Sydney Jewish Museum

August 22, 2006 at 11:55 am | Posted in Out and About, Sydney, Travel | Leave a comment

This week’s trip was to the Sydney Jewish Museum. A stirring and interesting exploration of Judaism in Australia and the Holocaust. While I rarely take photos of museums I would have liked to show a shot of the staircases that flow upwards mimicking the shape of the Star of David. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to photograph inside. Still quite cool. Having very little knowledge of Jewish traditions I found explanations of various symbols and holidays located on the ground floor quite useful. On that note, the museum has place cards for practically everything so that, should you wish, you can get a thorough appreciation. As I’d procrastinated this week I must admit to skimming. Those with more Jewish knowledge than I won’t be bored though as the Ground floor also houses a history of Judaism in Australia, starting from the First Fleet and into Colonial and Modern times. There’s even a recreated street scene.

The next few floors explore the history, circumstances and experience of the Holocaust. The Children’s Memorial and the Shrine of Remembrance are particularly poignant. Any time I’ve ever been to a museum like this or read about Rwanda or Srebrenica I have always come back with questions on the callousness of humanity, the perseverance of individuals and groups and the bravery of some. Leading to egotistical speculation on whether or not I would help if I were in that situation. I hope that I have the inner mettle and fortitude. I hope that such a decision is never needed.

The museum also features touch screens, contemporary papers and many artefacts. Indeed one of its greatest assets are its dedicated volunteers. I admit to being shy at speaking with them about their and their family’s experiences. When I did hear a visitor speaking with them their voices were often filled with passion and emotion.

For anyone interested in Jewish history in Australia and Europe the Museum while simultaneously disheartening and inspirational is worth a visit.

Not open Saturday and there is an admission cost. Would take 1 – 3 hours.

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