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Jewish religion, migration and emanzipation
The permanent exhibition uses objects to narrate two thousand years’ worth of Jewish history and present, navigating the intersections of religion, migration and emancipation.
What is Judaism? In four rooms and with six (Video-)Guides, the Museum narrates Jewish life from different perspectives — from the everyday to the High Holy Days — in the past and in the present, with Jewish Switzerland as a focal point. Over the centuries, Jewish men and women here have been courted and oppressed, integrated and expelled. A signet ring from late antiquity, certificates from the medieval period, publications from early modernity and household objects from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries show what life was like before the Jewish emancipation. The many synagogues built after emancipation, meanwhile, demonstrate a strengthening sense of Jewish self-worth, while the testimonies of Theodor Herzl remind us how the visionary first presented his idea of a «Jewish State» in Basel in 1897. Furthermore, objects belonging to Jews who sought asylum in Switzerland exemplify the ambivalent attitude of «neutral» Switzerland during the Nazi regime. Today, meanwhile, diversity shapes the lives both in and out of the numerous Jewish communities in Switzerland.