Last week, it was learned that Jay Ipson, the President and Executive Director of the Virginia Holocaust Museum, was leaving. It has been over a decade since Mr. Ipson started the museum and for years now, people have been accustomed to seeing Jay when they finished their tour. Aside from seeing Jay, visitors get to see highly detailed exhibits including the only existing replica of the Nuremberg Trials Courtroom. All of this came from humble beginnings however.
"I opened the museum in 1997," says Jay Ipson, "in the former school building in back of Temple Beth-El." Mr. Ipson was talked into starting the museum by friends and co-founders Mark Fetter and Al Rosenbaum. The museum slowly grew and in 2000, the State Legislature gifted the museum an old tobacco warehouse on East Cary St., where it has remained since.
As far as the recent events are concerned, "this is unprecendented," says Mr. Ipson. It was the decision of the museum's board to let him go. Members are elected to the board by nominations from different members. According to Mr. Ipson, most recently it was Marcus Weinstein, chairman of the board, who made many of the recommendations. Unless something changes, it looks like these may be Mr. Ipson's last days as director of the museum. Unfortunately, without input from all involved, there will be an immense amount of conjecture and hearsay, which can cause serious damage if no one speaks up. Mr. Ipson will be missed as he has been a part of many people's memories over the years.