#46 Irina Nevzlin - Altering traditional paradigms of Jewish life

The daughter of billionaire Leonid Nevzlin who saved the Jewish People's museum from collapse, now charged with its evolution.

Irina Nevzlin (photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
Irina Nevzlin
(photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
In a year when internal dialogue about the concept of the Jewish people has heated up, Moscow-born Israeli entrepreneur Irina Nevzlin has been at the heart of efforts to shift paradigms in Jewish life and the collective Jewish story.
This is a core aim of a renewal process at Beit Hatfutsot, The Museum of the Jewish People, where Nevzlin serves as the chairwoman of the board of directors. Nevzlin’s billionaire father Leonid saved the museum from collapse during the tenure of late prime minister Ariel Sharon, and his daughter has since been leading its transformation.
The museum’s renewal included the inauguration of a new wing in May 2016, housing the Alfred H. Moses and Family Synagogue Hall and the Tamar and Milton Maltz Children’s Gallery. In 2019, a 6,200 sq.m. permanent exhibit is due to open, that, as well as showcasing Jewish past, will also celebrate the successes and creativity of Jews around the world today and embrace the diverse ways that Jews can choose to live.
In a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post, Nevzlin remarked that the name of the museum has evolved into the Museum of the Jewish People, rather than the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, in a conscious effort to refer to the Jewish people as a whole and not in terms of two separate entities: Israel and the Diaspora.
“Our interconnectedness internationally means we are stronger, more innovative and resilient. The name change is about telling that story, which is one of strength and creativity. The word ‘Diaspora’ does not let us see the kind of strength we have as a people,” Nevzlin explained to the Post.
In addition to her duties at the museum, Nevzlin has served as the president of the NADAV Foundation, established by her father, since 2008. This foundation also seeks to promote unity among the Jewish people, supporting initiatives that advance an understanding of Jewish Peoplehood, build a substantive and pluralistic Jewish collective identity and create lasting connections among Jews throughout the world. It was among the first organizations to begin researching and discussing the ramifications of Jewish peoplehood.