The Mizel Museum’s exhibit “4,000 Year Road Trip: Gathering Sparks” is a truly amazing experience, working its way through th
The Mizel Museum’s exhibit “4,000 Year Road Trip: Gathering Sparks” is a truly amazing experience, working its way through the vast history of the Jewish culture. The name of the exhibit represents some of the important points of the history of the Jewish religion and culture. Jewish religion is about 5,775 years old, but the appearance of the first monotheist, Abraham, is dated to be around 4,000 years ago. The second half of the title comes from a very old origin story: In Jewish culture there is the idea of Tikkun Olam, or repairing the world. The story goes that at the beginning of the world containers of light, or Kabala, were being distributed across the world, and that these containers of light would make the world perfect. However, the containers opened, spilling sparks across the globe. Therefore, the purpose of humans is said to be the task of gathering these sparks back together (or repairing the world), and when that is done, the world will be perfect. The Mizel Museum shows visitors all of this, and more.
Most of the information throughout the exhibit is represented through various art installations and cultural artifacts. The exhibit starts with the origin of Jewish culture and continues on to present-day. When you enter the museum it starts with the basics: how Jewish religion works, what some of the beliefs are, are well as how it differs from other religious practices across the world. Next, you are led through some of the ways that the Jewish culture has been influenced, and how it has influenced other cultures. There is also a section on the Holocaust, with the filmed stories of Jewish survivors. This is a special project of the museum, it is trying to document as many first-generation survivors’ stories as possible in order to preserve them for future generations. There is even a special section on the Jewish people in Colorado. One such personage was Frances Weisbart Jacobs; she was one of the first people to found a hospital that cared for tuberculosis patients in Colorado.
Over all, the Mizel Museum’s exhibit is a great way to learn more about the Jewish history and culture. Visitors can go in with absolutely no prior knowledge, and come out understanding much more about how the Jewish people have influenced and been influenced by the world. The museum’s mission is “not religion, but culture,” as Penny Nisson, Education Director, said. This exhibit is perfect for school groups, from elementary up to high school, with opportunities for guided tours (for more information visit their website at www.mizelmuseum.org). Walk-in visitors are also welcome, so get on out there, because this is not an experience to be missed!