By Ellen Goldstein
On February 4, the JCC of Greater Albuquerque unveiled a series of four interpretive panels featuring elements of New Mexico Jewish history. The panels were introduced to the community at the second annual “Shabbat 505,” a community-wide Shabbat celebration held at JCC.
The exhibit panels depict some of the Jewish families and individuals who have been—and in some cases, continue to be—instrumental in creating a rich legacy of Jewish culture and influence in our state. New Mexico Jewish historians and authors, Noel Pugach, Ph.D., and Naomi Sandweiss were on hand to give guided tours that expanded on the information and themes of the exhibit panels. In addition, Paula Amar Schwartz, producer of the upcoming film Challah Rising in the Desert shared a new trailer for the movie about NM Jewish history, which will premier in Albuquerque on April 29 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
“We felt the JCC should have some permanent educational information about the fascinating Jewish history of New Mexico,” said JCC Director Dave Simon. “Museum exhibits come and go, but these panels will be publicly accessible every day that the JCC is open.”
The JCC exhibit panels are installed in the lobby and central hallway. The public is invited to come view the panels and JCC hopes they will also be a resource for schools. Each panel addresses a central theme; a sampling of each is described below:
“Our hope is to expand the NM Jewish history exhibit as funding permits,” said Simon. “There is much more history to tell and the story of the Jewish people in New Mexico continues to unfold and evolve.”
Exhibit expansion goals include displaying additional panels and adding audio-visual or digital components. Anyone specifically interested in supporting the NM Jewish history project can contact JCC.
The Jewish history project at the JCC is a collaboration of JCC, the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society, and the Jewish Federation of New Mexico. Funding for the project came from the JCC and JFNM.