First National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting Opened at Jewish Museum

The first National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting, a comprehensive collection of Jewish related material broadcast on radio and television over the past 35 years, has opened at the Jewish Museum here.

The archive, which will be a department of the museum, was initiated in 1980 with a $550,000 three-year start-up grant from the Charles H. Revson Foundation. According to Eli Evans, president of the Foundation, the archive has collected, catalogued and preserved hundreds of acquisitions and enjoyed the full cooperation of the three major commercial networks– ABC, CBS and NBC and the Public Broadcasting System (PBS).

The material available ranges from the trial of Adolph Eichmann to a Jewish wedding episode on the CBS comedy series “Rhoda.” Other items among the hundreds of audiovisual materials, kinescopes, video-tapes and phono discs include a 1972 CBS News special about the terrorist attack on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics; interviews by ABC’s Barbara Walters with Menachem Begin and the late President Anwar Sadat of Egypt; Leonard Bernstein conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; interviews with David Ben Gurion, Abba Eban, Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan on NBC, ABC and CBS news panels; Manischewitz wine commercials; and old tapes of the “Rise of the Goldbergs,” the radio and later television serial starring the late Gertrude Berg.

The opening ceremonies last week at the Jewish Museum, which is affiliated with the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, marked the beginning of the archive materials’ availability to scholars and researchers. Next fall, the archive will commence a full series of public programming based on its collections.

SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE ARCHIVE

The archive provides its services to individuals and groups by prior appointment only. Individual viewing and listening areas are available by appointment, for researchers using the collection for a specific study.

The museum auditorium is used for classes or organizations who wish to schedule screenings of programs from the collection. The archive also has an information library which provides reference books, periodicals, microforms, archival catalogues and clipping files that complement use of the collection.

In addition, it provides an internship program for college students of Judaic studies, communications, library science and engineering.

According to Fay Schreibman, director of the National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting, “As the first subject-oriented broadcast archives, we feel this is a tremendcus challenge and responsibility. The subject matter is very complex, presents problems in identifying and locating broadcast material” because “there is no centralized source of Information regarding the material we are seeking.”

Much of the material has been provided by private donors, individual producers and television production companies. The museum invites inquiries from scholars and the general public. It is located at 1109 Fifth Avenue, New York 10028. Telephone: (212) 860-1888.

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