Haredi Museum Will To Close Due To Lack Of Funds, Rabbi-Owner Says
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Borough Park’s Torah Animal World museum, which claims to have a stuffed version of every animal mentioned in the Torah – except one – is closing due to financial problems, the New York Post reported.
“I tried to work through the terrible economy that we’re in, but it just came to a point that we now had to make a decision to sell it,” the museum’s founder and owner Rabbi Shaul Shimon Deutsch, reportedly said.
All of the animals Deutsch collected and displayed – valued, he says, at about $1.5 million – “died naturally, either in zoos or gaming reserves. We don’t kill any animals for our exhibits,” Deutsch said. “We accumulated a lot of debt doing this,” the 47-year-old rabbi added.
The museum is located in a private home that is now for sale. Its listing price is $995,000.
“If a sponsor came along and helped us, we would not sell.… [But] we’ll need a million dollars,” Deutsch reportedly said.
For the time being, the museum is still open to visitors, but only by reservation, which can be made by calling 1-877-752-6286. Cost per visit per person is $10.
“A kid who is learning in school can come here and, in an hour, get to see the animals of the Bible. Get to see the birds of the Bible. He can see the creepy animals of the Bible. This is the only place for them to go and see the animals in a biblical context,” Deutsch said.
Which biblical animal is the Torah Animal World missing? Is it the exotic ibex or some other strange creature?
The only animal Deutsch says Torah Animal World does not have is – a pig.
“Some people are disgusted by looking at pigs, [and I don’t want to give people a reason not to come. You know, a bakery sells not what the baker likes, but what the customers want to eat. And in a certain sense, you have to be sensitive to what people want to see or not want to see,” Deutsch told the Post.
The Living Torah Museum, which is also founded and owned by Deutsch, features archaeological and historical exhibits. Although located next door to Torah Animal World, is not directly impacted by Torah Animal World’s looming closure.
Deutsch – known for writing an uncompleted series of biographies of the late Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson almost two decades ago – also runs a small synagogue and large food shelf. He told the Post the animals in Torah Animal World will be moved to a branch of the Borough Park museum Deutsch runs during the summer in the Catskills at 57 Old Falls Road in Fallsburg. The museum also has a branch in Lakewood, New Jersey.