With approximately 250 objects, Tradition and Remembrance: Treasures of the Derfner Judaica Museum explores the intersections of Jewish history and memory. The stories of objects used in traditional Jewish practice are interpreted in light of the role of memory in shaping both individual and communal identities. Among the featured objects in the exhibition are a silver filigree kiddush cup, ca. 1910, and an early copper alloy Hanukkah lamp, from the famed Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts founded in Jerusalem in 1906. Other objects relating to Jewish practice come from near and far, including a set of 18th-century German Torah implements from Meerholz, Germany and a velvet fish-scale embroidered matzah cover from 19th-century Jerusalem.
The Judaica Museum of the Hebrew Home was founded in 1982 when Riverdale residents Ralph and Leuba Baum donated their collection of Jewish ceremonial art to the Home. A refugee from Nazi persecution, Ralph Baum and his wife, Leuba, had an intense desire to preserve and pass on to future generations the memory embodied in the objects they collected, the majority of which were used primarily by European Jews before the Holocaust. In 2008 the Judaica Museum was named in honor of benefactors Helen and Harold Derfner and is opening in a newly furnished space where it is hoped the active engagement of visitors will re-animate the objects presented here.