Can you imagine being presented to the astonished public of a museum? I find it hard to believe because for me a museum is a place where Rembrandts hang next to Dürers and Rothkos next to Johns. And now me? The idea confuses me and when I read what I’ve written up to this point, I realize you are probably confused too. So let me start from the beginning.
In the spring of 2014 one of the most unusual requests I have ever received in my working life -which is usually rather filled with unusual requests – came from Basel: the Director of the Jewish Museum of Switzerland, Dr. Gaby Knoch-Mund, told me about her plan for an exhibition on partnership and love in Judaism. That is my specialty and she asked me if, as the senior Shadchan in Europe, I would want to be part of it.
Simantov International as an artifact of Jewish history? Initially I thought it might be a joke. But then I realized that she was serious. Am I so old? The answer didn’t require too much thought and in my mind’s eye I saw a picture of me hanging amongst old oil paintings on a museum wall. But the Director of the museum reassured me that it would be a lively exhibition. The History of Love in Judaism is indeed not over, Baruch Hashem, and the shidduch, the Jewish dating service, is an important part of it. Who, if not the most experienced and most active Shadchan could better represent it?
Slowly I calmed down. The old oil paintings disappeared from my imagination and in their place moved the many faces – women and men looking for the right partner – whom I had met in more than a quarter century. Countless life stories came to my mind – and a lot of love stories.
However there must also be a text written for the exhibition catalog, said Gaby Knoch-Mund. Could I write one for her? Writing blogs is one thing, but an article for a museum guide… That part was taken over by the renowned Frankfurt journalist Armin H. Flesch, who knows my work and even wants to write a book about it in the coming years. And this is how Simantov International actually made it into a museum. The Jewish Museum of Switzerland. In a few days, on September 4, 2014, is the official opening of the exhibition and from the 7th “Wanted Found” will be open to the public. And for those who, like me, still cannot quite believe it, this link will take you to the homepage of the museum and directly to the exhibition flyer.
Simantov and Mazel Tov!