RESCUE AND RENEWAL
The Jewish Cultural Reconstruction Collection of Hebrew Theological College
In the fall of 1950, Hebrew Theological College (HTC) Librarian, Mrs. Leah Mishkin, a"h, received several large crates filled with Jewish ceremonial objects and religious texts. More crates would arrive over the next few years until, ultimately, Mrs. Mishkin became custodian of over sixty objects and thousands of books, entrusted to HTC by Jewish Cultural Reconstruction, Inc. (JCR). The U.S. State Department vested authority in JCR for the identification and redistribution of "heirless" Jewish cultural property found in the U.S. Occupied Sector of Germany. All told, JCR took custody from the American Military of 500,000 books, 1,000 Sifrei Torah, and 17,000 objects, for which no claims had been filed and no heirs could be determined. The activities of JCR reflected an effort to salvage what remained of a vast intellectual and cultural world and to link the lost communities of Europe to the rest of the Jewish world as an act of preservation and remembrance. The sixty treasured artifacts placed in the care of Hebrew Theological College are now on loan to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, displayed in their Feis Family Lobby.
The ceremony opening the exhibit began with greetings from Richard S. Hirschhaut, Executive Director of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Rabbi Dr. Jerold Isenberg, Chancellor of HTC. The keynote address was given by Grace Cohen Grossman, who served as Senior Curator at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA for three decades. Also present was Marguerite Mishkin, daughter of Leah, a"h, and Rabbi Dr. Leonard C. Mishkin, z"l.
The exhibition is sponsored by Judy and Albert Milstein and family in memory of his parents Ruth and Sam Milstein, a"h, who were Holocaust survivors.
For more information about this exhibition, please visit www.ilholocaustmuseum.org.
Photo credits: Ron Gould Studios