The project team has continued our work on the collection since the initial portion became available for patron use last May as announced in this  post.  In addition to processing more material, a key task has been to augment our central listing of the collection contents to support more robust sorting and searching and to produce key collection analytics. Some noteworthy information yielded from this work includes:

  • Our instinct that the collection contained content for “about 1000 entities” (people or organizations) proved to be an underestimate. The entity count of the processed portion of the collection is 1159, which will increase further as more material is processed. It should be mentioned again that the amount of material for each entity in the collection is based on what was acquired and varies considerably; there may be 100 items for some entities, while just a single item for others.
  • The largest category of materials in the collection is the Synagogue series, with some degree of content for 395 synagogues. The next largest series is K-12 Schools, numbering just under 200 institutions. The remaining roughly 50% of the entities in the collection comprise its other series.
  • Within the K-12 Schools series, we’ve discovered that detailed COVID protocols became less publicly available after schools began reopening, and that this information became shared through schools’ parents’ portals or restricted communication channels, which we did not have access to for the most part. As a result, the K-12 content in our collection skews heavily to the pandemic’s first year.
  • We also generated breakdowns by geographic locations. The data largely validated our expectations in this case, with greatest representation from the most heavily Jewish metropolitan areas across the United States and Canada. Still, there are entities from a broad array of mid-sized communities, and even very small ones (in large part due to the ubiquitous Chabad Houses).
  • The entity count for some locations, such as Lakewood, NJ, and Brooklyn’s Boro Park, are quite small in proportion to the size of these communities. This is understandable, however, since the pathways for acquiring material relied heavily on public websites, email listings and social media platforms which are not used as much by these communities. Thankfully, we became aware of this early in the collecting process and took steps to supplement the content for these and other charedi communities with alternative sources such as articles and announcements from their local newspapers.

In addition to this work, we have also released an updated Finding Aid that includes descriptions of five newly processed series. Updates will continue to be released as processing continues.

The collection is available for on-site patron use by appointment with the Archives, which may be scheduled by contacting

Submitted by Deena Schwimmer, Archivist



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