Visions and Values

Jewish Life from Antiquity to America


About the Exhibition

Featuring changing displays of works from the Skirball’s permanent collection of Judaica—one of the largest in the world—this historically illuminating exhibition chronicles the struggles and achievements of the Jewish people over a span of four thousand years.

Travel through the many lands and civilizations where Jews have lived and discover how ancestral visions continue to shape modern values. The Visions and Values galleries—Beginnings, Journeys, Holidays, Lifecycle, Synagogue, Passage to America, Nation of Immigrants, Struggle and Opportunity, the Holocaust, the State of Israel, and At Home in America—take the visitor on an unforgettable voyage of learning and discovery.

A recent addition to the exhibition showcases a series of audiovisual excerpts from Holocaust survivors, produced in collaboration with The Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education at USC. A companion exhibit features an interactive media kiosk where visitors can listen to and view full-length versions of the featured testimonies as well as nearly one thousand other stirring testimonies.

Two recently reinstalled cases in the exhibition highlight American Jews’ notable engagements with Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Come learn the story of the Seixas family, whose members embraced the American Revolution and promoted the ideals of equal opportunity and religious freedom upon which the US was built. Then delve into the history of General Ulysses S. Grant’s notorious Order No. 11, an anti-Semitic decree issued in the midst of the Civil War and swiftly revoked by President Lincoln. Notable objects on view include facsimiles of Moses Mendes Seixas’s correspondence with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln’s handwritten note regarding Grant’s order, Manfred Anson’s Liberty Bell Hanukkah lamp celebrating the contributions of Jews to the American Revolution, and a life mask of President Lincoln cast in 1861.