New Interpretive Essays Added to Collecting These Times

Collecting These Times (CTT), funded by Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Jim Joseph Foundation, Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, and The Russell Berrie Foundation, documents the many ways that diverse communities of American Jews have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The core of CTT is a portal that connects users to the many archives, libraries, and other institutions around the country that collected digital and physical materials about the Jewish experience of and response to the pandemic. CTT also displays materials collected by RRCHNM and its many partners in this effort.

In early 2022, as we approached the two-year mark of the pandemic, CTT commissioned a series of interpretative essays that make use of collected materials to provide analysis about the intersection of the pandemic and American Judaism. We publicized a call for papers through our own channels and with the help of the American Jewish Historical Society, and today we announce their addition to Collecting These Times.

Many Americans associate Spring 2020 with hastiness and panic, as congregations, schools, and other institutions closed seemingly overnight. In reality, though, communities and individuals drew on the riches of their traditions in order to make decisions in accord with their understandings of justice and law. These essays reflect that, documenting the many and complex ways that different Jewish communities adapted during this time.

Explore the five interpretive essays added to Collecting These Times:

Maddie Bender, “Windows into Our Lives

Susan R. Breitzer, “‘An Extraordinary Time’: Conservative and Orthodox Halachic Approaches to Jewish Observance during the Covid-19 Pandemic.”

Sarah Imhoff, “The COVID-19 Pandemic and the ‘Social Model’ of Disability

Hanna Shaul Bar Nissim, “American Jewish Giving and Engagement in the First Year of COVID-19

Vanessa Ochs, “Whose Story is Told: Lived Religion and the Jewish Digital Artifacts of the Pandemic

The new addition of these essays to Collecting These Times also illustrates the ongoing significance and potential of digital collections. Each of the essays draws on materials collected, primarily during the first year of the pandemic. These include rabbinical responsa, personal photographs and reflections, and recordings of sermons, as well as publications of schools and other institutions. The work of RRCHNM and its partner institutions will ensure that these materials are preserved for the use of future generations of scholars.


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