May Your Days Be Merry and Bright

In 1941, ‘A Reader from the Bronx’ wrote into the Jewish Daily Forward asking their opinion on Christmas trees. She and her husband had stopped into their son’s house on 24 December after having dinner with friends nearby. They were greeted by their son and family decorating a Christmas tree and their grandchildren welcoming them with shouts of “Merry Christmas”. Her husband immediately ‘turned…

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Building on Jewish History – Jarmulowsky’s Bank

A couple of doors down from the Forward Building (and notably two stories taller) stands Jarmulowsky’s Bank. Sender Jarmulowsky immigrated to America from Russia, and by 1873 he had set up his bank on the Lower East Side. In addition to the Jarmulowsky Bank Building, he was also instrumental in the construction of the Eldridge Street Synagogue and subsequently served as its first president….

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Not Just a Bundle of Letters

Dear Mr. Editor, I have been in the country only two months, and I find myself in such terrible circumstances that I need your advice. So begin many of the letters submitted to the Bintel Brief. In 1897, Abraham Cahan founded the Jewish Daily Forward, a Yiddish newspaper based on the Lower East Side of New York City. Included in the newspaper was a…

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A Brief History of Jewish Philanthropy

The other day while procrastinating and scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across two friends raising money for charities for their birthdays and three fellow students promoting the non-profits they’re interning at. In the day and age of social media campaigns, hashtags, and endless GoFundMe’s, giving has become a lot more personal. Jewish giving in America finds its roots in the landsmannschaften and…

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Mind the Gap: Transition from Traditional to Contemporary

October 24 -25, the Center for Jewish History will host the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) annual conference. This year is titled, Now! And Then? Preserving Modern and Contemporary Collections in Libraries and Archives. From CCAHA, “this two-day conference will explore ways to anticipate, plan for, and address preservation concerns in modern and contemporary collections.” As part of the conference, two…

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Happy New Year from the Center for Jewish History!

Happy New Year from the Center for Jewish History. We’ve dug into our partners’ vast collections to find a wonderful selection of vintage Rosh Hashanah greeting cards to celebrate the Jewish New Year of 5773, which begins at sundown on Sunday, September 16, 2012. The colorful cards date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and offer nostalgic greetings in English, Hebrew and…

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The Nutmeggers: The Jewish Community of Connecticut, Part 2 – The Towns and Cities

Hartford Hartford is home to the first and largest Jewish community in the state of Connecticut. The earliest mention of a Jew in the state was David the Jew, of Hartford, who was fined 20 shillings for illegal trading in 1659. Afterwards, there were scattered references to the small Jewish community in Connecticut. For example, in 1670 Hartford was visited by Assur Levy, one…

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