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Skullcaps and Shul Hats

Dear Virtual Visitor,

Photos by Athol Cline
Click the photo to view the slideshow

Our summer exhibit, Skullcaps and Shul Hats, focuses on two family collections of head coverings. We have a startling collection of the most intricate shul hats from Nicki Lasky’s mother, Sara Kaplowitz Greenberg. They range from the “fascinator,” which is a small decorative hairpiece, most of them feathered, to beaded and woven small hats. Most are from the 1940s where Sara wore them in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

The second collection is from Cecily Bressel, a new member to the JHM and owner of Arizona Ballet Theatre. A former professional ballet dancer, she has some of the best stage presence in town and knows how to put together a costume! We have both the white hat she wore to her son Raphael’s Bar Mitzvah and the golden-threaded kippah he wore that day. The Bressel family has also loaned the JHM their collection of kippot from Afghanistan. Angelina Lin Hannum, one of Cecily’s students and a ballet dancer and teacher in her own right, researched how these yarmulkes are woven. Angelina was instrumental in putting this exhibit together; she took all the photos and wrote the text that accompanies the hats. Special thanks to Angelina and her ingenuity in putting this exhibit together!

Summer is a lovely time to come into the cool, quiet, and dimly-lit Museum. We continue to bring pieces from the archives onto the floor and to organize upstairs. Please visit and learn about the fading tradition of “Shul Hats” and the enduring tradition of “Keeping the Kippot” and also about the Jewish roots of Tucson.  

Judy Rose Sensibar
Executive Director of the JHM

Skullcaps and Shul Hats will run through the end of June

2014 Members Luncheon

Thank you, Members, for coming to our Annual Spring Luncheon, Sunday, May 18 at the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch. Here are some photos of the event. Special thanks to our our panel of women and surprise speaker Dan who spoke about growing up in mid-century Tucson, and to Charles Bressel for taking these photos.

Click on the picture to view the slideshow.

AZ Daily Star: Werner Zimmt

Werner Zimmit

In the May 13 issue of the Arizona Daily Star David Leighton's "Street Smarts" column was about one of our own, Werner Zimmt.

Werner S. Zimmt and his twin brother, Gerry, were born on Sept. 21, 1921, to Hugo and Lotte Zimmt in Berlin. Their father owned a factory that produced camel-hair slippers but it went bankrupt around 1924, during Germany’s period of hyperinflation.

Around 1934, a coalition of Jewish groups from New York formed the German-Jewish Children’s Aid to rescue Jewish children from Germany (and later, Austria). The group secured immigrant visas that guaranteed members would provide for the well-being and financial security of the children…


Calling All Volunteers

Might you consider becoming a volunteer? Here are some possibilities:
Docents for guided tours. Training provided. Primary requirements are a friendly disposition, an interest in history and culture, and interacting with the public. Three and Four hour time slots.
Historical Research based on needs of ongoing projects. Archives organization, exhibit research, detective work. Oversight provided. Flexible hours.
Administrative Help with mailings, data entry, office tasks. Flexible hours and time commitment.

AZ Daily Star: Photos: Let's go for a walk in Barrio Viejo
The Jewish History Museum is one of the stops on the Arizona Daily Star's first "Walk Tucson" neighborhood tours. View the slideshow at
The Arizona Center for Judaic Studies JHM Article
Built in 1910, the building that is now the Jewish History Museum on South Stone Avenue has lived many lives. It was built to be the first synagogue in Tucson and served that purpose until 1949, when its founding congregation, Temple Emanu-El, outgrew the building and moved to a new home on Country Club, where it remains today…





Open to the public Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1 to 5 PM.
Friday from Noon to 3 PM.

The Museum will be closed during July

admission: $5


Judy Rose Sensibar, Executive Director

Jewish History Museum
564 South Stone Avenue
Tucson, Arizona 85701
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PO Box 889
Tucson, Arizona 85702

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The Mission of the Jewish History Museum is the collection, preservation, exhibition and teaching of the Jewish heritage of the American Southwest and the preservation of the first synagogue building in Arizona.