Preserving the History of ICJW

ICJW is one of only a few international Jewish organizations whose historical archive is hosted by the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem and updated regularly.

Updating the ICJW Archive

Dee Hart & Dr. Yochai ben Ghedalia
Dee Hart & Dr. Yochai ben Ghedalia at the Archive

Dee Hart and Sarah Manning from ICJW visited the Central Archives to deposit documents from the Presidency of Robyn Lenn OAM which Dee had brought to Israel from Australia. These documents will be added to the existing archive, which can be accessed free of charge using this searchable online catalog.

The Director Dr. Yochai ben Ghedaliah took time out of his busy day – he was cataloguing 16th century Italian ketubot – to explain about the ICJW archive and its importance to the National Library.

He explained that the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People are happy to receive and manage the archives of Jewish communities around the world as well as the ephemera of Jewish organizations. It is extremely important for researchers that historical documents are carefully preserved and digitized. The goal of the National Library is to become a central repository not just for Israeli history but also for the history of the Jewish people throughout the world.

One of the documents that Dr. Yochai showed us was a 17th century ledger from the Jewish community of Hamburg that includes the handwriting and signature of Glückel of Hamlyn, a famous German Jewish widow who wrote a diary about her life and the family business that she managed.

Israel’s National Library

We were invited for a tour of the current National Library and to hear about their ambitious plans to relocate to a beautiful new building that is currently under construction near the Knesset. We met with a number of senior curators to discuss how ICJW can contribute to the Library’s international collection and also participate in joint ventures with all our affiliates.

We heard about (but did not have time to visit) their historic holy land maps collection, their Jewish music archive, and their project to create a central repository of digitized Hebrew manuscripts, which is a joint project with museums and libraries around the world who also have historic Hebrew manuscript collections.

Click here to see the video about the new National Library project.

If your affiliate or community is interested in opening an archive at the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem, please contact ICJW webmaster Sarah Manning who will connect you with the relevant people at the National Library.