah scroll.

    That’s the problem with 2000 years of heritage – it’s so hard for progressives to “remake traditions” without revealing their own ignorance…

  • I think I really just enjoyed the sofa and cool tunes in the vinyl room. It had been a really long, museum hopping day.

  • Ben-David, if I remember correctly, the exhibit was a reinterpretation of precisely that. I don’t know if I paraphrased it exactly right.