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center for jewish history

Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin

A short walk from some of the most well-known Berlin attractions is the Neue Synagoge (“New Synagogue”), a 19th century Moorish-style building on Oranienburger Straße. In 1859, the Neue Synagoge was built in order to serve the growing Berlin Jewish community, and became, at its completion in 1866, the largest synagogue in Germany at the time, seating 3,000 people. Now, the Neue Synagoge continues…

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Highlight from the Sidney Lapidus Collection of Judaica: Difesa Contro gli Attacchi Fatti alla Nazione Ebrea…

Over the past few years, AJHS Board Chairman and CJH Board Treasurer Sid Lapidus has donated a total of 125 rare books and pamphlets to the Center for Jewish History. This wealth of historical material, which is housed in the David Berg Rare Book Room, largely focuses on the 18th and 19th century intersection of Jewish life and Enlightenment ideals, documenting the gradual expansion…

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Center for Jewish History Awarded Multi-Million Dollar Grant from Arcadia Fund

The Center for Jewish History has been awarded a $2.5 million dollar endowment challenge grant from Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. This funding will ensure the sustainability of the digitization and preservation efforts of the Center, the foremost repository of Jewish history outside of Israel. “In the collections, the lives of community leaders, artists, soldiers, survivors, housekeepers and…

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The NYPL Librarian Who Spied on the Nazis

Florence Mendheim was a Jewish librarian for the New York Public Library, and in 1933 she went undercover to spy on Nazi-associated groups in the United States. Her collection, featuring a large amount of antisemitic propaganda, is held by the Leo Baeck Institute, and is an invaluable window into the spread of fascist propaganda in America leading up to World War II. Florence, the…

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The Records of HIAS (I-363) are officially live!

AJHS and CJH Archivists are happy to announce that the finding aid for the records of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) I-363 is online and ready to use! After three years of surveying, organizing, rehousing, and encoding, the American Jewish Historical Society and the Center for Jewish History are proud to present a processed collection of documents, photographs, and audio/visual materials representing nearly 100…

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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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