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Contemporary Jewish Museum Brings Memories of Chinese Game

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This Sunday, the next exhibition opening at San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM), is set to bring the beauty and history of a certain game, which bores a rich history among the Jewish American community, especially among women.

Titled Project Mah Jongg, this exhibition features highlights of this game, which had it’s heyday between the 1920s through the 1960s, and imported to the US from China. These highlights include images and items from the mah jongg craze of the 1920s, such as vintage advertisements and a colorful array of game sets, which were distributed by leading game companies such as Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers. Also included is an instructional booklet, constructed by Dorothy S. Meyerson, a pioneer of mah jongg within the Jewish community, as well as images of early members of the game’s league.

For those not aware of the craze of mah jongg, it started around 1922 and became an instant hit mostly among women. It soon became popular with the Jewish community, in relations to similar experiences of immigration and discrimination. It became so popular, that a league for mah jongg was formed in 1937, as the game has cemented its place among American culture. The game is even enjoyed to this day. The Project Mah Jongg exhibition will feature an ambient soundscape for visitors (created by sound designer Timothy Nohe), featuring the clicking of tiles, gossip, and spoken memories. Visitors will also be encouraged in taking part of the game, as a game table will be at the core of the exhibition space.

The exhibition will be on view until October 28th. Log on to www.thecjm.org for more information.

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