The Council of American Jewish Museums and George Mason University’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media Receive Grants for Major Archiving Project Led by Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah
January 27, 2021 — The Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM) and George Mason University’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) are launching two new collecting initiatives with support from a group of Jewish funders, the Chronicling Funder Collaborative, to document diverse Jewish experiences of the pandemic. The Rosenzweig Center received a grant to create a web portal that will serve as a digital content hub reflecting Jewish life during this time. The grant to CAJM enables it to partner with 18 member institutions to lead a broad-based oral history collecting initiative.
The Funder Collaborative is composed of Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, Jim Joseph Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, and The Russell Berrie Foundation.
The web portal, led by the Rosenzweig Center in collaboration with Hebrew Theological College (HTC), will coordinate, catalog, and share digital content from institutions chronicling life in American Jewish communities during the pandemic. This effort builds upon the American Jewish Life digital collection developed last year by RRCHNM in collaboration with six Jewish partner organizations.
“Collectors, researchers, and teachers are synergizing their efforts,” explained Zev Eleff, chief academic officer of HTC. “We all understand that this is a pivotal teaching and learning moment, freighted with so much meaning for all kinds of students.”
Beginning in March 2021, individuals will be able to find relevant collections through the portal and easily contribute materials to a range of collecting institutions in different parts of the U.S. Libraries, archives, researchers, educators, and others will be able to access all content at no cost and communicate and share content with each other.
“The Jewish community’s response to this historic moment warrants careful curating and documentation in one centralized location,” says Jessica Mack of George Mason University’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. “Contrary to what many think, digital content does not last forever unless we make efforts to preserve it. With the Collaborative’s generous support, we will gather materials showing how the community adapted at this time—and share it in one accessible, central platform. Future Jewish community researchers and leaders will be able to learn about the rapid transformation of Jewish life during this time.”