desert doing, trying to purify Judaism and preparing
for what they called 'the End Times,' war, or battle,
against 'the Sons of Darkness.'"
Among the exhibit's special objects are fragments
of phylacteries — the Dead Sea Scroll phylacteries
are the earliest ever found, Herron says — and sev-
eral limestone vessels, including a large goblet and a
The phylacteries, two small leather boxes contain-
ing strips of parchment inscribed with verses from
the Scriptures and worn on the forehead and left
arm during morning prayers, are in fairly good con-
Grand Rapids Coup
A rare books curator who grew up in nearby Spring
Lake, Herron was instrumental in bringing the
Dead Sea Scrolls to Grand Rapids after two other
U.S. venues canceled in the aftermath of Sept. 11.
She and public museum director Tim Chester worked
hard to convince representatives of the Israel Antiquities
Authority that the museum could mount a world-class
exhibit, and that enough people would attend.
An August soiree near Saugatuck, in the Lake
Michigan home of a prominent Jewish family,
helped cement the deal, she says.
"It's a stretch for this institution. Financially, it's a
huge, risky thing," says Larry Shay, presi-
dent of Grand Rapids' board of art and
"We're actually creating our own
exhibit. Our staff literally had to build
the display cases. And there's a whole
educational program that complements
it all. To see this team effort, everyone
pulling together, it's been remarkable."
Augmenting the exhibit, a series of
"learning lunches" and Tuesday night
adult-education sessions, Feb. 25
through May 27, will explore topics
ranging from "Sectarian Movements in
Second Temple Judaism" to
"Archeology and Hollywood." One
workshop asks: 'Are There More
Left: Jars with lids: Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls had been hidden in
Scrolls to Be Folind?"
jars like these, which were later found in the excavation of Qumran.
On April 1, Professor Emanuel Tov,
Right: Qumran inkwell: This inkwell, found in the ruins of Qumran, editor of Discoveries in the Judean Desert,
the Dead Sea Scrolls' official publication
may have been used in the writing of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
series, will discuss his work, completed
"And we think the reason there are some lime-
one year ago, in a lecture open to the public.
stone vessels is that in Jewish law, stone cannot
A professor of the Bible at Jerusalem's Hebrew
become impure but pottery can, and they were very
University, he'll be in Grand Rapids for an academic
concerned with purity.
conference with other leading Dead Sea Scroll experts.
"In fact, they bathed in a mikvah, a ritual bath,
Tov also plans to attend the exhibit's Feb. 16 opening. ❑
before every meal, which was really a lot," she says.
"Qumran was in a desert, on the edge of a sea of
Timed tickets for "The Dead Sea Scrolls"
salt water, so they had to devise a very ingenious sys-
exhibit may be ordered at (616) 456-3977 or
tem of aqueducts and cisterns to ensure that they
vvvvvv.grmuseum.org . Tickets are $14 for adults
had enough fresh water both to keep them alive and
and $10.50 for ages 17 and under. The rate is
also to bathe in twice a day. And the water had to be
$13 per person for organized adult groups of
deep enough to cover a man's head."
20, who arrange tickets in advance by calling
Pictures of the ruins of the settlement, where some
200 to 250 people may have lived at its height, add
context to the exhibit, she says.
glass chandelier. From March 1 through
April 30, the conservatory's eighth annual
butterfly exhibit will take wing. And don't
miss the Orchid Wall, dedicated to Anne
Frank and all the children who died in the
• The Grand Rapids Art Museum
mounts a special exhibit, Feb. 14-May 18,
in conjunction with the National Gallery
of Canada. "Paris 1890: The Art of
Modern Life" will examine the lives of
Parisians through the works of Toulouse-
Lautrec, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas and
• And from April 24-May 4, the Jewish
Theatre Grand Rapids is putting on the
play Rosenstrasse. Tickets are available at
the Spectrum Theatre box office, 160
Fountain NE, or call (616) 234-3946 to
purchase tickets by phone.
— Susan R. Pollack
West Side Stories
Jewish theater is alive and well
in Grand Rapids.
icking the right date to see "The Dead
Sea Scrolls" could lead to a wider experi-
ence of Jewish culture. During part of
the time the exhibit is on view, April 24-May 4,
Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids will be offering
the play Rosenstrasse by Terry Lawrence.
Like the exhibit, the drama also recalls the
past, but in this case, viewers are taken back to
Nazi rule in Germany Incorporating actual
events, the play tells the story of five Christian
women protesting the treatment of their Jewish
husbands about to be sent to death camps.
This play is particularly appropriate for
Grand Rapids because 80 percent of our audi-
ence is non-Jewish," says Cheryl Currier, new
managing director of the the-
ater. "Ironically one of our
members has family familiar
A scene from
with the history on which this
fictional story is based.
The theater, which was start-
ed in 1994 by three people
"The Diary of
with community theater expe-
rience, scheduled three plays
this season. The Diary of nne
Frank has been completed, and Social Security, a
romantic comedy, will be staged in June.
"Grand Rapids only has about 600 Jewish
families so we think its important to play a cul-
tural role in the Jewish community , and the larg-
er community," says Don Herman, who was the
first board president of the theater and contin-
ues his participation.
Bill Hoffinger, who is stepping down as man-
aging director, has been the only Jewish actor in
the company. He thinks of the troupe as the one
contact many Grand Rapids residents have with
the Jewish community.
"The arts offer a great way to communicate
how much people of different backgrounds are
the same," Currier says. "That's one important
message we want to get out to our neighbors." El
Rosenstrasse runs April 24-May 4 at the Spectrum
Theater, 160 Fountain Street. Performance times
are 8 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays and 3 p.m.
Sundays. $14 Thursdays and Sundays/$15
Saturdays/$10 seniors and students/$5 rush seats.