Add Your Community to the Story of the Jewish People

Inside Leadership

Add Your Community to the Story of the Jewish People

Visitors viewing an exhibit at the museum

I recently marked Lag BaOmer with the Jewish community on the Tunisian Island of Djerba. There, I learned the narrative of the community that was established by a group of Cohenim who escaped the exile to Babylonia after the destruction of the First Temple. What connects this community to Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, the Reform congregation in Manhattan, where I am a trustee?

Likewise, what connects the Lemba tribe in Zimbabwe, whose members have been performing circumcisions for centuries and who observe Shabbat, with a group of French Jewish motorcyclists, who organize trips to collect charity for people in need across Europe?

In one word: “Com.unity,” a project of the Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv, a distinctive global institution that tells the ongoing and unique story of the Jewish people. The museum opened in 1978 and in 2005, Israel’s Knesset (parliament) passed the Beit Hatfutsot Law, defining Beit Hatfutsot as “the National Center for Jewish communities in Israel and around the world.” For nearly four decades, the museum has been compiling an array of digital resources – from photography and genealogy to films, music, history, and more – into various databases that reflect the story of the Jewish people around the world.

Com.unity, one of the museum’s creative, and exciting database projects, will showcase contemporary Jewish communities from around the globe as part of the museum's new core exhibition. Presented on wide interactive touch-screens, Com.unity will highlight the vibrant and rich life of the Jewish people today, as well as diverse forms of Jewish culture and the contributions Jews have made to global civilization and culture. It also will be accessible via our website to millions of people worldwide. As the CEO of Beit Hatfutsot of America, I am honored and privileged to be involved with this innovative project.

Because the Reform Movement is known for its creative congregations and for defining innovative paths to the practice of Judaism today, the museum is excited to invite you to add your community to the Com.unity database, so that visitors to the museum – in person and online – can be inspired by the richness and diversity of Reform Judaism’s practices and rituals.

I am confident that we and all those who will access your communities’ narratives and visuals will be inspired by your vision, values, creativity, and actions – and the many ways you implement them in a Reform Jewish context. To be inscribed into the historical scripts of contemporary Jewish communities around the world and to have visibility within the Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot, visit the Com.unity website to add your community to our database. Our story won’t be complete without you in it!

For more information about Com.unity and how you can add your congregation to the database, watch this video.

Photo: Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot

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Shula Bahat is the CEO of Beit Hatfutsot of America, a programmatic and institutional platform of the Israel-based Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot. She previously was the associate executive director of the AJC. In 2000, while AJC's acting director, Shula was recognized by the Forward 50 as the top Israeli and female leader in the U.S. She is a trustee of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York, NY. Email Shula.

Shula Bahat
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