Center for Jewish History

Center for Jewish History

infobox Museum
name= The Center of Jewish History

established= 2000
location= 15 West 16th Street, Manhattan, New York, USA
website= [ The Center of Jewish History]
The Center for Jewish History is a partnership, or consortium, of five Jewish organizations based in Manhattan. It is a partnership of five organizations of Jewish history, scholarship, and art: the American Jewish Historical Society, the American Sephardi Federation, the Leo Baeck Institute, the Yeshiva University Museum, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. It is also an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.Cite web|url=|title=Smithsonian Affiliations|accessdate=2008-04-05|publisher=Smithsonian Institution]


The new center was 125,000 square feet and was created from four existing buildings and two new buildings. The Center's collections included more than 100 million documents, 500,000 books and thousands of art objects,Cite web|url=|title=A Museum Wing to Bear Witness to Jewish Life|accessdate=2008-04-05|year=2000-10-26|author=Ralph Blumenthal|work=The New York Times] most of which had been poorly housed in the member institutions and were at risk of damage or destruction.Cite web|url=|title=On 16th and 17th Streets, between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas; New Center for Jewish History|accessdate=2008-04-05|year=1998-02-15|work=The New York Times] The Center is heavily involved with the preservation of records that define moments in Jewish immigration to New York City.Cite web|url=|title=After a Fight to Survive, One to Succeed|accessdate=2008-04-05|year=2008-03-09|author=Nina Bernstein|work=The New York Times] A $670,000 grant awarded in 2007 helped with the cataloging of these materials.Cite web|url=|title=Leon Levy Foundation Awards $670,000 Grant to Center for Jewish History for Cataloging of Archival Materials|accessdate=2008-04-05|publisher=PR Newswire|year=2007-10-24]

The museum's collection includes the original handwritten copy of Emma Lazarus' 1883 "Give me your tired, your poor" poem that was later inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, Sandy Koufax's Brooklyn Dodgers jersey, a letter from Thomas Jefferson to New York's oldest Jewish congregation, the first Hebrew prayer books printed in America, and correspondence from Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Franz Kafka.


The Center officially opened in Manhattan's Union Square in 2000 after six years of construction and planning with a goal of creating synergy among the five member organizations, which each offered a different approach to Jewish history, scholarship and art. This was one of the first attempts at uniting differing views on Jewish cultureCite web|url=|title=Archives of Jewish History, Now Under One Roof|accessdate=2008-04-05|year=1997-04-28|author=Richard F. Shepard|work=The New York Times] and resulted in the largest repository documenting the Jewish experience outside of Israel leading some to refer to it as the Jewish Library of Congress.Cite web|url=|title=New History Center Touted as Jewish 'Library of Congress'|accessdate=2008-04-05|publisher=Jewish Telegraphic Agency|year=2000-10-24|author=Julie Wiener]

Despite a large collection, the Center has struggled with financial problems since it opened in 2000 and there has been some discussion of a partnership with NYU's Skirball Department for Hebrew and Judaic Studies to the benefit of both organizations.Cite web|url=|title=NYU Courts Center for Jewish History|accessdate=2008-04-05|year=2007-09-26|author=Jennifer Siegel|work=The Jewish Daily Forward]


External links

* [ Center for Jewish History]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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