The first of its kind in the world, the innovative 50,000 square-foot Jewish Children’s Museum features interactive, multi-media exhibits designed to engage, educate, and entertain children of all backgrounds and their parents and teachers.
The museum uses high-tech exhibits and hands-on activities to celebrate and explore Jewish culture, history and traditions so that visitors come away enriched and inspired- and have a lot of fun too. By enabling children of all faiths and backgrounds to gain a positive perspective and awareness of Jewish heritage, the museum fosters tolerance and understanding.
A project of Tzivos Hashem, the largest Jewish children’s organization in the world, the museum is located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn at the corner of Eastern Parkway and Kingston Avenue, and is dedicated to the memory of Ari Halberstam, the Brooklyn teenager killed by a Lebanese terrorist in 1994.
On the museum’s honorary board of directors are: Governor George Pataki, Senator Charles Schumer, Rudy Giuliani and Elie Wiesel.
About the Exhibits
Unlike ordinary museums that are filled with glass cases and velvet ropes, there are no “keep off” signs at the Jewish Children’s Museum. Everything has been created to be touched, held, explored and played with. The more than 80 interactive exhibits are the result of the effort of a team of talented consultants and professionals, including engineers, designers and educators.
Among the many innovative uses of modern technology to teach age-old traditions are a Chanukah newsroom, where children can tape television newscasts about the Chanukah story, a virtual reality bow-and-arrow game in honor of the Lag B’Omer holiday, and a sounds-and-lights filled game show studio where kids can compete against each other in games based on the popular television shows “Jeopardy” and ‘Wheel of Fortune.”
Creation and the Sabbath
Highlights include a three-dimensional visual and audio interpretation of the biblical story of creation and a giant Sabbath table for children to explore that features a challah to climb through, giant lava lamp candles and matzoh ball computers that can print out recipes from around the world.
A detailed model village is used to introduce the traditions of every Jewish holiday. Each building and exhibit area is packed with hands-on activities. For example, children can use a working olive press to make oil for Chanukah, use a special light to search for bits of bread that are forbidden on Passover and dress up as characters in the Purim story.
Kosher Supermarket and Kitchen
Role-playing activities introduce children to the basics of the Jewish dietary laws, and include fully stocked grocery shelves and meat and dairy kitchen areas, a talking refrigerator with a great sense of humor and working checkout scanners.
The World of Good
Visitors have the opportunity to explore fundamental good deeds- topics that are universal to people of all backgrounds- such as giving charity (children can play a special pinball game to decide where to contribute coins) and visiting the sick (children can make get well cards that will be delivered to patients in local hospitals.)
Large dioramas, activities and video presentations will be used to trace Jewish history from biblical times to the present day.
About the Building
In addition to exhibits, the museum houses numerous other facilities such as a lending library, computer labs, state-of-the-art movie theater & studio, arts and crafts studios, banquet hall, gift shop, and Mendy’s kosher restaurant, that make it a valuable community resource.