A provocative new permanent exhibit opened May 16, 2010 at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond. Plaques created by The Jewish-American Hall of Fame form “The Impact of Jewish Intellect on America and the World” exhibit, that asks the question "What If?--What contributions to mankind might have been made by the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust or their descendants? What if one of the murdered millions, their children or grandchildren had discovered a cure for cancer, HIV/AIDS or Alzheimer’s?"

The beginning of the exhibit features Emma Lazarus, along with her sonnet The New Colossus, including the immortal words "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Walking down a corridor, visitors will view plaques pertaining to The Jewish Presence in Early America, followed by In Defense of Liberty, Righteousness, Righteousness Shall You Pursue, members of the entertainment field, etc.

The Jewish Presence in Early America honors the Jews Who Helped Columbus (Don Isaac Abravanel, Luis Santangel and Abraham Zacuto), Asser Levy & the First Jewish Settlers in America (1654), and the Touro Synagogue (founded 1763). In Defense of Liberty features Navy Commodore Uriah P. Levy (1792-1862), Civil War Congressional Medal recipient Leopold Karpeles (1838-1909), major league baseball player and spy Moe Berg (1902-1972), World War II Flying Ace Robert "Rosie" Rosenthal (1917-2008), and three-time boxing champion and heroic Silver Star recipient Barney Ross (1909-1967).

Righteousness, Righteousness Shall You Pursue celebrates educator Rebecca Gratz (1781-1869), fighter for women’s rights Ernestine Rose (1810-1892), pediatrician Bela Schick (1877-1967), physicist & universal advocate of peace Albert Einstein, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (b. 1933), Labor Union pioneers Samuel Gompers (1850-1924) and Sidney Hillman (1887-1946), public servant Herbert Lehman (1878-1963), and the eloquent humanist Elie Wiesel (1928-2016). The stars of the entertainment world include: composers Irving Berlin (1888-1989) and George Gershwin (1898-1937), musical virtuosos Benny Goodman (1909-1986) and Isaac Stern (1920-2001), maestro Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), performers Milton Berle (1908-2002), Barbra Streisand (born 1942), and playwright Arthur Miller (1915-2005).

Jay Ipson, a Holocaust survivor who co-founded the Virginia Holocaust Museum, alongside Emma Lazarus plaque. Plaques of Touro Synagogue and Gershom Mendes
Plaques depicting Revolutionary War hero Haym Salomon, and Levi Strauss, originator of worldwide denim jeans business. Jewish-American Hall of Fame Director Mel Wacks points out Albert Einstein plaque to Dr. Simon Sibelman, who was then Assistant Executive Director of the Virginia Holocaust Museum. Plaque honoring Dr. Béla Schick is on the right.

For more information on the Virginia Holocaust Museum visit www.vaholocaust.org.

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