Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Gregor Samsa Museum of North African Jewish Heritage

After going to the library this morning, I went to the museum at the David Amar Center for North African Jewish Heritage, as the museum had recently been restored and was supposed to be quite nice and home to a newly-created Moroccan patio, a la the installation in the Islamic galleries at the Met.

When I arrived, there was a sign at the door that asked visitors to ring the bell. I did. A woman answered, and I said I was there to see the museum. She told me to open the door when it buzzed. I did.

It's a very small collection, entirely of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century metal and textile objects from Morocco and Algeria.

This eternal flame canister is particularly interesting because it is dedicated to the memory of Judah Halevi, showing how the memory of the high literary culture of medieval Spain has persisted.

I walked upstairs and started to take photographs from the second story of the center patio/courtyard, which goes all the way up the interior of the three-story building. To be frank, the craftsmanship is far inferior to the one at the Met.

After just a few frames,  a man came out of his office, and the following conversation transpired:

Man: Who are you?

Me: My name is Sarah. I came to see the museum.

Man: You can't be here. You cannot see the museum. (He looks over the railing in the balcony at two other people who have come in and are on the ground floor, and continues, shouting.) Nu, friends! You cannot be here! You cannot see the museum! You must call and make an appointment and go with a  group. You cannot just look around by yourself! (Then he turns to shout just at me.) What do you think you are doing here? You cannot be here. There are people working here!

Me: I'm sorry, it's just that the woman who answered the bell said I could come in.

Man: What woman?

Me: I don't know! Whoever is the woman who answers your bell! I'm really sorry! I'll leave now!



  1. Um.
    Welcome to Israel. Or, you know, not.

  2. I had actually originally entitled the post "Welcome to Israel. Get out of the museum." but thought the better of it.