With funds from the Foundation, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum purchased the tenement at 103 Orchard Street, which is being converted into the Sadie Samuelson Levy Immigrant Heritage Center. Housing an auditorium, performance space, visitor center, exhibition galleries and museum shop, the Center – named in honor of Leon Levy’s mother, the daughter of an immigrant cloak seller who came to the Lower East Side in 1869 – complements the museum’s 97 Orchard Street building and will allow an expansion of programs.
The Foundation provides regular support as lead sponsor of exhibitions. The current one, “Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War,” includes the most comprehensive collection of materials relating to Jews and the Civil War assembled in the last 50 years. Previously, the Foundation supported “Trail of the Magic Bullet: The Jewish Encounter with Modern Medicine, 1860-1960” (photo). The Foundation has also helped finance an international symposium on the Dreyfus affair and the restoration of an important mosaic in the museum’s 2005 exhibition, “Printing The Talmud: From Bomberg To Schottenstein.”
Started in 2007, this initiative aims to document and encourage scholarship about the New York City garment industry during its golden age, from 1860 to 1975, when it was so important to the city’s economy and particularly to Jews in New York. It includes a series of public programs at the Gotham Center at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a websitewhere people may post their photos and stories of life in the garment industry.
The Foundation also commissioned the Graduate Center to convene an academic symposium in 2007 on the understudied aspects of the industry’s past; funded a doctoral fellow, who prepared a comprehensive baseline bibliography of scholarly work on the industry, and financed a documentary called Dressing America, which is expected to air on public television.