Is Jill Schensul Jewish?

Jill Schensul is a Jew. She calls herself a lapsed Jew several times in her most recent article.

Jill is our local travel writer for the Bergen Record.

She's written a lively and informative article about the new and breathtaking National Museum of American Jewish History on Independence Mall in Philadelphia.

Jill lapses reflective at the end of her piece:
I kept thinking, as I went through the museum, how non-Jews might experience the place. I'm at a disadvantage here, being a Jew — granted a lapsed one. In one way, I suppose it's like visiting any "ethnic museum" where you are an outsider looking in. Trying to gain insight and understanding about how other people live.

But as an American, you're not altogether an outsider here. Everyone, save the Native Americans, came here from somewhere else. We found new challenges in the New World — getting along with fellow immigrants, being one of them. We came, we overcame, we contributed.

Like the Liberty Bell and the Declaration of Independence, American Jewish history is an inextricable part of who we are, and how free we are, today.

Some critics of the new museum complain that by going light on the religious aspect of Judaism, by trying to make the message more universal, the curators drained the color and the heart from the Jewish experience. Others complain that we don't need another museum about Jewish history at all.

There will probably be more opinions and reactions than people to proffer them. But, hey, only in America, right?
Barak called our attention to the innovative way the museum will accommodate Sabbath observers. The USA Today reported on this, "Sabbath compromise at Philly museum of U.S. Jewish history":
...The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York closes for the Sabbath and Jewish holidays, but the Jewish Museum in New York is open on the Sabbath, although its gift shop is closed. The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco and the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles and their gift shops are open on the Sabbath.

So this month, the panel took its recommendations to the board and an unusual approach was approved:

The museum will be open Saturdays, but tickets for Saturdays will not be sold on the museum's premises that day; they can be bought online or in advance, or outside the museum at locations to be determined.

The gift shop will also be open Saturdays but will handle no cash that day; any credit card transactions will be processed after sundown.

And the museum will be closed on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and on the first two days of Passover.

"It's kind of a compromise," Rosenzweig said, adding that officials do not claim the policy is dictated by Jewish law. "It's a policy the board embraced for its symbolic power, showing that in Jewish tradition, Shabbat and holidays are different."...

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