Biblical Archaeology Review 30:6, November/December 2004

Yes, Virginia, There IS an American Biblical Archaeology Museum

(Hint: It’s in Brooklyn)

By Hershel Shanks

I have often lamented that, although there are thousands of museums in the United States devoted to every conceivable topic, there is not a single museum here devoted to Biblical archaeology.

I have recently been challenged on this assertion—and from a most unlikely source. I am wrong, I am told. There is a Biblical archaeology museum above a little shtibl in Boro Park, led by a chasidic rabbi.

For those unfamiliar with that rarefied world, let me unpack the previous sentence. Chasidim is a branch of Judaism that developed in eastern Europe in the 18th century. Chasidim often dress as their ancestors did in Poland, have long earlocks and pray with great fervor and excitement. A shtibl is a small prayer house, too small to be a called a synagogue. Boro Park is a section of Brooklyn where many Chasidim live.

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