Students working on the model of the Piaski synagogue in the carpentry workshop of an ORT school in North Africa, Casablanca or Tunis, 1957-1958. Silver print photo.

mahJ, archives of the museum of Jewish Art

From workshop to museum: ORT and the transmission of Jewish culture

From Wednesday 19 May 2021 until Sunday 30 January 2022

Founded in Russia in 1880 to extricate Jews from misery through the promotion of handicrafts and agriculture, ORT (Organisation Reconstruction Travail) is today an international education and training network established in over forty countries. 2021 marks the centenary of its presence in France.

On the grounds of new findings in its archives, the mahJ also traced back the role of this organisation in the creation of the Museum of Jewish Art (1948-1998) in the rue des Saules, Paris, of which the mahJ is the heir. 

The first two rooms focus on ORT’s founding role in the creation of the first museum of Jewish art in France after the Second World War, of which the mahJ is the heir. Under the impetus of Léon Frenkiel, ORT France’s director of technical education, this museum opened in 1948 in Paris. Housed on the third floor of a building already occupied by ORT in rue des Saules, it was inaugurated on 8 May 1949 as the “Archives and Museum of Popular Jewish Art”, abbreviated a year later to the “Museum of Jewish Art”.

The ORT’s support for the museum extended far beyond France’s frontiers. As well as the provision of its premises, it could rely on the investment and generosity of several of its members in France and abroad: gifts of books and objects, searches for works, construction of exhibition furniture in the ORT workshops, reproductions of painted decorations and scale models of synagogues no longer in existence, and the encouragement of young contemporary artists by the Adolphe Neumann Prize.

When the Museum of Jewish Art closed in 1998, the mahJ took over this legacy. This collaboration continued in 2006 with the "Craftsmen and Farmers of Yiddishland" exhibition, which revealed to the public an exceptional collection of photographs discovered in the ORT archives, now on view in the Prints and Drawings Cabinet.

Model of the synagogue of Pohrebyszcze

Algiers, workshop of the ORT (Organisation Reconstruction Travail) school, 1952

Polished and painted wood, glass

Model of the synagogue of Pohrebyszcze

Algiers, workshop of the ORT (Organisation Reconstruction Travail) school, 1952

Polished and painted wood, glass

In partnership with

Share 
Location 

Prints and Drawings Department

Duke’s Room

Permanent collection

10 € / 7 € / 5 €

> Billetterie en ligne*
> Sur place, à la billetterie du mahJ (fermeture trois quarts d'heure avant celle du musée)
* Paiement sécurisé par carte bancaire

Handicaps 
Handicap auditif
Handicap mental
Handicap moteur