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American Jewish History

“A Very Ticklish Problem”: The AJC Response to the Rosenberg Trial & Execution

Convicted of passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed 70 years ago on June 19, 1953, the first and only American civilians to face the death penalty for espionage. At the time, many believed the Rosenbergs to be innocent victims of antisemitism and Cold War hysteria, or at the very least that they had received an overly harsh…

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Sermons of Thanksgiving

It is widely believed that the Pilgrims modeled their Thanksgiving feast after the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. In its modern incarnation as a secular festival focusing on gratitude, an appropriately Jewish concept, Thanksgiving has been observed by American Jews from its earliest days. When George Washington declared a non-denominational National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789, American Jews eagerly joined the celebration. Gershom Mendes Seixas…

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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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Building on Jewish History – Cyrus Lazelle, Warner Eidlitz, and Adolph Ochs

The near freezing weather and packed crowds aren’t enough to deter the thousands who cram into Times Square every December 31st to watch the ball drop from the top of One Times Square. The New Years Eve event often has nearly a billion people watching, but there’s more to the building than the flashy billboards and crystal ball. Adolph Ochs was born to two…

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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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#1Lib1Ref

This week, CJH Archivists participated in #1Lib1Ref, a collaborative Wikipedia project encouraging all information professionals around the country to edit one page, add at least one new link or citation, or start a brand new page to further the reach of their archival holdings. Here’s a breakdown of the amazing CJH partner collections that are now immeasurably more accessible thanks to their efforts!: Georg…

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