The Derfner Museum may have New York's best origin story. The Hebrew Home (originally, the Hebrew Home for the Aged) in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx has been caring for its elderly residents since 1917. In 1982, Ralph and Leuba Baum, local Riverdale residents, donated their large collection of Jewish ceremonial artifacts to the home. Several other residents and benefactors followed their example. 40 years later, the Hebrew Home hosts a large collection of art and Judaica that it makes available to both its residents and the public at large.
What You Will See
In 40 years the collection has grown to include more than just Judaica, though that remains at the foundation of the museum's purpose. The permanent collection features a wide range of menorahs, mezuzas, tallits, and other fine examples of ceremonial Jewish artifacts. Rotating exhibitions explore more of the collection, which now includes art by the likes of Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol.
Why You Should Go
While it may seem an unlikely destination for such an impressive collection, the Hebrew Home is a fascinating alternative model to the traditional gallery space. Regardless of your level of interest in classical Judaica, you will find something in either the galleries or the nearby sculpture gardens that suits your artistic tastes. And even if you don't, the museum's location on the Hudson River offers stunning views year-round.