World Briefs: State of Israel to build museum dedicated to Albert Einstein and more


State of Israel to build museum dedicated to Albert Einstein
An $18 million museum dedicated to the legacy of Albert Einstein will be built in Jerusalem, reported JTA.

Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion with Albert Einstein at Princeton University. (Universal History Archive/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images via JTA)

The Israeli government approved a plan on Oct. 23 to establish a new home for Einstein’s extensive materials, including some 85,000 documents, on the campus of the Hebrew University, which Einstein helped found a century ago.

It represents the largest collection of papers and objects related to Einstein in the world. It also includes his Nobel Prize and the original notes he produced while developing the general theory of relativity in 1916, said Benyamin Cohen, who is writing a biography of the physicist.

“Albert Einstein is an asset, the biggest brand name in the world for intelligence, science and genius,” said Israel’s alternate prime minister, Naftali Bennett, adding that he expects the museum to become “a pilgrimage site for anyone who wants to become familiar with Einstein, Jewish intelligence and intelligence in general.”

A third of the funding for the museum will come from the Israeli government and the rest from the university and its donors, including art collector Jose Mugrabi.

Taliban approves conservation work on Afghan synagogue
Although the Jews of Herat in western Afghanistan haven’t lived there in decades, the city’s historic synagogue, thought to have been built around the turn of the 20th century, is all set to undergo a conservation project with the backing of the Taliban government, reported JTA, citing the Art Newspaper.

The 16-month project, to start in this month, is aimed at preventing the collapse of the Yu Aw synagogue’s structure.

It is being planned by the Herat municipality and other local organizations, and funded with nearly $500,000 from the Aliph Foundation, a Swiss group aimed at protecting cultural heritage sites in conflict areas.

The community mikvah, known as the Hammam-e Mosaie, will also be repaired as part of the project.

The synagogue last underwent a two-year restoration project that was completed in 2009 with funding from another Swiss organization. For a few years, it served as an educational center for women and children but was shut down again in 2014 due to seepage from a “poorly constructed, U.N.-funded municipal drainage channel in the adjoining road,” reported the Art Newspaper. It is also not explicitly a Jewish heritage project.

“This is a cultural and historic site, which is not used as a place of worship, and the local government will support its preservation,” Zalmay Safa, the head of Herat’s monuments department, told the Art Newspaper.

— Compiled by Andy Gotlieb

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