My family had Jewish connections from the eastern side and I was interested to learn more. I went with my friend and her 2 year old. Despite the angst of a runaway kid, our tour guide, Susan was very understanding and knowledgeable. She had relatives who were affected by the holocaust. The highlight of it all was meeting a Auschwitz survivor, Ed, who volunteered at the museum and the other polish holocaust survivor. Listening to their experiences was indeed heartbreaking . There was tiny sparks of miracles among the insurmountable tragedies as told by those who lived through that dark time. The saddest part of the Jewish Museum is the little memorial hall where Jewish families left photographs of their departed ones killed in the holocaust. More poignant was the photographs of children. Names were inscribed on walls of those who had to undergo inhumanity that I hope the world will never see again. I spent 4 hours there before I had to leave for my flight.
The building itself is an interior design curiosity and shaped like a Magen David (star of David), there were very interesting murals and computer terminals to learn the difference between orthodox and progressive Jewish practices. The first level starts off lightheartedly about the origins of Jews as Israelites and the Torah. It gets sadder and sadder as you venture up higher because it starts covering pogroms and then finally the holocaust.
The cafe at the top provided large servings of food. The proprietor was very understanding with a restless 2 year old. He was very friendly and offered suggestions of where to try Kosher or Israeli or Kosher and Israeli restaurants in Sydney. I departed from the homeliness of his tiny cafe. It is well worth going if you are interested in history but not a place to take a child even though the staff are very understanding and even helpful. One Chinese child has now a Jewish teddy bear to remember her trip now. The shop staff were so kind that my friend decided to buy the teddy bear for her kid .
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