The Jews of Harlem

When thinking about the historically Jewish neighborhoods in New York, the Lower East Side or Williamsburg are likely the first to come to mind. What many do not know is that Harlem was at one point the home of the second largest Jewish population in the country. From the 1870s into the 1900s, there was a migration of Jews into Harlem from the Lower…

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Struggling Against Tyranny: The Gertrude Goldhaber Collection

“The vicious cycle which was originally created by the overt exclusion of women from mathematics and science must be broken… [I]t is of the utmost importance to give a girl at a very early age the conviction that girls are capable of becoming scientists.” Gertrude Scharff Goldhaber (1911-1998) was a German Jewish nuclear physicist who made several significant discoveries in physics, particularly in the…

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A Survivors’ Haggadah

“And the khaki-clad sons of Israel commanded by Lt. General Truscott gathered together as was the custom in Israel, to celebrate the Passover festival.” So begins the preamble to the so-called Survivors’ Haggadah (left), published for the first Passover after Liberation by the U.S. Army of Occupation in Bavaria, a copy of which was donated to the American Jewish Historical Society by CJH and…

An Unlikely Journalist: Emile Bocian in Chinatown, Part 3: ACTIVISM

This is a series of blog posts about the upcoming exhibition An Unlikely Photojournalist: Emile Bocian in Chinatown, a joint project of The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) and Center for Jewish History. For an overview of the exhibition and its origins, read this post first.  Among the 120,000 items in the Emile Bocian collection at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) can be found numerous photos…

An Unlikely Journalist: Emile Bocian in Chinatown, Part 2:
A NEIGHBORHOOD IN TRANSITION

This is a series of blog posts about the upcoming exhibition An Unlikely Photojournalist: Emile Bocian in Chinatown, a joint project of The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) and Center for Jewish History. For an overview of the exhibition and its origins, read this post first.  Emile Bocian (1912-1990), son of Eastern-European Jewish immigrants, photographed Chinatown from 1974 to 1986, a period of…

UPCOMING EXHIBITION | An Unlikely Photojournalist: Emile Bocian in Chinatown

Emile Bocian (1912-1990), son of Eastern-European Jewish immigrants, was perhaps the only non-Asian resident of Chinatown’s iconic Confucius Plaza apartment complex at the intersection of Bowery, Doyers Street, and Division Street in the 1970s and 80s. Through a series of chance encounters, he was employed as a photojournalist for a New York-based Chinese-language newspaper, The China Post. [Left: A section showcasing one Chinatown journalist per week featured…

Yiddish Wall Newspapers

“Wall newspapers”—large, hand-lettered or typed newsletters posted in a shared communal space—have their roots in Soviet propaganda. Among the rich historical resources available through the Center for Jewish History’s digital collections are wall newspapers that form a portion of YIVO’s Displaced Persons Camps and Centers Poster Collection, RG 294.6. Created in the aftermath of World War II, these fragile documents provide a vivid glimpse…

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Out of the Box: Four Unique Passover Items

At the Center for Jewish History, there are tens of thousands of boxes in our partners’ archival and museum collections. Our series, Out of the Box, showcases some of the remarkable treasures and stories tucked away inside. In collaboration with Yeshiva University Museum, we had intended this March to highlight just a few of the over 230 Passover items, which span over 200 years, that are carefully conserved in the Yeshiva University…

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Family Genealogy Projects While You #StayHome

Finding yourself at odds in our new reality? Looking for a meaningful project to occupy your time and your mind? Genealogical research can help establish routines, provide a sense of control, and lower stress, key steps in maintaining your mental and physical health.You can check out some helpful tips and resources for getting started with online genealogy that we shared on our Facebook page, and organize your…

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German-Jewish Americans at Home at the Turn of the Last Century: A Late 19th-Century Photo Album

“. . . the [Jewish) religion which was to be prized and saved is fast becoming a watery Unitarianism, and its adherents are allowing themselves, where permitted, to become completely assimilated. Reform Judaism which began as a compromise is ending as surrender.” —Marvin Lowenthal, “Zionism: A Menorah Prize Essay [part 1],” Menorah Journal vol. 1:2 (1915): 118-19 Marvin Marx Lowenthal (1890-1969), a leading Jewish…

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Coffee & Bagels as Organizing Tools: the Tzedek, Tzedek Collective and Wholly Bagel Coffeehouse

The late 1960s and early 1970s were, in part, characterized by the counterculture that swept through the United States during those years. Catapulted by the growth of social movement activism was an increased awareness of and desire to fix the problems plaguing American society, such as racism, sexism, poverty and the exploitation of labor. This period of American history was full of new and…

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