Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Judaism in the American Home: American Jews & Israel

A Special Exhibit of decorative, ritual, and household objects from Jewish-American homes featured in the Undergraduate Library April 14, 2013 through May 12, 2013.

American Jews and Israel

American Jews and Israel

The centrality of Israel in modern Jewish consciousness also finds its reflection in the American Jewish home.  The objects here generally date to the 1950s during the first years of the existence of the Jewish state when American Jews delighted in its creation and worried about its future.  Several of the items are souvenirs of the land of Israel bought by travelers who visited the new country.  Many of the scenes engraved on the objects have traditional biblical themes and images of Jerusalem or the Land of Israel, a telling indication of the historic ties that Jews living in the Diaspora had to their ancient homeland.  Some are clearly “tchatchkes” (ornate and largely useless objects) reflecting both the genuine pride that American Jews felt in the new state and their self-confidence in manifesting it often in whimsical and overt ways to the general public.

Buying Souvenirs

Souvenir Shops in Israel

Souvenir Dolls

       Kibbutz Worker Doll Soldier Doll Sabbath Doll

Souvenir Dolls

The Jewish Heritage Collection, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan




Pocket Knife

Souvenir Cups

Jerusalem Napkin Holder

Souvenirs with Scenes of Jerusalem and More

Pocket Knife, Cup Holders, Napkin Holder

The Jewish Heritage Collection, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan


Tour of Israel

Virtual Israel Experience