The Mid-South region’s preeminent collection of Judaica also happens to be one of the most noteworthy exhibitions in the country. The Temple Israel Museum will be celebrating its 27th anniversary next year. It draws visitors annually from all over the world, and its exhibits include works of artisans from Germany, France, Morocco, Egypt, Poland, Russia, Israel, and America.
Temple Israel Museum covers 6,000 square feet. The space is devoted to the Herta and Justin H. Adler Judaica Collection with other smaller Judaica exhibits on display in other areas of the building as well. The Adlers were largely responsible for the museum’s creation, and their original 153-piece collection remains as one of the building’s most prominent exhibits.
Students of history and tourists often make Temple Israel Museum and the National Civil Rights Museum must-stop visits while in Memphis. The Temple Israel Museum is also popular with leaders of museums from around the country. They often remark that the Adler collection of Judaica is one of the best of its kind in the U.S.
One of the most prominent special exhibits currently on display at the museum is “Beloved,” a collection of photographs of Temple Israel Cemetery. The noted Memphis photographer Murray Riss spent a full year in 2019 capturing images of the 174-year-old cemetery.
Murray visited the cemetery at different times of the day and all four seasons, which resulted in a variety of light situations. That, in turn, creates a wide range of moods.
A hardbound coffee table book entitled “Beloved: A View of One of the South’s Oldest Jewish Cemeteries as Photographed by Murray Riss” with photos from the exhibit is also available for purchase at the Temple Israel Gift Shop or at amazon.com. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum has one major special exhibit planned for later in 2021. Check the timemphis.org website for more information.
Please contact the Temple Israel Museum before visiting for COVID-19 opening status.
Temple Israel Museum
1376 E Massey Rd., Memphis, TN 38120
Hours of Operation
Monday-Thursday: 9 am – 4 pm
Friday: 9 am – 3 pm (closed Saturday)
Sunday: 9 – 11:30 am (when religious school is in session)
Spice Containers: Russia, England, Poland, 19th century
Chanukah Menorahs: Europe, 18th and 19th centuries
Megillah: France,19th century; Yad: Morocco, early 20th century
Wimpels: Germany and Italy, 18th and 19th centuries