The Milstein Family Jewish Communal Archive Project
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research at the Center for Jewish History
“The coming of Jews to America in the 20th century is one of the ten most important events in Jewish history. Without the assistance of these UJA-directed social service agencies, it would have been extremely difficult for those Jews to settle in New York and start a new life in a new country….Jewish social service agencies have amassed a vast and extraordinarily rich archive of documents… and other materials that, taken together, document the entire history of the organized New York Jewish community.”
-Bruce Slovin, Chairman, YIVO Institute & Center for Jewish History
The 19th century waves of immigration to the U.S. tell one story. But, in the 20th century, 2.7 million Jews arrived in America – some seeking fresh opportunity in a new land; many others escaping poverty, anti-Semitism, Communism or Nazi persecution.
Who those immigrants were – how they were able to survive and acculturate to American life and the massive contributions they made to New York – is one of history’s most riveting human stories. But, this is a story whose details were in danger of being lost forever. Thanks to the Milstein Family Jewish Communal Archive Project, those stories will be preserved.
A three-year project, launched by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research at the Center for Jewish History in 2006, has consolidated a wealth of records archived by five New York Jewish social service agencies. In preserving them for the benefit of scholars, historians, and future generations, the project serves as a model for saving the archives of Jewish agencies nationwide.
Nov 2, 2009: Milstein Conference on New York and the American Jewish Experience
Three years of intensive work of the Milstein Family Jewish Communal Archive Project culminated in the Milstein Conference on New York and the American Jewish Experience that took place on Nov 2, 2009. The conference celebrated the history of Jewish life in the New York area, emphasizing the achievements of Jewish communal organizations, and highlighting the treasures of Jewish archives.