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Biden Attends Museum Opening On Independence Mall

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia's newest museum - the National Museum of American Jewish History - celebrated its grand opening this weekend. Vice President Joe Biden was on hand Sunday for an official dedication. And the stars were out on Saturday night for a black-tie party along Independence Mall.

The lawn at Independence Mall was packed with people who came out for the dedication and to hear the message from Vice President Biden.

"Jewish Americans have made a lasting and indelible contribution to America's identity and to its role in the world as a political, economic and cultural leader."

Biden says the museum tells Jewish stories, but should make every American swell with pride.

Oren Liebermann reports

Those stories cover 350 years of Jewish life in America. The $150 million building is the only museum in the country dedicated to just that.

It features artifacts, movies and interactive exhibits that take visitors on a trip back in time. The museum aims to relate the experience of centuries of Jewish life in this country.

Fitting, says comedian Jerry Seinfeld that he was asked to perform, "I am here, I am Jewish. That is why I am here. I am American! I am national!"

Barbra Streisand was there, though not to sing -- those honors went to Bette Midler.

The museum opens to the public on November 26th at its new location at the corner of 5th and Market Streets.

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter says it tells an important story, "It would help for a greater cultural understanding, religious understanding, and a more peaceful co-existence if all of us knew a lot more about each other."

Reported By Ian Bush, KYW Newsradio, Suzanne Monaghan, KYW Newsradio, Jericka Duncan, CBS3

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