Brandeis acquires archives of Jewish group that supported Soviet Jews


BOSTON (JTA) — Brandeis University has acquired the archives of a Jewish women’s group that supported Jews in the former Soviet Union.

Project Kesher made the donation public on Wednesday at a conference at the university library in Waltham, Massachusetts. The event brought together activists involved in the group’s early years.

Founded in 1989, Project Kesher aimed to help Jews who did not emigrate, but chose to remain in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. Today, the New York City-based nonprofit supports grassroots organizations that foster Jewish identity and education by empowering women to be active in Jewish and civic life. Many of its programs address gender equality, health and domestic violence.

The archives consist of some 38 linear feet of material, including reports from the group’s early years, published articles, and the personal handwritten travel notebooks of its founder, Sallie E. Gratch. Of particular note is material from the International Conference of Jewish Women held in Kiev in 1994.

“The material documents the important work and vision of these organizations,” Sarah Shoemaker, Brandeis’ associate university librarian for archives and special collections, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The Project Kesher archive adds to Brandeis’s growing collection of Jewish feminist records, including material from Lilith Magazine and the personal archive of Israeli-American feminist leader Marcia Freedman.


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