Center for Jewish History

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Listed in Cultural, Jewish

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The Center’s collections include more than 100 million documents, 500,000 books and thousands of art objects, most of which had been poorly housed in the member institutions and were at risk of damage or destruction. The Center is heavily involved with the preservation of records that define moments in Jewish immigration to New York City.

The partners’ collections include the original handwritten copy of Emma Lazarus’ 1883 “Give me your tired, your poor” poem that was later inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty; Sandy Koufax’s Brooklyn Dodgers jersey; a letter from Thomas Jefferson to New York’s oldest Jewish congregation; and the first Hebrew prayer books printed in America. The collections range from the early modern era in Europe and pre-colonial times in the Americas to present-day materials from across the globe. The Center provides access to a comprehensive collection of historic archival materials, including Franz Kafka, Theodor Herzl, Moses Mendelssohn, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein.

The Center for Jewish History is a partnership in New York City of five Jewish history, scholarship and art organizations: American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, New York, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

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