This piece was first published as “Mazel tov! Museum tracks down rainbow ‘sign’ of the times’ in The Times of Israel.
People joke about playing “Jewish geography,” but Shira Goldstein, the exhibitions coordinator at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, relied very significantly on connections within the Jewish community to find an important object.
The object was a simple hand-lettered sign done in colored markers on a piece of plain white poster board, but Goldstein and her museum colleagues knew its historic value. They had spotted the sign, held outside the US Supreme Court on June 26, in a photo published by the New York Times. The sign read “Mazel Tov” in rainbow colors, and celebrated the court’s decision to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had legally recognized only heterosexual marriage.
“We immediately recognized that it was a wonderful, purely Jewish response to the court’s decision,” Goldstein told The Times of Israel. “It represents how the term [mazel tov] has reached American culture, that everyone can understand it and relate to it. It was synonymous with the joy and excitement in this country at that moment.”
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.