The 1939 New York World's Fair

The Community Interests Zone (Zone 2)

Jewish Palestine Pavilion

Architect: Arieh El-Hanani
Associate: Norvin R. Lindheim
Consultant - Designer: Lee Simonson

Art deco sculptor Maurice Ascalon (1913-2003), designed and fabricated the massive hammered copper relief sculpture that adorned the facade of that building. The sculpture, entitled "The Scholar, the Laborer, and the Toiler of the Soil" consists of three human forms, each representing a facet necessary for a successful modern society.

Jewish Palestine Pavilion
Photo and text courtesy of Eric Ascalon, Cherry Hill, NJ. From the private collection of Maurice Ascalon.

The pavilion introduced the world to the concept of a modern Jewish state (which a decade later would become the nation of Israel). After the fair closed, the sculpture was transported to Chicago (where it still is today), becoming part of the permanent collection of the Spertus Museum.

Various displays portrayed the work accomplished by Jewish settlers in the Holy Land; the reclamation of swamps, the irrigation of desert wastes, and the cultivation of farm lands. Other exhibits were devoted to historical subjects, the school systems in Palestine, and the revival of the ancient Hebrew tongue.

A series of dioramas depicted "The Holy Land of Yesterday and Tomorrow."