History As It Happens


Last week, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency–the esteemed Jewish newswire–released a searchable web version of its complete archive, dating back to the early 1920s. The archive offers a remarkable (and remarkably thorough) look into U.S. and world Jewish history–in the form of up-to-the-minute newspaper dispatches.

Sometimes the articles are short, telegram-like bursts, such as the 1923 story that tells of Jewish teachers in Moscow adopting Sunday as their weekly rest day. Others are more in-depth–for instance, a report on a 1947 jailbreak in Palestine. And searching the archive for multiple articles can paint a complex and fascinating picture, such as the 4330 articles that mention Hitler–starting as early as February 1923.

Or you can just type in a random word or person’s name and see where it takes you. “Einstein” calls up an announcement for an upcoming lecture in Jerusalem (1923), his personal campaign to increase enrollment at Hebrew University (1941), and a laudatory speech made by Hitler’s personal physician (1944).

Another fun way to search the archive: check out what happened on the day you were born. Maybe it was the day that U.S. ambassador William Brown beat Israeli President Chaim Herzog in a three-legged yacht race.

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