by Bethany Newhouse, Arizona homeschool student, age 17

The Jewish History Museum is not only a treasure of the past for Tucson, but also for all of Arizona. Built in the early 1900s, it was the first Jewish Synagogue in Arizona Territory. It is now filled with southwestern Jewish artifacts: from the Torah and other holy writings brought over by immigrants from Europe, to forks and other items used by ordinary people who are still important to history. The walls are covered with information; through words and items you experience the stories of Jews who chose to come to Arizona.

A short walk from the synagogue through the courtyard is the Holocaust History Center where another story is told: one of people forced to do everything against their will. The rebuilt home that houses the Center is symbolic of the lives of the more than 260 survivors who rebuilt their lives in Southern Arizona. The unique architecture of the building was designed to draw visitors in to the experience. Sliding doors that evoke a cattle car form the entrance. Pictures of those who did not survive look down on you as you read stories of heroes, watch a video of survivors speak, and read signs to learn about what genocide is, for not only the Jews in the holocaust, but also for Cambodians in the Khmer Rouge and others around the world.

Learn more about the Jewish History Museum and plan your visit.

Photos by Mark Newhouse, AFHE Member, homeschool dad

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