Hundreds gather with Valerie Harper and VIPs to celebrate
Grand Opening of Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage
Beachwood, OH (Oct. 11, 2005) — Over 600 people from all walks of life gathered today to commemorate the Grand Opening of the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, one of the most comprehensive and engaging institutions of its kind.
The celebration of Northeast Ohio’s newest cultural institution featured a surprise roof-top Fiddler; performances by the Cleveland Pops Orchestra; television and stage star Valerie Harper in her role as Golda Meir from Golda’s Balcony; remarks by Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (DOhio); Beachwood Mayor Merle Gorden; Museum Leadership; and a stunning surprise finale.
The roof-top appearance by the “Fiddler on the Roof” began the festivities with a dramatic rendition of “Tradition,” accompanied by the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. The Orchestra, led by Music Director and Conductor, Carl Topilow, set the celebratory tone for the occasion with a medley of show tunes by Irving Berlin, Oscar Hammerstein, Richard Rodgers, Paul Ferguson, and Leonard Bernstein.
Featured speakers were Museum Founders Milton and Tamar Maltz; Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio); Mayor Merle S. Gorden, City of Beachwood, Ohio; Stephen H. Hoffman, President of the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland; Rabbi Richard A. Block, The Temple-Tifereth Israel; and Museum Executive Director Carole R. Zawatsky.
Video highlights from the life of Golda Meir, courtesy of CBS News, set the mood for a moving performance by award-winning actress Valerie Harper. Harper, now touring as Golda Meir in the Broadway hit, Golda’s Balcony, paid tribute to the Museum with a monologue in character. The show is scheduled to appear in Cleveland at the Palace Theatre Dec. 7 – 11.
As Museum Founders Milton and Tamar Maltz announced the official opening of the Museum, the crowd was thrilled as a 24 foot banner – stretching across the Jerusalem limestone façade of the building – was unveiled together with confetti and the return of the Fiddler to play a rousing finale of “L’Chaim.”
“People of all backgrounds will relate to the experiences shared in the Maltz Museum,” said Milton Maltz, Museum Founder and Chairman of The Malrite Company. “Everyone’s story – the American story – is communicated in a way that will help break down barriers and further the understanding and appreciation of different cultures.” The Malrite Company, the lead developer of the Museum, develops innovative museum and cultural projects around the country, including the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C and the Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Palm Beach County, Fla.
Added Carole R. Zawatsky, Maltz Museum Executive Director, “Visitors to the Museum will come away with a better sense of how past experiences and events impact our life today, and with an appreciation of their personal identity as an American.”
The Museum also includes The Temple-Tifereth Israel Gallery, featuring one of the most important, comprehensive collections of art and artifacts in the United States from The Temple’s Museum of Religious Art. A 4,000-square-foot Special Exhibition Gallery will regularly feature changing exhibitions of national and international prominence.
Designed by Westlake Reed Leskosky, the building is faced with more than 126 tons of handchiseled, Golden Jerusalem limestone mined in southern Israel. Exhibitions were designed by Gallagher & Associates and both fabricated and installed by Exhibits International. The Museum’s many films were produced by Telos Productions, Inc.
Admission to the Maltz Museum is $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors. Maltz Museum members and children under 12 are admitted free.
Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage: An American Story
The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage joins an important group of world-class institutions as a living testament to the courage and achievements of Cleveland’s Jewish community. Personal stories of individuals and families – past and present – come to life in the exhibition galleries through state-of-the-art technology, films, computer interactives, unique artifacts, compelling oral histories, art and images. In addition, The Temple-Tifereth Israel Gallery presents an internationally-recognized collection of Judaica. The Museum also hosts special exhibitions of national and international acclaim.
The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is a partnership between The Maltz Family Foundation, the Jewish Community Federation’s Centennial Initiative and The Temple-Tifereth Israel with research support from the Western Reserve Historical Society.
For more information about hours, admission, programs, the Museum Store and special exhibitions, visit www.MaltzJewishMuseum.org or phone 216.593.0575.