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The Mollie & Louis Kaplan Museum of Judaica History

In the years after the Second World War, Rabbi Isaac Toubin of New York traveled through Europe with the Jewish War Board, helping to relocate Jewish refugees. During his travels, he rescued many works of Judaica, some 200 to 300 years old, that otherwise might have been discarded or melted down for the value of the metal. With further purchases in Israel, Europe and the United States during the 1950’s and 1960’s, he built his personal collection into a major one. Rabbi Toubin came be regarded as an authority on Judaica, and he served as a consultant to the Jewish Museum in New York. In 1972, Rafi Arbisser, then the Educational Director of Congregation Beth Yeshurun, learned that Rabbi Toubin might sell his collection and discussed this opportunity with Beth Yeshurun past-president Louis Kaplan and his wife Mollie. As a result of these discussions, the Kaplan brothers, Louis and Irvin, and their wives, Mollie and Molly Ann, graciously donated the funds needed to purchase the Toubin collection which comprises the core of the museum display and is now called the Kaplan Collection. The Congregation named the museum in honor of Mollie and Louis Kaplan.

Thanks to the generosity of many others, including members and non-members of Congregation Beth Yeshurun, more than 600 items have been added to the museum collection since 1972. When the synagogue was renovated in 2003, the collection was relocated to its present site, a more public area that is always accessible to congregants and, at designated times, to visitors. The construction was accomplished through the generosity of Mollie Kaplan and her son Jerry. In 2005, Marvin and Joan Kaplan, Louis and Mollie’s other son and daughter-in-law, generously established a major endowment to support the operations of the museum.

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Sun, September 15 2019 15 Elul 5779