_All Snapshots

Two 19th-century ketubot

Two 19th-century ketubot. The first is from 1857 and is for the marriage of Solomon Joseph and Rebecca Abraham, both of Charleston, S.C. The other is from 1873 and is for the marriage of David Nieto and Esther Belasco—residents of Kingston, Jamaica.

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Nathan Hilu: a soldier, an artist

Collage of artwork by Nathan Hilu including a profile photograph of the artist.

Born in 1925 on New York’s Lower East Side, Manhattan, Nathan Hilu (d. April 19, 2019) was a soldier, artist and storyteller who referred to himself as an “illustrator of life.” He served in the U.S. Army during WWII, the Korean War and the Cold War, first as a prison guard at Nuremberg, then throughout…

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The First LGBTQ+ Synagogue in the U.S.

Collage of BCC including an image of Rabbi Erwin Herman, Herman's biography, and an advertisement for a "Synagogue formed for homosexuals in L.A."

Beth Chayim Chadashim’s (BCC) first service was held on June 9, 1972 in Los Angeles, California. BCC is the first primarily LGBT synagogue in the United States. BCC, which at the time was known as the Metropolitan Community Temple, began with fifteen members and held services in the local community center. BCC grew and prospered…

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YEHUDI MENUHIN, the Violinist

Black and white photograph of Yehudi Menuhin, young, playing violin,

Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999) was a Jewish American violinist and conductor born in New York to Lithuanian immigrants. He spent most of his career performing in Europe and is considered one of the greatest violinists of the 20th Century. Menuhin began learning the violin at age four, and by the time he was seven was doing…

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Promotional material for Frank's Hot Sauce.

Enjoying a plate of end-of-Summer Buffalo Wings? Well you can thank Jewish American entrepreneur Jacob Frank for that. In 1896, Jacob Frank and his brothers Emil and Charles founded Frank Tea and Spice Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company produced spices, teas, olives, and even peanut butter. In 1918 Frank partnered with Adam Estilette to…

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Levi Strauss: Jewish Jeans

A denim Levi Strauss kippah, or Jewish head covering..

Let us take a moment to highlight the legacy of American Jewish entrepreneur, Levi Strauss. Strauss was born in Buttenheim, Bavaria on February 26, 1829. He emigrated to New York in 1846 and began to work with his brothers at their company “J. Strauss brother & CO.” Strauss and his family relocated to San Francisco…

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REBECCA GRATZ (1781-1869)

Black and white photograph of Rebecca Gratz.

Let’s discuss the sensational life and legacy of American Jewish educator and philanthropist Rebecca Gratz. Gratz was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where she lived with her eleven siblings and her parents Miriam and Michael. In 1801 she established the Female Association for the Relief of Women and Children in Reduced Circumstances which helped families affected…

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KAUFMANN KOHLER (1843- 1926)

Black and white photograph of Kaufmann Kohler.

In 1903, after a lengthy search for a suitable replacement for Isaac M. Wise, Kaufmann Kohler was invited to interview for the presidency of HUC. He was unanimously approved by the HUC board and accepted the position, which he retained until his retirement in 1921. His presidency included many significant accomplishments: the restructuring of the…

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Letter From Shimon Peres to HUC-JIR Concerning the Assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin

Letter from Shimon Peres to HUC-JIR concerning the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

In 1995, the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an Israeli ultra-nationalist. The assassination happened at the peak of an anti-violence rally in support of the Oslo peace process, an attempt to create a framework for finding a solution to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. Rabin, his successor, Shimon Peres, and Palestine Liberation Organization…

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