The Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit’s Shalom Street Museum will host its new exhibit “Be Kind to Our World: Shomrei Adamah” now though November. The exhibit considers the four elements of creation (fire, water, wind and earth) and features interactive activities for children and adults.
Rabbi Rob Morais is director of Shalom Street, and “Shomrei Adamah” marks the first exhibit the museum developed and created under his supervision. He says the project gives guests the opportunity to experience the creation of the world. “We spent a lot time discussing how best to represent the elements of creation and incorporate three ideas – Israel, a secular component and something of Jewish content – into each,” he said.
The result is a bright, fun exhibit with something for every age; there’s a butterfly garden, a display about wind energy and an actual hydroponic garden. Guests can visit a “coral reef” and experience the colorful world under the sea, learn about the importance of wind to the world’s agriculture and view examples of the biblical use of fire, such as the Burning Bush. There’s even a real etrog tree, the leaves of which smell like a sweet and citrusy perfume.
“Shomrei Adamah” also includes a hurricane simulator where guests can step inside and see exactly what it’s like to be in the eye of the storm.
The exhibit further provides an opportunity for children to create their own fire, water, wind and earth crafts, including planting seeds and making kites and windmills.
“Shomrei Adamah” was funded thanks to the Charles H. Gershenson Trust Fund. The exhibit was designed by Christopher Carothers and sponsored in part by Display Group. Construction was done by the staff of The Berman Center for the Performing Arts.
This summer, the exhibit will be expanded as Shalom Street staff supervises Judaic content at Center Day Camps at the JCC in West Bloomfield. Plans are under way to allow campers the chance to do a bit of solar cooking (chocolate fondue is a distinct possibility, Rabbi Morais says) and to plant a garden with tomatoes, herbs and vegetables, after which the children will make their own pizza.
Shalom Street is free and open to the community. Hours are Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. To arrange a tour or for more information, please contact 248.432.5411.