How did the popular Chinese tile game mah jongg become a favorite pastime — often, a social lifeline — for generations of Jewish women in America? Melissa Martens, senior curator of exhibitions at the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, recently sat down in the Forward studio with Sisterhood contributor Elissa Strauss to discusses the game’s history, its rituals, and its 21st-century following. Martens served as a curator for the museum’s newest exhibit, “Project Mah Jongg,” which opens May 4 and runs through January 2, 2011, at which time it will begin traveling to other arts spaces.
– Gabrielle Birkner
Melissa Martens on 'Project Mah Jongg' and the History of the Game