Founded in 1954 at the behest of the Jewish Community of Venice , the Jewish Museum is a very unique museum and architectural complex, standing between two of the oldest Venetian synagogues. This is not a simple exhibition space but a widespread museum , or rather a unique urban complex of its kind, small in size but extremely rich in objects of considerable value and still in continuous expansion. Various sacred furnishings and objects of worship from a multitude of places and various historical periods can be found. Some of these are still used during the ceremonies in the places of worship while others are kept inside the museum due to their unstable condition.
The museum consists of three exhibition areas open to the public: the silver room, the fabric room and the most emotionally felt part dedicated to the history of the Venetian Jewish population.
The first section presents the festivals and traditions of the Jewish faith through objects and furnishings used in liturgies and in everyday life, such as crowns, pinnacles, basins, chalices, candelabra and jugs used by priests who introduced the Sabbath, the holy day in Jewish life (it is no coincidence that the museum is closed to the public on Saturdays). To remember the days of penitence of the Rosh Ha Shanà (New Year) and of the Yom Kippùr (Day of Atonement) you can admire various examples of shaofàr (ram's horn) and other objects used during the Sukkòth (feast of the Tabernacles) f estivites, of Chanukkà (Inauguration), of Purìm (feast of joy during which the Megillàth is read), of Séder of Pésach (Easter dinner to commemorate the liberation from Egyptian slavery) and many other Jewish holidays. We can also observe specimens of the Menorà, a seven-branch sabbatical lamp, of the Chanukkà, a nine-light lamp used for the feast of the same name for the inauguration of the Temple of Jerusalem (a new light is lit every evening), of the Séfer Torà (Book of Torah), the parchment bearing the handwritten transcriptions, ritually followed, of the Pentateuch and of numerous Shaddày, amulets with a protective value to be placed on the cradles of newborns.
The second room houses a rich collection of fine and in some cases, ancient textiles, most of which are used for worship. Among the exhibits you c an find mantles fo r the Torah (Meìilìm),drapes to cover it (mappòth) andcurtai nsforthe ArònhaQòdesh (parokhòth). Exhibits relating to marriage and birth are not lacking: Ketubbòth , with which the reciprocal obligations of the spouses have been established from the earliest centuries of the Common Era and a gown dated 1779 for circumcision, a rite of fundamental importance that marks entry into the religion and the Jewish c ommunity for the newborn.
Finally, the final section of the museum is in a phase of continuous expansion, tells the story of the Jews of Venice through objects and images. You can learn about the different ethnic groups (Nations) of Jewish culture in this section, but also discover the evolution and rich cultural activity of the Venetian Ghetto over the centuries, from its origins to the most difficult moments of Nazi-fascist oppression. Interesting an d abundant, the museum library allows visitors to deepen their knowledge of Judaism throug h an array of literature that ranges from the classics to liturgical texts, up to the works of contemporary authors.