Jewish Children's Museum in Crown Heights unveils replica of Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
If you're thinking about visiting Jerusalem’s famed Western Wall consider skipping the 12-hour plane ride, and instead hop on the 3 train to Brooklyn.
The Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights unveiled an exact replica of the 2,000-year-old Wailing Wall on Thursday, the latest addition to the museum’s $8 million exhibit floor, titled “A Voyage through Jewish History.”
“The Western Wall is a thread that runs though Jewish history of 2,000 years and that was something that we wanted visitors here to see even thousands of miles away,” said museum spokesman Zevi Steinhauser.
The 24-by-11 foot replica is the centerpiece of a brand-new museum floor detailing the history of the Jewish people. Small video screens intersperse the carefully carved rocks, informing visitors about the wall’s history and significance in Jewish culture.
Visitors will even be able to write prayers on scraps of paper and tuck it into the cracks of the wall, as is custom in Jerusalem. Every month, the staff of the museum will collect the papers and send them to Israel to be inserted into the real wall.
“When the kids come see the wall we hope they’ll feel a connection to Israel and Judaism,” said museum educator Abi Cohen. “Even though it’s not the actual wall, we try to give them the feeling of what it’s like.”
Unlike the real Western Wall, which stands at more than 100-feet-tall, the museum’s ceiling-high replica is constructed from concrete covered foam. It is the creation of Michigan-based design company Niche, which spent six weeks carving individual bricks from dozens of photos taken of the wall.
“We traced the actual photos of the wall, all the cracks and everything,” said Niche design owner Marookeh Nahikian.
The effort and planning to create the exact replica is already being appreciated by the museum’s young visitors. Soly Goldstein, 9, visited Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall four years ago and is still impressed by the one in his own Brooklyn backyard.
“I looks like the real one in Israel,” he said, “just with screens.”