From "Prayer for Burnt Forests" by Julie Weitz, 2021, which will soon be featured at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. (Photo/Aaron Farley)
From "Prayer for Burnt Forests" by Julie Weitz, 2021, which will soon be featured at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. (Photo/Aaron Farley)

Contemporary Jewish Museum plans to reopen April 17

Thanks to the reduction of pandemic restrictions on San Francisco as of March 2, the Contemporary Jewish Museum is planning to re-open to the public on April 17, enabling visitors to view in person art that has only been accessible virtually for most of the past year.

“We are looking forward to inviting members and guests to return to the Contemporary Jewish Museum in person as San Francisco enters a safer zone,” Kerry King, Interim Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer at The CJM, said in a March 3 press release.

The exhibits “Levi Strauss: A History of American Style,”  “Predicting the Past: Zohar Studios, The Lost Years,” and “Threads of Jewish Life: Ritual and Other Textiles from the San Francisco Bay Area,” were in place when the museum originally closed its doors last March. Virtual versions of the first two exhibitions were created and will remain online for those who prefer to remain at home. Museum members will be able to preview the shows live on April 15 and 16.

In addition, The CJM will open a new digital exhibition, with an in-person component opening in June that will be free to the public.

Screenshot of the Contemporary Jewish Museum's virtual tour of its exhibit “Levi Strauss: A History of American Style.”
Screenshot of the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s virtual tour of its exhibit “Levi Strauss: A History of American Style.”

“GOLEM: A Call to Action,” is a three-part work by Los Angeles–based artist Julie Weitz. These digital pieces evolved from a performance series Weitz initiated in 2017 in response to the protests and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The series, which she called “My Golem Project,” focused on the artist’s embodiment of the golem, the folkloric being created out of clay to defend the Jews. In Weitz’s take, the golem comes to save all of humanity from a variety of disasters.

The first component of the exhibition, “Golem v. Golem,” will premiere on the CJM’s Instagram account and is timed to Passover. Weitz will debut a new short video on each day of the holiday, beginning March 28.

Two multimedia artworks in the series, “My Golem as a Wildland Firefighter” and “A Prayer for Burnt Forests,” will open on The CJM’s website on April 22, Earth Day, and June 21, the summer solstice, respectively. They will subsequently open in person at The CJM on June 24 in a new, black box gallery that will be free to the public. The two artworks bring together photography, film, documentary content, and educational programming to address the ecological disaster of the rampant wildfires in California.

The museum will continue to host community and educational programming online, to ensure the safety of museum staff and visitors. On March 21, there will be a Passover-themed virtual family Art Bash (pick up supplies on March 18 to participate at home.) On March 25, Kristin Eriko Posner and Faye Chao Sofaer will offer a cooking class featuring new takes on Passover classics. More events, including links to register, are on The CJM’s events page.

While the museum is eager to welcome visitors. precautions will be taken to reduce transmission of the virus. Alll visitors — including those who have received a Covid-19 vaccine — will be required to wear a face mask, except children under the age of 2. CJM staff will wear face coverings. Physical distancing of at least six feet will be enforced inside the museum. Because the capacity of the space will be reduced, visitors will need to book timed tickets online in advance of their visit. Check hours and information when purchasing your timed tickets online.

Laura Pall
Laura Paull

Laura Paull is J.'s Culture Editor, and was a longtime J. freelance writer before that.