Shortage of Funds May Force Jewish Historical Society to Curtall Documentation

A shortage of funds threatens to curtail the documentation of records and papers from American Jewish organizations and their leaders currently being collected by the 79-year-old American Jewish Historical Society, located on the campus of Brandeis University. Rabbi Abram Vossen Goodman, the Society’s president, warned. “If this historical data, which we have gathered from Jewish groups since the early 1700′s, cannot be retained, then we might wipe out the tremendous impact of American Jewish participation and values on American society.” Rabbi Goodman, Rabbi emeritus of Temple Sinai, Lawrence, L.I., said that the nation’s economic crisis has severely affected the programs of the society. He reported that small gifts from institutions, industry and individual memberships had been cut off or reduced, adding, “in determining priorities, academies and archives are among the last to be considered.” The Reform rabbi said that the project cataloguing the activities of American Jews and their institutions has become a victim of organizational cuts and curtailment. He noted that this program requires $100,000 annually to maintain. Rabbi Goodman pointed out that the records of Jewish organizations and their leaders illustrate the manner in which Jews were involved in the history of the United States. He said such historical information can provide both for the present and future generations the scientific data needed to confront such questions as assimilation and anti-Semitism and to assist in the development of Jewish education, aid historians, scholars and students.

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