Food for Thought
In addition to “wining and dining” our way through Los Angeles, we visited two museums, which inspired, informed and gave us a better understanding of both our Jewish heritage and our Jewish future as citizens of the world. We think that both the Skirball Cultural Center and the Museum of Tolerance are essential destinations when visiting the area. The offer important life perspectives about who we are, where we’ve been, and where we could and should go. Los Angeles is fortunate to have both of these resources and we feel fortunate that we had an opportunity to visit both!
Skirball Cultural Center
Four Thousand Years of Jewish Heritage
A visit to this cultural center is a feast for the eyes, the heart, the mind, and the memory. The architecture is stunning—a gorgeous structure created by the renowned architect Moshe Safdie—and the exhibits elucidating! It is a family destination, appropriate for even the youngest child.
The Skirball's core exhibition Visions and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America traces the experiences and accomplishments of the Jewish people over four thousand years and provides a fascinating and memorable experience for older children, teenagers, and adults. There is something for everyone! In addition to its exhibits, both temporary and permanent, the museum’s versatility attracts over 500,000 visitors yearly. Visitors attend musical and educational programs, community meetings, private life cycle or corporate events. The grounds and the structure are sensational.
When we visited, we especially enjoyed some of the temporary exhibits as well:
• Jews on Vinyl – Traces the cultural journey of music on “vinyl”. Remember those old LP’s and 45’s; 1940-s to 1980’s…(through September 5, 2010).
• Playful Portraits of People You Know by Hanoch Piven – Witty cool caricatures of famous people crafted by an ingenious Israeli artist!
And of course…the unbelievable new permanent exhibit:
• Noah’s Ark is an interactive area where children with families can take a journey and play together inside a floor-to-ceiling wooden ark filled to the rafters with whimsical animals! Sadly, we had no children with us.
2701 North Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
The Museum of Tolerance
Our Role in Changing the World
The Museum of Tolerance, the MOT, is the educational arm of the Simon Wiesenthal Center dedicated to “respect and mutual understanding through education, community partnerships and civic engagement.” Founded in 1993, over four million have visited.
Tolerance and understanding among the people of the world was the mission of the late Simon Wiesenthal, the famed Nazi hunter. The purpose of the museum’s creation was to remind people of the past; to inspire them to act to protect the futures; to prevent hatred and genocide; and to assume responsibility in changing attitudes toward one another, both peacefully and constructively.
We found the Museum emotional, inspiring, fascinating and uplifting.
The Holocaust section is a sound and light guided 70-minute exhibit, spanning the 1920’s to 1945 – focusing on Nazi Europe and the world. We were issued “victim’s” passports as we went through the exhibit. We “toured” this section with a public high school class group; they were mesmerized. At the end of the tour, we discovered the fate of the actual person on our passport, whether he or she lived or died.
The Tolerance Center is a state of the art exhibit presented in several parts, and encouraging visitors to understand, and make decisions about, the complexities of issues such as hate and personal responsibility, civil rights and finding solutions to human problems. It was enlightening!
We had time to visit only two exhibits, but plan to return for more on our next trip to LA. Be sure and set aside a day to tour the MOT. It’s easy to find; we walked from our Marriott Residence Inn on Pico. (a convenient place to stay and we found it to have a responsive staff and well maintained rooms!).
Simon Wiesenthal Plaza
9786 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles 90035
For information, to learn more about Simon Wiesenthal, to become a supporter, a member or order a tribute card, please visit MuseumOfTolerance.com.
About Simon Wiesenthal, The Museum of Tolerance Holocaust Section and the Tolerance Center – Focuses on issues intolerance issues of our daily lives.