$12-Million Gift from Mandel Family for Israel Museum

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, announced a $12-million gift from Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel through the Mandel Supporting Foundations. This gift marks the completion of its $100-million capital campaign to support the comprehensive transformation of its 20-acre campus. The Mandel gift supports the reconstruction, reinstallation, and endowment of the Museum’s Jewish Art and Life Wing, housing the world’s preeminent collection of Judaica and Jewish Ethnography. The Wing will be named the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wing for Jewish Art and Life in honor of the family’s generous support, and it will present objects from sacred and secular Jewish traditions together for the first time in a newly combined permanent display.

The Israel Museum also announced that its expanded and renovated campus will open to the public on July 26, 2010. The multi-year project, led by James Carpenter Design Associates and Efrat-Kowalsky Architects, was designed to enhance visitor experience of the Museum’s campus and includes the creation of new facilities as well as a comprehensive reconfiguration of the Museum’s three collection wings.

“A central goal of our campus renewal project is the complete reworking of all of our collection galleries, so as to enable our visitors to navigate intuitively through the history of world culture, from prehistory to contemporary times,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “Our newly reconstructed Mandel Wing for Jewish Art and Life presents objects from secular and religious traditions in an integrated display, offering a comprehensive view of the practices of Jewish communities from around the world. We are tremendously grateful to the Mandel family for its support for this endeavor.”

Of the Mandel Foundations’s $12-million gift, $7 million will support the reconstruction and expansion of the Jewish Art and Life Wing, which traces the diaspora of sacred and secular Jewish cultures worldwide, from the Middle Ages to the present. The reconfigured and reinstalled Mandel Wing will lead visitors through the daily and ritual markers of the Jewish life cycle and calendar, with installations that explore the aesthetic value of the objects as well as their religious, social, and historical contexts. A noted feature of the Wing is its newly organized “synagogue route,” which includes four original synagogue interiors from European, Asian, and American cultures.

The additional $5 million from the Mandel Foundations is being dedicated to endow and support the Wing’s future programming, operations, and acquisitions. The gift brings the Museum’s ongoing institutional endowment campaign to a new total of nearly $50 million, two-thirds of its goal toward doubling its endowment from $75 million to $150 million. It also marks the completion of the endowed naming of the Museum’s three collection wings, which also include the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing and the Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing.

“My brothers, Jack and Joe, and I are committed to enhancing the quality of Jewish education in Israel and around the world,” said Morton L. Mandel, Chairman of the Mandel Foundation. “We view the collections of the Israel Museum—particularly in the fields of Jewish art and life—as a unique treasure, illustrating the world legacy of Jewish life and enhancing the understanding of world Jewish heritage. We are honored to support the renewal and endowment of the Museum’s Jewish Art and Life Wing as a meaningful component of our mission.”

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