Biblical species

Introduction to the Center for Jewish History and Biblical Species

Welcome to the Center for Jewish History. You will be starting your tour in the  Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Great Hall. 

Founded in 2000 by Bruce Slovin, the Center for Jewish History is home to five partner organizations; the American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. 

The Center illuminates history, culture, and heritage.  The partners’ archives make up the world’s largest and most comprehensive archive of the modern Jewish experience outside of Israel.  The collections span a thousand years, with more than 5 miles of archival documents (in dozens of languages and alphabet systems), more than 500,000 volumes, as well as thousands of artworks, textiles, ritual objects, recordings, films, and photographs.

Move to the center of the Great Hall and look down.  Notice the beautiful terrazzo floor embedded with aluminum, bronze, and mother of pearl.  This monumental work of art is known as, "Biblical Species."

Designed by sculptor Michele Oka Doner in 1990,  "Biblical Species" illustrates the seven species or plants that Moses' scouts brought back from their reconnaissance mission to the Promised Land.  Can you find the seven species?  Try and name them all.

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