exhibit explores the experiences of immigrant Jewish women and how they
interacted with their neighbors, maintained Jewish homes and created Jewish
communities in a region with relatively few Jews. Women had a two-fold
task: to adapt their heritage in an effort to remain religiously distinct
and yet to fit into the secular life of their surroundings.
27 panels that include text, video presentations and interactive messages,
the exhibit shows the process of transporting, transmitting and transforming
Jewish religion and culture. It is divided into three broad sections.
The first is Packing Up and Unpacking, which focuses on women’s
experiences in Europe and their adjustment to new settings and new neighbors
in the Upper Midwest. The second, Women in the Jewish Home, explores women’s
roles in maintaining and transforming domestic religious culture in the
Upper Midwest and women as the keepers of family memories and mementos.
The third section, Women in the Community, focuses on women’s experiences
and changing roles in the workplace, the synagogue and in voluntary organizations
of the region.
exhibit, which is based on the book “And Prairie Dogs Weren’t
Kosher: Jewish Women in the Upper Midwest Since 1855,” is traveling
throughout the U.S. through March 1, 2003. The Minnesota Historical Society
and the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest organized the exhibit.
Locally, exhibit programming is in collaboration with Madison Public Library
and the Jewish Women’s Network.