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The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society: Its Organizational History and Internal Historiography

By Elizabeth Hyman, former Assistant Processing Archivist, HIAS Archives Project; current Photo & Reference Archivist, American Jewish Historical Society Over the course of three years, in a project funded by HIAS in partnership with the American Jewish Historical Society, archivists at AJHS will organize, describe and make available to the public more than a thousand boxes of historical administrative files (primarily 1955-1990s). These files…

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From the Archives:  A Message of Hope from Siberian Exile

By Andrey Filimonov, Archival Services Manager at the Center for Jewish History “Zions Captives”: documentary on Ida Nudel (watch online: http://digital.cjh.org/4585693) Original archival material found Houston Action for Soviet Jewry Records I-500; box 35; VHS tape 022; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY;  PID http://digital.cjh.org/798129 Screenshot from “Zions Captives, documentary on Ida Nudel” Original archival material found Houston Action for Soviet Jewry Records…

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‘To tear down the barbarous colour barrier’: a letter on anti-Semitism and racism

By Sarah Glover, Archivist and Digitization Projects Liaison Letter from Kurt H. Hohenemser to James F. Hornback, leader of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, February 2, 1952 “We immigrated 4 ½ years ago from Germany into this country for the main reason to leave behind us the sorry scene of racial persecution which, during the Nazi regime, caused the death of the greater part…

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Hawai’i Jewish Community

A Guide to Research Today (August 21, 2017) marks the anniversary of Hawai’i as the 50th state. We thought it would be a good opportunity to share some resources for researching the history of the Jewish community in Hawai’i.   Chaplain conducts High Holy Day services in Hawaii, 1953. National Jewish Welfare Board, Records. Call # I-337.B14.F007.0332, American Jewish Historical Society According to Jewish Virtual…

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President’s Welcome

By David Myers, President/CEO of the Center for Jewish History The final song of the smash Broadway hit Hamilton asks with great poignancy: “Who will tell your story?” The line is a telling reminder that those who lack power or fail to live long enough, such as Alexander Hamilton, often don’t get to leave behind their own version of the past. The task of…

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Folktale Friday

Do you want to read some Jewish Folktales? Well, you are in luck… we have plenty in the collections at the Center for Jewish History! There are over 400 books categorized under the “Jews—Folklore” category; and nearly 700 under the “Folklore” category. Some highlights you can read here at the Center for Jewish History –  (Note these are all in English. We have many…

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American Jewish Voices on Civil Rights and Discriminatory Legislation: William Maslow

By Poorvi Bellur Part 3: William Maslow Read Introduction; Part 1 on Shad Polier; Part 2 on Justine Wise Polier The American Jewish Congress underwent multiple changes in its focus over the course of the early 20th century, however it was under the leadership of individuals like Will Maslow that it transformed into an organ for social justice advocacy. Phil Baum, Sylvia Deutsch, and…

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American Jewish Voices on Civil Rights and Discriminatory Legislation: Justine Wise Polier

By Poorvi Bellur Part 2: Justine Wise Polier Read Introduction; Part 1 on Shad Polier The daughter of AJC founder and prominent rabbi Stephen S Wise, Justine Wise Polier rose to become one of the foremost fighters for social justice and equality in legislation. Justine Wise Polier (American Jewish Historical Society, Shad Polier Papers, Call #P-572) Breaking barriers of religion and gender, Polier became…

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American Jewish Voices on Civil Rights and Discriminatory Legislation: Shad Polier

By Poorvi Bellur Part 1: Shad Polier Read Introduction “The AJC began developing its program of using legislation and litigation to protect human rights in 1944 and 1945. At that time many respectable “liberal” organizations told us not to get involved in these projects. We ignored them and went ahead. We did so not because we’re a “liberal” organization but because we’re a Jewish…

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