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Creating the Promised Land: American Jewish Voices on Civil Rights and Discriminatory Legislation

By Poorvi Bellur Conducted over the course of Black History Month 2017, this research project is structured around primary sources from the archives and the personal collections of each of these individuals and their correspondences with other important leaders of the Civil Rights movement. This study focuses on the umbrella organization of the American Jewish Congress and profiles 3 major voices in the Jewish…

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When Herschel Became Harry: How to Find your Ancestors’ Original Names

By Moriah Amit, Senior Reference Services Librarian, Genealogy Coordinator Although the notion that our immigrant ancestors’ names were changed by clerks at Ellis Island has been debunked time and again by noted scholars in Jewish genealogy (see References below), this myth remains pervasive in the stories that American Jews tell about their family history. The truth, that most of our immigrant ancestors chose to…

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“The Radical Jewish Movement Wants You!”— Counter Culture Collections at the American Jewish Historical Society

By Nicole Greenhouse, Archivist The American Jewish Historical Society and the Center for Jewish History are proud to highlight the AJHS Counter Culture Collections, a set of over 170 linear feet of 25 smaller collections documenting Jewish involvement in left politics, the Jewish Renewal movement, the Peace movement, and Jewish student activism in the 20th century.  Materials in the Counter Culture Collection date as…

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“We must do our share in thecommunity of mankind”—the voice of Bayard Rustin in the American Soviet Jewry movement

By Andrey Filimonov Audio recording: Public Service Announcements urging support for Soviet Jewry by Rita Moreno, Bayard Rustin, Sam Levenson and Alan King, recently digitized at the Center for Jewish History. Link to digital audio file: http://digital.cjh.org/4552838 Originally found on an open-reel tape, in the Records of National Conference on Soviet Jewry, I-181A, Box 369, Tape number M15. Bayard Rustin. Original photograph found in…

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The Grand Street Boys’ Association, “headquarters of those who really love New York”

By Patricia Glowinski, Archivist at the Center for Jewish History Processed in the Shelby White & Leon Levy Archival Processing Laboratory at the Center for Jewish History (CJH) are the Grand Street Boy’s Association Records, just one of the many archival collections of the American Jewish Historical Society, one of the five partner institutions comprising CJH. The collection documents 20th century American Jewish history and…

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Reflections on Yom HaShoah

by Center for Jewish History President and CEO Joel J. Levy Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, is a time to remember, to commemorate, and to honor all those who died in the Holocaust, as well as the survivors who endured those very dark and terrible years. Sadly, Jewish history is replete with many earlier instances of anti-Semitism, but the near annihilation of European Jewry…

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Echoes and Reflections at the Center for Jewish History

by James Nadel, Communications Outreach Associate A month ago, the Center for Jewish History hosted “Echoes and Reflections,”  a traveling program for educational professionals that focuses on Holocaust pedagogy. Echoes and Reflections was originally co-designed by three of the world’s most significant Jewish institutions: the Anti-Defamation League, Yad-Vashem (the Holocaust museum of Israel) and the USC Shoah Foundation. Since 2005, the program has traveled all over…

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Breaking through our Female Ancestor’s Brick Walls: Genealogical Sources for Maiden Names by Moriah Amit

In honor of Women’s History Month, I would like to offer some guidance to those who are seeking to discover and share the stories of their elusive female ancestors. One of the most common “brick walls” that genealogy researchers face when tracing the family history of a female ancestor is that their family doesn’t know her maiden name. For centuries in much of the…

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