Rescue & Renewal
RESCUE AND RENEWAL –
The Jewish Cultural Reconstruction Collection of Hebrew Theological College
In the fall of 1950, Hebrew Theological College (HTC) Librarian Leah Mishkin 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 Torah scrolls, 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. Over sixty of these objects were placed in the care of Hebrew Theological College. On loan to the Museum, these treasured artifacts are on display in the Feis Family Lobby.
This exhibition is made possible by Judy and Albert Milstein and family in memory of Holocaust survivors Ruth and Sam Milstein.