Shared Roots of Christianity and Judaism Explored in Major Exhibition at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage

Cradle of Christianity to Present Jewish and Christian Treasures from the Israel Museum, Many on View for the First Time in the U.S., From the Time of Jesus through the Concurrent Development of Formative Judaism and Christianity in the 4th – 7th Centuries

Cleveland Exhibition Includes the First and Only Presentation Outside of Israel of One of the Most Important Dead Sea Scrollsthe Temple Scroll

CLEVELAND, December 6, 2005 – The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage will premiere a major traveling exhibition tracing the shared roots of Jewish and Christian values and practices by exploring aspects of early Jewish life and the concurrent birth of Christianity. The exhibition powerfully presents artifacts drawn from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, which houses the foremost collection of Biblical Archeology in the world.

Cradle of Christianity: Treasures from the Holy Land will showcase objects that will be seen in the U.S. for the first time, including a section of the Temple Scroll, one of the most important of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which has never before been displayed outside of Israel. The exhibition will be on view at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage from April 1 – October 22, 2006.

Using dramatic installations to incorporate original objects excavated in Israel over the last century, including some recreations of historical settings, Cradle of Christianity offers an unprecedented opportunity to examine two periods of major consequence for modern religious history. The first era explores the final days of the Second Temple (the Herodian Period and the 1st century CE), the time when Jesus of Nazareth lived. The second period examines the concurrent development, side by side, of formative Judaism and Christianity in the Holy Land (4th – 7th century CE). All of the objects are from Israel, the majority of them unearthed in excavations, and some displayed publicly for the first time. Curated and organized by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the exhibition will subsequently travel to two additional North American museums which will be announced at a later date.

“In today’s world, it is increasingly important to recognize the common roots of the Jewish and Christian faiths,” said Milton Maltz, Founder of the Maltz Museum. “We are proud to premiere this groundbreaking exhibition, providing people throughout the region with the opportunity to explore Jewish and Christian traditions in the context of their simultaneous development in ancient Israel. Visitors of all faiths will be able to explore their heritage through these amazing artifacts, which speak to our shared values.”

“The Maltz Museum was conceived of as a place of diversity, a cultural forum for the people of Cleveland and its visitors,” said Mrs. Tamar Maltz, President of the Maltz Museum. “Cradle of Christianity mirrors and amplifies these ideals, encouraging people to explore issues that resonate locally and globally.”

Cradle of Christianity seeks to synthesize literary sources with finds that have been excavated in Israel, particularly over the past fifty years: architectural remains, liturgical objects from churches, personal belongings of the Christian inhabitants of this land, and souvenirs made for pilgrims.

Highlights of Cradle of Christianity: Treasures from the Holy Land include:

The Temple Scroll (Dead Sea Scroll): Its scale and subject—calling for a new legal interpretation of the Torah—make the Temple Scroll one of the most historically important of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Newly restored, this document will be on view for the first time anywhere in the world.

The burial ossuary of Caiaphas the High Priest, who, according to the New Testament, delivered Jesus to the Romans, and a commemorative inscription bearing the name of Pontius Pilate, representing the only surviving physical testimony of these two prominent figures from the story of the trial of Jesus.

Heel bone of Yehohanan son of Hagkol punctured by an iron nail (replication) – the only tangible evidence of the practice of crucifixion to have been discovered in archaeological excavation.

A Graffito of the Menorah, the oldest representation of the Menorah that stood in the II Temple of Jerusalem, found in the excavations of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem and dating to first century BCE (the Second Temple period).

A stone inscription from the Temple Mount reading “To the place of trumpeting…”

Greek inscription in stone prohibiting entry of Gentiles into the sacred area around the Temple.  Among the few remains of the second temple enclosure, it states: “…whosoever shall be caught shall be responsible for (his) death…”

The remains of excavated churches and other religious sites including furnishings, dedicatory inscriptions, reliquaries, and liturgic al objects.

Souvenirs and mementos from early Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land including vessels for oil and water from holy sites and amulets and tokens bearing religious motifs.

A full-scale reconstruction of the Chancel of a Byzantine Era church comprised of an original altar, chancel screens, Baptisterium, reliquary, and pulpit, and adorned by mosaics.